How do you get rid of crack weeds?

oceanna(7 WWA)May 23, 2011

How do you get/stay rid of weeds:

- On top of, and particularly on the sides of landscape brick retaining walls? (You know, the ones that come through the cracks and resist being pulled.)

- In your driveway?

- Ok it's not in cracks but how about on large gravel areas?

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I've poured boiling water on the weeds in my patio cracks and need to do it again. Until I have time I'm just keeping them from going to seed. Another way is to dig them out with a knife or screwdriver, whatever tool works.

In the driveway near the house we pull the weeds and occasionally let the horses in to keep them down but we have a very long gravel driveway - over 500'.

DH used to spray them but I'd rather have weeds than the diseases that poisons cause.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:02PM
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memo(Zone 4B Nebraska)

I spend the day pulling them by hand out of the sidewalk cracks. Then I sprinkle Preen in the cracks and it lasts most of the summer so I don't have to do it again.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:21PM
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oceanna(7 WWA)

I have used boiling water, but that doesn't work well when it's cold/rainy. You need dryer, warmer days. Plus it won't work on the weeds coming out of the bricks on the side of a wall because you can't pour sideways.

I've had great results pouring vinegar only where I'm sure I never want anything to grow. The results last a LONG time. My neighbor taught me that one. Great for driveways, sidewalks. Non-toxic and cheap, cheap, cheap.

I still don't know how to get the weeds growing sideways that my old hands lack the strength to dislodge. Those little beggars sure can hold on! Maybe I'll try vinegar spray, but it could do some damage where it drips, depending on what's below it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:32PM
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Jumbo (2 1/2 gallon) jugs of vinegar cost $4.39 at the warehouse store. I buy 4-6 jugs every year and pour it wherever I don't want anything to grow. I use it on a difficult slope where poison ivy thrives...until it gets close to the fence at the top where I pour the vinegar on it. I might have to use the vinegar twice a year in a couple areas but other than that, a one-shot treatment pretty much takes care of weeds/invasives. I use a plastic mixer bowl with a lip so it doesn't go anywhere I don't want it to go.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 8:30AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I have had terrible weeds. I can't buy the higher acid content of vinegar here but I wish I could. I've tried vinegar mixed with orange oil which was OK but it will also kill worms.
I read recently where you can salt your pea gravel and salt prevents seedlings from germinating. I've used corn gluten meal with some success. I did not use it at all this year, and I realize it had some fairly good success as compared to none. Organic Preen is corn gluten meal.
If you want the big guns you can use the "season long" total kill. I've used that in the cracks by the road between the curb (ours is deteriorating and weeds get in there). I use it on a very hot day, when it will dry before it rains. Works very well.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:30PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Has anyone ever tried that propane weed torch? Golly that looks FUN!!!! Bye, bye, bindweed!!! Lol

Usually I pull everything by hand, when I muster enough energy to go out and do it ;-)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:05PM
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Wow, just plain vinegar or salt, huh? I think my patio weeds are in for it now. For the vinegar, how worried should I be about it affecting the soil of things planted near the area where I want to deweed? I have an herb bed that goes right up to my stone patio... if I'm vinegaring all the crack weeds in it to death, am I fairly likely to poison my oregano and thyme while I'm at it?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:22PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I have a propane weed burner and it is at its best when the weeds are tiny. Once they get big, you can turn their tops to cinders and they will just send up new growth. I'm pretty sure I heard them going "Nyah nyah nyah nyah."


    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 1:51PM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I made the mistake of allowing some grass and other plants grow in my rock wall because it was pretty. Little did I know that one day I would be too busy and they would be too many for me to keep them in check. So now I have a messy situation. The problem is that if you pull them out, the roots are large enough that you bring out quite a bit of dirt, so there goes the stability of the wall. Also, the grass has gotten into the top of the flower bed, which is especially bad in the middle of my peony, where there's nothing I can do about it. Definitely, they're going "nyah, nyah,..."

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:11PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I have personally not had a lot of luck with vinegar, but it is said if you can get 10% acidity vinegar from a nursery or hardware store (it can not be sold here) that it works very well. If you are concerned about other plants, take the time to use a small paint brush. I use a Chip Brush, a .79 cent paint brush for weeds in the way back - I spray some but others I simply paint out with the brush. It works wonderfully well and gives you total control. You can try it with weed killer or vinegar. I tend to use brush killer for things, and am very careful not to get any drips on the brush (I wrap the top of the brush in a paper towel and go very carefully with only a tiny bit of the stuff).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:35PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-ThinMan, thanks for the info on that torch. Looks like weeding by hand is still the best method then!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 4:06PM
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oceanna(7 WWA)

Ok if nobody has a better plan, I think I'll load that vinegar in a spray bottle for those weeds that come out of the "wall" of landscaping bricks. If they die, then maybe I can cut them off close with a knife.

I just use regular grocery store vinegar, nothing fancy. But it helps if you do it on dry plants when the weather will be dry (no rain) for maybe 3 days. Rain/watering and damp ground that wicks does dilute it. I got really mad at my horsetail weeds and injected a few of them in their fat stems with vinegar -- with a syringe and needle. Killed em.

Sarahrock, I did pour some vinegar on a couple of sprinkler heads (because I kept losing where they were) and it made maybe a 4" circle of dead grass with the sprinkler head in the center. Other than that, I've just used it in the driveway. The paintbrush is a good idea, or just use the vinegar farther away from the plants and pull the ones too close to your plants. You can also test it out elsewhere, where it doesn't matter as much. Pour it on one weed and see if it gets another weed nearby.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 5:25AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

Oceanna...seriously, on horsetails? And it works? Just to make sure we're on the same page, you're talking about E. arvense? Wow, you hate that stuff as much as me. I can just picture myself going around, injecting all my thousands of horsetails! Did it just kill the vegetive part, or did horsetails quit growing completely in that area? I just read that horsetails like acid soil, so I'm thinking of liming the heck out of an area or two just for a test. But that means looking up the plants I want to keep in the area to make sure they can take a higher pH...can't be the strawberry bed...maybe the asparagus bed.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Oceanna, I have a great vision now of you going around like a mad scientist with your syringe, cackling madly as you slay those weeds! Haha. Thanks for that! :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 1:45PM
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oceanna(7 WWA)

Mytime, yes that's what we're talking about. Now, don't think me daft (well, I could be) but I really think a lot of them are connected somewhere underground. I *think* I shot some and others died. Seriously, that tree basin hasn't had any since (it's mulched about 6' square). Try it. What do you have to lose?

The hard part was talking the pharmacist out of a syringe with needle. I think they thought I was going to shoot up heroin or something. lol.

Sarahrock, mad is right, because I hate horsetails. Scientist and cackling? Nah. Well, maybe I cackled when they died. hehe

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 7:55PM
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