Weeds, Whacked! 5 Ways to Kill Weeds in Your Driveway or Sidewalk

by Mark Soto
Man removes weeds from the lawn

Weeds in the driveway and sidewalks are not an uncommon sight — though they are unsightly. Apart from being an eyesore, weeds can be difficult to eliminate permanently as they continuously reappear if not removed properly. Getting rid of weeds is a common home maintenance task people have to deal with all-year-round, especially in the summer.

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Luckily, there are several ways you can go about exterminating weeds in driveways and sidewalks, be they gravel, asphalt or concrete. Some methods are safer, while other approaches require greater attentiveness and caution since they can damage other desirable plants.

How Long Does It Take to Kill Weeds?

The amount of time it takes to rid your driveway and sidewalks of weeds varies based on your chosen method. While some methods — like physically yanking weeds out — yield instant results, the amount of labor they require is high, especially if weeds are abundant. Meanwhile, other methods, like using rock salt or a chemical weed killer, require less time to perform, but it may take a couple of days before weeds are thoroughly dispatched. Once you remove the weeds, don’t forget to add some landscape fabric to prevent weed seeds from sprouting.

With that in mind, here are five of the most effective ways to kill weeds in your driveway or sidewalk:

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is a handy home product that also serves as an excellent weed killer. However, you need to be cautious when applying it to weeds, as vinegar doesn’t discriminate between weeds and the plants you want to keep; it’ll kill other plants if it comes into contact with them.

White vinegar tends to be the best type to use, and you can apply it using a spray bottle. For added effect, you can mix white vinegar with dish soap and a cup of salt. Once it’s been thoroughly mixed, just spray the weeds all around with the spray bottle. You might need to do it once a day for two or three days until the weeds die.

2. Boiling Water

Killing weeds in the driveway with boiling water is one of the simplest solutions. It’s one way to efficiently kill a large number of weeds spread throughout your pathways. Unlike certain hazardous herbicides, it doesn’t have any negative long-term impacts. This method also eliminates weeds permanently, since the boiling water can reach the taproot.

You still need to be attentive when using boiling water, as you can hurt yourself and unintentionally destroy other plants it comes into contact with. Plus, if you have a large area to cover, it might be time-consuming.

3. Chemical Weed Killer

Weeds have quite an impact on your driveway’s and sidewalk’s aesthetics — not ideal if you have guests coming over. That’s why some people go to more extensive measures and use a chemical weed killer to get rid of them altogether. Chemical weed killers can save you a lot of time and labor when compared to other more labor-intensive methods.

Of all the other ways to kill weeds, this is the one you need to be the most careful with. Everything from choosing the right weed killer to applying it needs to be planned and done properly. Selecting the right weed killer for your needs isn’t as simple as you might assume. Some weed killers will be selective in what they kill, while others will destroy everything in sight. If you aren’t careful, it could have some disastrous long-term impacts.

4. Dig ’Em Out

Perhaps the most natural way to get rid of weeds is to pick them out by hand or use a long-handled weeder. The simplicity of this depends on how large the weed is and if you can get down to the root. You might have a tough time trying to dig it out entirely if it’s coming through small cracks in the pavement. If you can’t get down to the root, it won’t completely eliminate it, and it will eventually regrow.

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5. Rock Salt

Rock salt isn’t just used to de-ice driveways. One lesser-known, yet effective, way of killing gravel driveway weeds is using rock salt. Because it’s widely available, it’s a cheap and efficient way to get rid of those stubborn sprouts.

There are two easy methods you can use when it comes to rock salt:

  • Place rock salt on any sidewalk or driveway cracks with weeds growing out of them, or spread it across the entire area. This will eventually kill any weeds and temporarily prevent them from growing.
  • Mix some rock salt with water until it fully dissolves, then add it to a spray bottle and apply it. This will usually kill them after a few days, but if it doesn’t, simply reapply it one more time.

Like vinegar, rock salt won’t differentiate between weeds and desirable plants, so be cautious when using it.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you the peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.