Weeds in pea gravel yard!

dolphinheronMay 22, 2007

Greetings - this is my first post and I need help, please!

We just moved into a home that has a pea gravel yard. I've never dealt with that before. There are little weeds spouting up all over the place. A couple of weeks ago I pulled ALL those pesky weeds by hand because I really want to avoid herbicides (we live on a canal and I don't want to contribute to run-off) but now those weeds are back, and even worse than before.

What can I do? Must I use herbicide and if so, which is the "greenest" choice?

Thanks for all your expertise!

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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Do you have some type of weed barrier underneath the pea gravel? If not, you'll need to rake up the pea gravel and lay one down. That said, I have some weeds (thistle) that have the nerve to poke thru my weed barrier.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 10:53AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

The weed barrier will work for only a few years. Eventually, leaves, dirt, etc. accumulates above the weed barrier and weeds then grow in that medium.

I use a weed torch. It's a long curved handle propone torch. A small propane canister screws into one end. You light it and burn the weeds. It's also fun.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 11:12AM
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There is no weed barrier under the gravel. And this yard is so big, plus we're renters, so of course I don't want to invest in a barrier. For my own yard in the future, absolutely I will do so.

Steve, I'm intrigued by this torch thing! Where can I find one, and how much do they cost? That sounds like a blast (literally!) and I'm sure I could entice my husband to help with groundskeeping if we had that little "toy" in the shed!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 11:57AM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

I bought mine from Gardener's Supply Company at www.gardeners.com. About $45.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 2:22PM
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msmarion(9aPort St Lucie)

This tool works wonders!
Come join us on the Florida Forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 6:44PM
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barbcoleus(z10 Cape Coral,Fl)

Can you use this torch in mulch or just pea gravel.It sounds great.
We're having a lot of trouble here with fires in our area so I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water. I heard somewhere that vinegar works and also boiling water.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 6:52PM
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Yes, I've heard about vinegar or boiling water, too. But I read that the vinegar needs to be the strong kind for canning (higher acidity) not the kind you put on your salad! I'm going to try everything before I resort to herbicide so I'm just trying to put together an arsenal of ideas. Any other suggestions are welcome...

Thanks to everyone for the replies!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 7:36PM
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lac1361(z9a Lake Charles, LA)

The weed torch works in gravel beds, driveways, sidewalks, etc. It sets the mulch on fire unless you wet the flower bed before using the torch.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 8:22AM
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Success! I found a product called "Perfectly Natural Weed and Grass Killer" at Home Depot yesterday. At 11 a.m. today I sprayed weeds in the back part of our yard and within an hour, most of them had started to shrivel. Three hours later most of them are dead. The others are still hanging on but are looking a pretty sickly. I think this stuff is going to solve the problem!

The only ingredients in this spray are vinegar, clove oil, and lecithin (apparently lecithin is an emulsifier) so I wonder why I couldn't mix some up myself... if I can find lecithin!

I will add that the clove scent is VERY strong - if you don't want your yard to smell like a spice cabinet, you probably shouldn't use this. But I kinda like it.

Just wanted to share this with all of you who tried to help me tackle these weeds without harming the environment. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 2:12PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Have often wondered why people put down gravel. Most plants will grow even better in it lol Increases the drainge. If the purpose is to control weed it sure doesn't do that lol I curse the pervious homeowners who put down a marble chip bed and the weeds loved it. Had to get down on hands and kness and remove every rock.What a chore!!! gary

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 6:18AM
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kelpie473(9b sw Fla)

Lecithin is sold at health food stores in a granular form and a liquid form - the liquid is actually a very thick syrup. While you're there you can buy clove oil too.

Let us know if you concoct a good formula.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 10:21AM
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stickgarden(z10 CA/ Sunset 21)

does anyone know where I should look for the strong form of vinegar? (I live in L.A. but I can also order online)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 3:32AM
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