Friday, May 8, 2009

How to Kill Weeds Between Paving Stones

If you have a freely draining patio set in sand like I do you may have noticed weeds growing up through the cracks. These are generally caused by seeds that have landed on the patio and germinated and can be easy to eliminate. The most obvious way to deal with them is to try to pull them up. But for a less labor intensive and eco-friendly way consider using boiling water. Pouring boiling water on the weeds will kill them fast. I did this the other day with a line of grass that was beginning to come through the cracks. I took a tea pot and filled it full of water then boiled it on the stove. Once it boiled I took it outside and poured it on the weeds. Here is how they looked a few minutes after the treatment.


And here it is a day or two later.



The dead weeds will completely fade away over time. (I did purposely avoid the little maple seedling to transplant later.)  Repeated treatments may be necessary for weeds with deep taproots but it will get them too if you are persistent. You can use this technique in the yard and the garden but remember that boiling water is non-selective! It will get your prized perennials along with the weeds!

The advantages of using boiling water to kill weeds:
  • Boiling water is cheap.
  • Boiling water doesn't add chemicals to the environment.
  • Boiling water is very easy to make, no fancy formulas.
  • Boiling water will take care of almost any weed in one to two treatments.

No chemicals and very little effort, sounds good to me!

19 comments :

  1. I've heard of this. Next time I want to kill between the cracks I will use this method. It is safer than chemicals.

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  2. I love doing this - great satisfaction of toasting all those nasty grasses and weeds - and find it all smells a little like fresh cooked vegetables.

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  3. I agree, this is a great technique, Dave, especially after long years of childhood slavery manually excavating all the tiny but fiercely embedded seedlings in my parents' extensive brick-and-sand patios. Ugh! Never again.

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  4. A spritz of vinegar will do the job also, and is eco-friendly.

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  5. What a fun and interesting technique! So simple too!

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  6. Sounds good to me too! I've done it and can agree that it works.

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  7. I've heard of this, but never tried it. Another great way to go pesticide free! I'm going to try this on the sidewalk.

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  8. I love step by step how to's. That's what the goal of my own blog is.

    I'd heard of this as well and tried it, but no luck. From your pics and description I can see why now.

    If I'd seen this little tutorial before I'd probably have used sand rather than cement for a little patio spot I did last year.

    Thanks! :) Faith

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  9. I love having pavers on my garden's house but I really hate the weeds growing on it cracks. It's certainly ruined the design of my garden and I really don't know how to eliminate those weeds. Thanks for providing the solution on my problem

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  10. Great eco-friendly tip on eliminating weeds in cracks! :)

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  11. But think of all the energy it took to boil that water. What about your carbon foot print. ;-)

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  12. I am glad you posted this. I forgot about this and I was trying to think of a good way to kill off some weeds in my empty flowerbed before planting that would be fast and not hurt the new plants....

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  13. This post was life changing for me :-D

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  14. I have a large pool area surrounded by pavers...filled with weeds, impossible to keep up with. I have been boiling huge pots of water for over a week....it does work, but I already see "green" peeking through the brown dead ones. I am going to do this until they all die, then maintain with: 1 gallon of white vinegar, 2 cups of salt, and a bit of dish washing liquid. Both methods are successful. I live in south fl and have a western exposure...full hot sun all afternoon. On the bright side, it's a great work-out!

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  15. Thanks for the advice! I've just sprayed some weeds growing through my pavers with white vinegar, salt and detergent. I'm going to try the boiling water method on another area of weeds. Fingers crossed!

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  16. our snow in Minnesota is just melting - no weeds yet - will this be a prevention tactic for them not to even start a growing season this year?

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately it won't prevent them form coming up but it is highly effective at removing them while they are there. To prevent them try working in polymeric sand between the pavers. It's porous and allows water through but should seal up the cracks against weeds.

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Dave

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