How to Permanently Get Rid of Weeds in Driveways
Author: Chris Miller | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Are the weeds popping up in your driveway and sidewalk after the season's first rains? You'd better take care of them before they have a chance to seed and spread. Weeds grow fast, and before you know it, you'll have a driveway full of them. That's why we've put together this guide on how to permanently get rid of weeds in driveways and sidewalks to help you with the task.
Follow our methods, and you'll have a weed-free property in no time.
How to Permanently Get Rid of Weeds in Your Driveway
Here are 6 methods for killing weeds in driveway cracks once and for all (either for this season or for years even), starting with the most obvious and labor intensive and then moving on to better and bigger tactics.
1) Dig The Weeds Out Manually
The first option is to manually dig out the weeds by hand or using a crevice weeding tool like pictured above. This is your only choice if you don't have access to any of the upcoming methods. It's labor-intensive and might take some time, depending on the extent of the infestation in your driveway and sidewalk. There's all kinds of gardening types of digging tools to help you though.
The problem with doing the task by hand is that it's challenging to remove the roots when you dig them up or pull them out by hand. If the roots snap off from the greens, they'll just grow another top in a few weeks, and you'll have to repeat the chore again.
2) Use a Flame Weeding Device
An interesting choice for removing weeds from driveways and sidewalks is a flame-weeding device. These machines are like mini-flamethrowers, ejecting a red-hot flame from the top of the device that torches the weeds in seconds.
Like hand-weeding, using the flame device kills the greens but doesn't always kill the roots. You get lasting results from this practice, but there's a chance that the weeds will eventually pop back up. Since it's not time-consuming (and pretty fun, we'll admit), blasting them with your flame device every other month isn't such a big deal.
With most perennial weed species, if you flame away the top enough, eventually, the roots don't get the sustenance they need to survive, and they finally stop growing back. However, you'll have to keep an eye on them and torch them whenever they start sprouting.
3) Use a High-Quality Weed Killer Spray
The best permanent solution to eradicating weeds from your driveway and sidewalk is to use a high-quality, professional weed-killer product, also known as an "herbicide." Most top-rated formulations have a long-lasting effect, preventing weeds from growing in the sprayed area for up to a year.
All you need is a single treatment to kill the weeds and prevent them from growing back – what a blessing. Mixing and spraying the product with the right directions and equipment is easy. Stick to diluting the weed killer using the manufacturer's recommendations on the label.
Add the diluted formula to a sprayer and point the wand at the weeds. Depress the trigger to release the spray and soak the weeds. Saturate the ground well enough to let the weed killer penetrate the soil, but don't overdo it, or you're wasting product. Use it on weeds with purple flowers or some obvious color so you can get an idea how quickly it's working.
Weed-killer is the ideal solution for use on gravel driveways with a soil bed underneath. They're also suitable for use on paved driveways and sidewalks, providing lasting results. Don't use the spray on your vegetable garden or on the lawn, as it kills the plants and grass or contaminates your veggies.
In my opinion, when it comes to how to permanently get rid of weeds in driveways, this is the best choice. Also, don't use any slow-acting weed and feed type products. Weed and feed takes too long to act for these scenarios and you don't need to fertilize your driveway cracks either.
4) Rock Salt the Driveway & Sidewalk
Weed killer products can be expensive, as is the cost of buying a weed flaming device. However, rock salt is dirt cheap and readily available from most hardware stores and nurseries. It's a cheap and effective fix to the problem.
Spread the rock salt on the driveway or sidewalk on its own or dilute it using a cup of hot water and a cup of salt and pour it over the weeds. Don't put it in a weed sprayer; the hot water might damage the pipes and the internal spraying mechanism.
Ensure you don't get the diluted rock salt solution or neat rock salt onto the grass, as it kills the lawn, leaving you with dead spots. Once you salt an area, nothing will grow there for years, which is why farmers would salt their lands as they fled an area, making the soil infertile and unsuitable for growing crops.
5) Reseal the Driveway or Sidewalk
Weeds will grow in the smallest cracks in a driveway or sidewalk. They're opportunistic plants, and they don't need much in the way of nutrition in the soil. Rain is all they need to survive, making them a very hardy plant to get rid of once they start growing and seeding.
Sealing the driveway and sidewalk cracks stops the weed seeds from finding a home to grow from. Seal the cracks in concrete driveways using asphalt crack filler, and then if you desire you can coat the entire driveway, too. We recommend doing this task on weekends when you don't have to drive out.
