How to stop weeds from growing through gravel or pebbles

Gravel and pebbles are two of the most common choices of material used for creating garden paths and backyards mainly because they have a lot of benefits

They require minimal maintenance, are cheap to install, are easily reversible, and are aesthetically pleasing.

However, their rustic look can easily be destroyed if weeds start sprouting from underneath.

There are a lot of ways to get rid of weeds in pebbles and gravel. Some of the most effective ones are;

  • Spraying a weed killer
  • Using a gas weed burner
  • Hand pulling the weeds
  • Using plastic landscaping
  • Using fabric weed suppressants

Destroying weeds early on will prevent them from becoming invasive and recurring. However, you need to use the right method for the best results.

It’s important to note that the method you choose is dependent on the type of gravel or pebbles and the size of your land.

Tips on how to stop weeds from growing through gravel and pebbles

You can stop weeds from growing through gravel and pebble landscapes and paths through any of the methods we’ve provided here.

1. Weed suppressant fabric

Weed suppressant fabric or mats

Weed suppressants work great in preventing weeds from sprouting through pebbles and gravel.

They are manufactured with holes that are big enough to allow water to seep through to the soil but small enough to prevent weeds from seeding or growing.

The fabric weed suppressants should be placed underneath the gravel or pebbles and will need to be replaced after every few years because of wear and tear.

2. Hand pulling the weeds

If the affected area is a small piece of land, you can easily deal with the weed issue by hand pulling them out.

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It is going to be tedious but will work just as well. It is imperative to note that you should pull out the whole weed as leaving a small piece of root can lead to regrowth.

Depending on how long the weed has been growing, some may have already established deep roots forcing you to use hand gardening tools and good weeding gloves in order to fully pull them out successfully.

Consider using a trowel set as it is very comfortable to use and can easily get deep-rooted weeds out.

A corkscrew weedier can also do a decent job- it works wonders for people with back issues as it eliminates the need to bend down.

It is possible to still have weeds even with fabric weed suppressants because with time, the gravel or pebbles create small holes on the said material hence creating a leeway for weeds to sprout through.

If this is the case, you cannot hand pull the weed and expect great results. Rather, you should take out the fabric weed suppressant first, hand pull the weeds, then replace the fabric with a new one.

3. Spraying weed killer

There are a couple of store-bought weed killers that can kill and prevent the weeds from re-growing for a period of time.

The one you choose depends on the type of weed you want to eliminate, the future plans for the land, and the growth stage of the said weed.

If you do not plan on having plants growing nearby for at least a year, then you can go for a weed that sips into the soil to prevent regrowth.

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Though you should note that such non-selective weeds will kill every plant they come in contact with.

Otherwise, you can choose a selective weed killer that only kills weed but does not harm plants.

Keep in mind that most store-bought weed killers are very hazardous to the environment and also to pets, children, and yourself

Therefore, try and have safety gear when spraying the chemical and keep children and pets away until the weed dries.

4. Using a gas weed burner

A person using a propane torch when burning weeds

If you are dealing with a large piece of affected land, yet do not want to introduce chemicals, then using a gas weed burner is an equally good choice.

Most stores sell quality propane weed burners at the same price it will cost you for a bottle of herbicide, meaning it is quite affordable.

Once you get the propane burner, purchase a couple of propane gas cans, depending on how large the piece of land is. From there, wear some protective gear and scorch any weed in sight.

Try and make sure there are no flammable materials such as sawdust, dried leaves, etc.

NOTE: You should only flame weeds when the weather is calm enough to prevent the fire from ensuing.

5. Prepare the soil before putting the pebbles

You can always choose to remove the pebbles to deal with the weeds more profusely. If this is the case, consider prepping the soil before you return the pebbles.

You can do this by;

  • First, destroy the weeds using any of the above methods
  • Pour a 3-inch of dried mulch or sand onto the soil.
  • Purchase a plastic weed suppressant and place it on top of the mulch or soil.
  • Finish off with your pebbles. Make sure they form at least a 3-inch layer.
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6. Boiling water and salt

One of the most effective natural ways of dealing with weeds includes pouring hot water that is mixed with salt on them.

The hot water works to destroy the plant cuticles and other important parts, while the salt dehydrates the plant and the roots.

You should note that this method is not selective. Every plant that comes into contact with the hot water and salt solution will fizzle out.

Additionally, only consider this method if you are working on a small area that has weeds such as dandelions. Otherwise, your efforts will be futile.

Additional tips

The moment you notice small leaves peering out from your gravel or pebbles, consider the following methods;

  • Raking: Regular raking will keep shifting and destroying the weed hence eventually killing them.
  • Topping up the gravel: Try and add a new layer of gravel after every few years. Not only will the driveway/footpath look better but also, any weeds that had begun to sprout will dry off.
  • Using vinegar: Pouring undiluted vinegar on small weeds has a tendency of drying them out. This method is also environmentally friendly.

There are a lot of ways to prevent weeds from growing between gravel and pebbles. However, they all work best if you deal with the weed problem early before it becomes invasive.