Wild Ones   Wild Ones Archive 2002, Sep 04:  
  Ques #8: Weeding Walkways  

Wild Ones 2002 Archive

    QUESTION #8: Removing unwanted plant growth from walkways

    Does anyone have any good ways to keep weeds out from between the bricks on walkways? Here are ideas we discussed locally:

    - herbicide (like Round Up) but then you just get brown weeds that still need pulling
    - salt, but it doesn't really do the job all season
    - hot vinegar water?

    -- Portia for the Louisville (KY) Show Me Tell Me Group



    Pour boiling water on them. That kills weeds in walkways.

    -- Pat of Naperville, IL


    I have been using a mixture of half white vinegar and half water on my patio and the path of the butterfly garden for several years. It doesn't last all season, but if you start in early spring I find the weeds are easier to keep under control and it's a natural solution rather than a herbicide.

    -- JoAnn of Lehighton, PA

    We have controlled weeds in the cracks in the sidewalk for many years using topically applied boiling water. The weeds usually only need one application, but when there is a particularly stubborn plant, repeat the process. Mind you the neighbors will have confirmation that you are completely cracked when they see you come out of the house with a pot of boiling water!

    -- Anne of Birmingham, MI

    I was recently told by a master gardener that a 20% vinegar solution works well for killing undesired plants. I'm still looking for a source; have e-mailed Heinz and am waiting for their reply. I will post to this site once I locate a source.

    - Judy of Ann Arbor, MI


    You might try Preen or other preemergent herbicide after your cracks have been cleaned.

    -- Marji of Hastings, MI

    How groomed do you have to look? If you use a herbicide (like Round Up), be patient for two weeks and then weed whip that dead thatch and you're ok for the season. Do not use salt.

    -- Wendy of Milwaukee, WI

    I get the area VERY wet and the roots can't hang on as well. Still have to pull, and it makes the job messier (muddier) but it doesn't take as much effort to pull....

    Note: I was told not to use walnut for mulch because it limits plant growth. Why not use it for pathways then? Would it encroach on the beds? If it didn't and controlled your weeds naturally.....

    -- Deborah of St Joesph, MO

    I would encourage plants to grow between the cracks of bricks and flagstone in paths and patios. They soften edges, add another dimension to a flat surface, and add charm. Some of the best plants to use are Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis), Hairy Beard Tongue (Penstemon hirsutis), Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum), Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Prairie Alum Root (Heuchera richardsonii), Old-field Goldenrod (Solidago grayii) and Sedum ternatum. This year, in addition to the above, I have a lot of self-seeded Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) blooming between the flagstones in my patio.

    -- Pat of Elgin, IL
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