If you have an asphalt driveway, seal the cracks with fresh asphalt, and you'll remove the weed's habitat, giving them nowhere to establish roots.
6) Fit a Resin Bound Driveway
If you're planning on refurbishing your driveway, we recommend going with the resin-bound types of driveways. This construction involves pouring a layer of gravel, topping it with asphalt, and sealing it with a resin layer.
The resin layer forms a solid surface from the front to the back of the driveway, with no cracks or breaks in the surface where weeds can grow. Light can't permeate the surface, so if there are any weeds below the driveway, they don't get the sunlight and water they need to sprout and grow.
Can You Use Vinegar or Bleach to Kill Weeds in the Driveway?
Some homeowners sites will tell you white spirit vinegar acts as an effective, natural herbicide – but that's not the case. Vinegar effectively kills the green leaves but won't kill the roots, and they'll eventually return, even with herbicidal vinegar (not household vinegar).
It's a better idea to use rock salt if you're looking for a more affordable alternative than the others mentioned so far. Never dispose of bleach by pouring it into your soil, even to kill weeds.
Will the Weeds in the Driveway Grow Back?
It depends on the method you use to eliminate the weeds in the driveway and sidewalk. If you're using a solution that doesn't kill the roots, you can expect the weeds to reappear in a few weeks after the roots revoice and start producing new shoots.
Try and kill off the greens as fast as possible before they re-establish. After a few sessions, the roots will die and won't likely return. Weeds are hardy plants, and they don't need much in the way of soil and water to thrive. That's why they're such a pesky plant to eradicate when they take hold in the garden or driveway.
What's the Best Solution to Kill Weeds in the Driveway?
The best answer to how to permanently get rid of weeds in driveways is a professional-grade weed killer spray. These formulations specifically target all varieties of broadleaf weed species. Most weed-killer formulations for use in home applications contain ingredients that break down into inert compounds in the environment and don't contaminate soil or water runoff.
However, if you're looking for the best natural alternative, you can't beat rock salt diluted in hot water. The only issue with rock salt is that it kills any organic material it comes in contact with. So, if there's a rainstorm after you finish salting, the runoff into your garden could kill your grass. As mentioned, the salted ground won't grow anything for many years.
FAQ’s Regarding Driveway Weeds
Getting rid of driveway weeds is a pain because they keep coming back. We want to keep them at bay for quite a while, whether that be until next year or for years on end. Naturally we start pondering the details, so lets cover these common questions now.
What Is the Best DIY Mixture to Kill Weeds in the Driveway?
You can use rock salt diluted in hot water for the best results killing weeds naturally in your driveway and sidewalk. Salt contains acetic acid, which dries out the weeds, preventing them from growing back. It's a permanent solution, and you'll only have to do it once for it to work.
What Technique Kills Weeds at the Roots?
Using weed killer spray and diluted rock salt kills weed roots permanently. Boiling water also works, but there's a chance the roots will survive. Flaming and pulling the weeds doesn't kill the roots, but if you do it often enough, eventually, the roots die.
Can I Use Any Type of Salt for Killing Weeds in Driveway Cracks?
You can use any salt to kill weeds as a DIY fix to the problem. However, we recommend going with rock salt because it's cheap. The acetic acid in the salt dries out the weeds, preventing them from returning. Don't use Epsom salts; they won't produce the same effect.
Key Takeaways for Killing Driveway Weeds
Let’s summarize the main points from above for a quick recap:
- Weeds are hardy plants; once they root in your driveway or sidewalk, they're challenging to remove.
- Using techniques like pulling, flaming, and pouring boiling water and vinegar doesn't create permanent results right away. You'll have to do it two or three times to starve the roots and kill them for good.
- Weed killer products and diluted rock salt are the best once-off permanent solutions for killing weeds in the driveway and sidewalk.
- Sealing the driveway with a resin layer or filling in the gaps in an asphalt or concrete driveway also offers a permanent solution to the problem.
If I can inject my personal opinion, I recommend picking up a cheap bottle of weed killer spray and simply spraying the weeds until they die, and then spray the cracks every couple of weeks once they're gone (only during the seasons the weeds grow). That's the most efficient method in terms of time and money, I think.
That’s How to Permanently Get Rid of Weeds in Driveways
We've shared some simple methods (like the ones we don't want to hear such as pulling the weeds manually) up to fun ones such as scorching them, using weed spray, and even resealing your driveway. These are the methods available to you.
A regular spraying schedule is probably the cheapest and most convenient. That's how to permanently get rid of weeds in driveways by making the soil in the cracks untenable for them. That's how I do it at my home. Best of luck!