How to Stop Weeds Growing In Your Slabs (Today)

Researched & Written by Craig

Keeping your house and yard weed-free can feel like a hassle.

After all, weeds are only a problem because they’re so good at growing where they shouldn’t. They pop up in the most inconvenient places – the middle or your garden, throughout your yard, and worst of all, between slabs in your driveway or sidewalk.

Keeping your home looking well-groomed means getting rid of these problem plants. Luckily, there are strategies to help you remove weeds between slabs, as well as methods to keep them from growing back.

Ready to learn more? Then keep reading for details.

How to Effectively Remove Weeds Between Slabs

Weeding between concrete slabs or bricks can be a pain, because the root of the plant is safely nestled where you can’t reach it. That doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless, though. You have plenty of options to help make your driveway or patio weed-free.

Weeding after a heavy rain is the most efficient strategy. Soil is softest after a heavy rain, so plants are vulnerable to being pulled up, roots and all. After the next drenching rain, you’ll be able to clear out your weed problem for good.

Old-Fashioned Weeding

If you have just a few weeds popping up, standard hand-weeding can be effective. Grab some gardening gloves so you don’t scrape your fingers on the stone. Pull up the weeds carefully, getting as much of the root as possible. This will help prevent the weeds from growing back.

Use a V-Notch Weeder

If you have many weeds, or if you have garden tools on hand, using a V-notch weeder can make things easier. These tools use a special notched design to pull weeds more effectively.

Instead of leaving some of the plant buried between the slabs, the V-notch weeder is able to fit in the crack and pull everything out. You can weed more quickly and successfully remove more weeds whole.

Use a Small Propane Torch

Do you have some weeds that seem to come back no matter what? You might need to fight them with fire. A small propane torch can be effective at spot-killing weeds in stone patios, driveways, or sidewalks.

It’s a simple weed-removal method – just light them on fire. The heat should kill the entire plant to the roots. However, it’s important to follow fire-safety guidelines with this method. Watch out for dry grass or sparks. You want to remove weeds, not burn down your house! This method is best used only for weeding in the middle of concrete slabs or patios, not in your yard or garden.

Use Vinegar as Weed Killer

If removing the weeds doesn’t work, you can try chemical warfare. One organic trick is to use standard kitchen white vinegar as a weed killer. Vinegar kills most weeds through acidifying and destroying their roots.

Pouring vinegar on weeds in your driveway or sidewalks will kill them over a week or two. You may have to apply the vinegar several times, though, depending on the weather. Rain can wash it away before it takes effect.

Use Glyphosate Weed Killer

The most immediately effective weed killer is glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in RoundUp. Of the commercial weed killers, glyphosate is the safest. It’s also one of the most indiscriminate – it will kill any plant it touches. This includes your lawn and garden plants.

If you have a serious weed problem in your driveway or patio, glyphosate can be an effective solution. Soil enzymes neutralize it, so it’s unlikely to hurt plants that you don’t spray it on. However, it’s still best to apply it carefully so you don’t drip or accidentally spray plants you want to keep.

Does Boiling Water Kill Weeds?

Yes, boiling water kills weeds. The temperature cooks the plants, including their roots in most cases. However, boiling water is difficult to use as a weed killer for more than a few weeds.

The problem is that water cools relatively quickly. If you’re using boiling water as a weed killer, you’ll need to have a kettle nearby constantly heating more. It’s probably the cheapest weed killer, but it’s difficult to use on more than a few plants at a time.

There’s also the safety problem with boiling water. It can hurt you just as easily as it can hurt plants. If you’re pouring boiling water over a plant, there’s a serious risk that it will splash and hit you. Unless you have a power washer that can heat and spray water well away from where you’re standing, boiling water isn’t the best way to kill weeds.

How to Prevent Weeds from Growing Back

Once you’ve gotten rid of the weeds in the first place, you want to prevent them form coming back. There are a couple easy things you can put between slabs to keep your driveway or patio permanently plant-free.

Seal Cracks

Sealing cracks is the easiest way to prevent weeds. If there’s no place for dirt and seeds to collect, then there’s no way for weeds to grow.

You can get concrete or asphalt crack sealant at most hardware stores. Sealing cracks takes an hour or two, depending on how many you want to seal, and then a day for the seals to dry. Once you have your cracks sealed up, you have that much less space for weeds to invade.

Note: if you live in a cold climate, you may note be able to seal every crack. Seams and edges between slabs are there on purpose to let the concrete expand and contract during temperature changes. Sealing these cracks can lead to more, worse cracks appearing over the spring thaw.

Add Salt

If you have cracks or gaps that you can’t or don’t want to seal, you can go salted-earth on them – literally. Plants can’t tolerate salt well at all. That’s why “salting the earth” was an army tactic hundreds of years ago: it kept people from growing food on that land in the future.

You can use this to your advantage in your war on weeds. Make a hot salt-water solution of one part salt to nine parts water, and pour it into the cracks and gaps where weeds live. This will soak in and kill your weeds over time. Just make sure none of your salt water runs off into gardens or your lawn. It will kill those plants, too! That’s why it’s important to be careful salting your sidewalks in the winter. 

Use Commercial Herbicides – Carefully

Finally, if nothing else has worked, you can use heavy-duty weed killers. There are several weed killers that linger for months or years where they’re sprayed. “Extended release” or “year-long” guarantees are a good clue that you have something that will stick around.

Just be cautious with commercial weed killers. These chemicals can wash away in heavy rain and wind up in your neighbor’s yard or even local water systems. Don’t over-apply, and follow instructions on the package to make sure you’re keeping yourself, your neighbors, and local wildlife safe.

Conclusion

Weeds leave your driveway and sidewalks looking a little ragged. Luckily, removing them can be simpler than you’d think.

Whether you’re willing to work with your hands or you want weed killer to do the work for you, there are plenty of solutions. Using the right tools and weed killers helps you get rid of weeds permanently. Once you have the situation under control, you’ll be able to keep weeds away without much work at all.

I hope this has helped you conquer your weed problem for good.

Have a great day. Thanks for reading!

-Craig