You’d be surprised how many people are dealing with this same issue. Weeds are just so stubborn they will grow even through rock, driveway, sidewalks, pavers, gravel, and mulch. It’s quite impressive, actually.
The good news is, killing weeds in rocks is not much different from killing weeds in the garden and lawn.
Turns out, you don’t have to spend loads of money on the best weed killer for rocks either. You can simply use some of the staple pantry items that you already have at home. Let’s take a look.
5 Best Ways To Kill Weeds in Rocks
Use Liquid Weed Killer For Rock Beds
The most effective way to kill weeds in rocks is by using a weed killer.
Not just any kind!
Liquid herbicides are much better at spot treating weeds in between rocks and pavers than granular herbicides. Granular variety is better for treating wider, open areas infested by weeds.
Liquid weed killer will get into nooks and crannies where your garden hoe can't reach. You won’t need to lift a single stone to kill the roots underneath.
Here are other things you should consider before buying the best weed killer for rocks:
Concentrated Formula Or Ready To Use?
Concentrated herbicides are super potent and need to be diluted with water before use, according to the instructions printed on the packaging.
"Ready To Use" weed killers, on the other hand, come pre-mixed and don’t require any extra prepping steps. They are as convenient as it gets.
Killing weeds is already tedious enough, so the best weed killer for rocks might be one that is ready for immediate use.
Selective Vs. Non-Selective
Selective herbicides target only the specific weeds while spearing the other non-invasive plants. Buy a selective weed killer if you have decorative flowers, grass, and succulents planted in your rock bed.
Non-selective weed killers kill all plants. They are ideal for removing weeds from rock beds without decorative vegetation and for clearing driveways, sidewalks, and paver patios.
Contact Vs. Systemic
Contact weed killers kill only above-ground parts of the plants that come in contact with the active ingredients. This type of herbicide destroys the weed seeds that lay on the soil as well, to prevent them from sprouting.
Contact weed killers are great for weed control for common annual weeds like nettle, crabgrass, bindweed, mallow, and broadleaf weeds alike.
Systemic weed killers destroy the weeds from the roots. They are good for eradicating perennial weeds, like bindweed, ragweed, dandelion, and others.
Which type of herbicide you choose depends on the type of weed you have growing in your rock bed, annuals or perennials?
Organic Or Non-Organic?
A natural weed killer for rocks will let you solve your weed problem in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. An organic weed killer will give you a sense of security, knowing that your kids and pets are not exposed to harsh or potentially toxic chemicals when playing in the backyard.
Resort to non-organic herbicides only when no other alternative works for you. Always use non-organic products sparingly and according to the instructions printed on the packaging.
Kill Weeds With Boiling Water
A quick and natural way to kill weeds in rocks is by pouring boiling water directly on them. The scorching water will burn the leaves and kill the plants immediately.
Bring your tea kettle to a boil and take it out in the garden. Pour hot water directly out of the kettle onto the weeds. The nozzle of the kettle will give you precision while working, so you don’t splash yourself or nearby plants that you want to keep.
Try Out White Vinegar
Another natural weed killer for rocks is white vinegar. The acetic acid will burn the foliage and kill weeds in your rock bed within hours.
To kill the weeds, spray undiluted 5% household white vinegar directly on the weeds. Make sure they are completely saturated. White vinegar is non-selective, so be careful not to get any on the decorative plants.
To increase the effects, you can heat the vinegar prior to use and let the temperature do its work. You can also try using horticultural vinegar with 10% or 20% acetic acid for quicker results.
Use Rock Salt To Kill Weeds
Another natural way to kill weeds in rocks is to use good old rock salt or table salt. Does salt kill weeds you ask? The salt kills weeds by drawing the moisture out of them and dehydrating them. This applies to other plants as well! Be careful not to get any on the plants that you want to keep.
Rock salt is used as a weed killer in three different ways. Let’s take a look at each method:
Sprinkle Salt On The Soil
Sprinkle rock salt directly on the soil, underneath or near the weeds. Spray the treated area with plenty of water to give the salt the chance to penetrate the soil.
Some landscapers strongly stand by this application method while others stay away from it. Here is why.
Sprinkling rock salt directly on the soil doesn’t give you enough precision. Precision is critical when working on rock gardens adorned with decorative plants. The root systems of the plants may be reaching further than you think. You might be sprinkling salt right where the roots are.
Dilute Rock Salt In Water
Mix rock salt with hot water in a 1:3 ratio. Add a little bit of liquid dish soap to it. It will help break the surface tension of the water and increase the absorption as a result.
Pour the solution directly on the weeds using a funnel or a small watering can. Be careful not to splatter any on the surrounding areas. Water your nearby plants with plenty of water when done to get any accidental salt spillage below the root zone.
Dilute Rock Salt In Vinegar
Mix one cup of rock salt in a gallon of white vinegar. Let the salt dissolve completely before adding a teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the mixture.
Use this natural weed killer to spot-treat weeds. Make sure not to get any on your precious flowers. If you are looking for the best weed killer for flower beds – please check out our other blog post here.
Note: Don’t overuse rock salt as it can change the structure of the soil and make it uninhabitable to other plants for an extended time.
Lay Landscaping Fabric
The best long-term solution for your weed invasion is landscaping fabric. If you are planning on building a new rock bed in your backyard, or plan on renovating the old one, don’t hesitate to lay down landscaping fabric first.
The landscape fabric will block the sunlight and keep weeds from growing. You won’t have to bother plucking the weeds ever again.
The Best Weed Killer For Rocks Is At Your Fingertips
You don’t have to look far to find the best weed killer for rocks. You have all the ingredients to make a natural weed killer in your pantry. Try out different methods and see which one works for you the best.
You can also rely on an organic weed killer to bring your rock garden back to life in a safe and eco-friendly way. No more pulling out stubborn weeds by hand. You can retire your garden hoe for now and enjoy your rock garden in its full beauty.