Weeds! Or as one man I came across called them, STUPID WEEDS! They can seem like an insurmountable problem for homeowners struggling to protect their nice paved driveways. But is there any way to be rid of them forever? It might be possible, but not without a lot of work.
1) Weed Proof Mesh
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re already having a problem with weeds growing up through the cracks in your concrete.
The fact is that the best way to prevent weeds is to have laid down some block for the weeds underneath the gravel that you laid to serve as a base for the concrete.
This method is mostly foolproof and will last for a long time as well. It essentially separates the surface of the concrete from the nutrients of the soil, making it impossible for any plants to begin growing.
However, these prevention devices will usually deteriorate after several years. When this happens, you can start to get a few weeds.
So you’re tired of weeds and you forgot to do this when you first poured the slab. You probably don’t want to replace the entire thing, as that would be expensive and difficult. What else is there to do?
2) Salt The Earth
The Romans knew what they were doing when they salted the earth in Carthage. The trick here is to get the salt all the way through to the bottom of the cracks so that it actually reaches the soil that you want to destroy.
You’ll want to take rock salt (not table salt) and spread it across all of the cracks in the concrete. This will kill any living weeds and prevent new ones from taking their place. However, you’ll have to do it again in a few years when the soil has had time to heal.
One warning about salts: Concrete is vulnerable to spalling when exposed to salt for extended periods of time.
However, this is usually caused by de-icing salts, which tend to be applied relatively often. The nature of this project doesn’t call for the slab to be salted more than once or twice.
3) Chemical Pesticides
Chemical pesticides like glyphosate are also both deadly and disabling for plants. Many of them claim to be non-toxic. Whatever you use, be careful not to ingest it or feed it to your kids.
Chemical pesticides can also be very expensive. This can make them inaccessible to a lot of homeowners.
4) Homemade Solution
Instead, you can make a homemade pesticide solution using ingredients that you probably have in the kitchen! (Terrifying I know.)
You’ll mix together two cups of table salt and one gallon of white vinegar, shaking/mixing it until the salt is completely dissolved. This is the primary agent that will be killing the weeds. You’ll then add in a teaspoon of dish soap to help the stuff stick to the things you want it to kill.
This is nice because this solution is relatively cheap compared to other pesticides. It also has the advantage over salt and rubber mulch because it can penetrate deeper into the cracks in the concrete on account of being a liquid.
Much like the other pesticides on this list, bleach will both kill the living plants and make it impossible for new ones to grow up in their places. Also, like the other pesticides, you should avoid contact with your skin and avoid breathing or ingesting any harmful chemicals.
6) Rubber Mulch
Rubber mulch will destroy any possibility of those cracks ever-bearing plant life again. The stuff is absolutely toxic.
It’s made from shredded up old tires and other processed rubber sources. When made into a mulch, placed over soil, they make conditions completely unlivable for most plants.
How will you get it into the cracks in your driveway? Devotion, that’s how. If your cracks are wide enough to fit the mulch, you don’t need to do much more than inserting it in at the top. It doesn’t really need to make contact with the soil to work.
7) Get a Goat
This won’t stop weeds from going per se, but it will prevent them from being a problem. If a goat is waiting on the driveway to eat any plants that decide to pop up, well, even if they are growing you won’t need to think about it.
If something about goats rubs you the wrong way, there are a lot of other creatures that will happily eat the weeds that are growing up in your driveway.
Sheep and cows might be among the most accessible alternatives, although you should be careful not to bite off more than you can chew when picking your new pet.
Is this a good idea? No. Radium is super radioactive and if you decide that you want to keep some in your driveway it will probably end up killing more than just the weeds if you know what I mean. That being said, it is a very permanent solution. You’re unlikely to see another weed in that driveway until the end of your life.
Aside from availability and price though, radium comes with the additional downside of actually being a potential health risk for your whole family, all of your neighbors, and even your goat. This is something of a nuclear option, but in the US vs. USSR mutually assured destruction kind of way.
9) Just Fill In The Crack
This is the best option at your disposal. Despite appearances, it’s actually quite difficult for weeds to push up through the concrete. By filling in the cracks that have already developed, it becomes significantly less likely that any weeds will be able to break through to the surface.
It will also just make your surface look nicer. It may be more effort than some of the other options at your disposal, it generally has the best success rate for preventing new weeds and helps the slab be more aesthetically unified.
If you’re considering using radium, you should really try this first before letting your inner mad scientist out. It will probably work, and your driveway will look much better for it.