How To Fix A Gravel Driveway Overgrown With Grass
Contrary to the traditional asphalt and concrete driveways that many of us are familiar with, gravel driveways are proving to be a much more affordable option for homeowners. Not only are they cheaper to install and maintain, but they also generally require fewer repairs over their lifespan.
One issue with gravel driveways, however, is grass growth. When grass starts to poke through, it can make the driveway seem unkempt. Follow this guide and you’ll be able to keep grass from sprouting up through the gravel in your driveway, keeping it looking neat and tidy.
Why Grass Grows There
Much like the gaps in a concrete driveway, the gaps in a gravel driveway are a perfectly welcoming spot for weeds and grass to pop through. Loose seeds or pollen that get lodged between the tiny pieces of gravel can then start to take root underneath.
When there are heavy rains in the area, be on the lookout for fresh grass. This is the most common period for roots and grass to pop up through the gravel driveways, facilitating the need to get rid of those pesky growths.
Steps To Fix A Gravel Driveway Overgrown With Grass
Step 1: Torch It
Fire is an effective tool when it comes to destroying things. Just keep in mind that anytime you use an open flame, it is a hazard. If you don’t have much experience using a torch or fire for this method, you might want to skip to another step.
Still, fire is a highly effective method for getting rid of grass or weeds permeating your gravel. This is because the first mostly will not harm the gravel itself, so you don’t have to be terribly precise when you use it. Not only that, but the fire will burn so hot and deeply throughout the grass that it will destroy its root and all.
Just make sure to take necessary safety precautions. Don’t stand on any of the hot gravel for very long, ensure that there are no children nearby, and definitely make sure that there are no flammable materials anywhere in the area. With the proper safety precautions taken, you can be certain that the grass and weeds won’t stand a chance.
Step 2: Use Weed Suppressant Sheets
There are plenty of situations around a property where grass and weeds make their unwelcome presence felt. Even if you don’t see them in your driveway, there is a chance that you could see them on sidewalks, walkways, or in gardens.
Thankfully, there are special weed suppressant sheets that you can purchase at a local garden supply or home hardware store. This is meant to form a barrier between the soil and the gravel. Keep in mind that the caveat here is that driving over these sheets can and will puncture them. So, if you use these, make sure that you do not drive over the impacted areas.
All that needs to be done is to remove the gravel from the spots that are the most impacted by grass and weeding. Lay down your sheets and cover them up again with the gravel. The idea is to starve the weeds and grass from getting the proper amount of moisture and sunlight that they need to thrive.
Step 3: Use Plastic
This is in a similar vein to the special suppressant sheets in that the goal is to prevent the grass and weeds from getting the proper nutrients that they need. You can use standard plastic sheets in much the same way as the suppressant sheets in that they get placed between the layer of gravel and the grass and weeds laying underneath.
Plastic is a much cheaper alternative, especially if you have a long driveway. You can also use a thick layer of black plastic to cut off the water and light supply to the weeds and grass underneath the gravel. Simply cut the strips of plastic that you need before laying it down and you should have an effective method for keeping the grass and weeds from growing back.
Step 4: Use Salt
Did you know that salt is a pretty effective, natural way to keep grass and weeds at bay? It is best if this method is used in homes that have children or pets and want to avoid the use of any potentially harmful chemicals that can harm either.
Rock salt in particular is a great option for the task. For those looking for an effective household grass and weed killer, table salt will do fine in a pinch. Just mix a pound or so of the salt in with a gallon of water. Transfer it into a watering can, wait for the salt to dissolve completely, and then sprinkle over the impacted areas.
If you are doing this near any garden plants, do so carefully. You want to kill the grass and weeds, not any plants that may be in the area. It could take 7-10 days to completely dry out the grass and weeds, but you should find them withered at the end of that time. Then you can simply pull them out root and all.
Step 5: Use Roundup or Another Chemical Cleaner
If you don’t want to mess around with laying down plastic or using a home remedy, you can always opt for the commercial chemicals created to get the job done. Roundup in particular is quite effective at getting rid of stray grass and weeds. It is even good enough to use precise measurements to kill weeds sitting in flowerbeds or the lawn.
The best part about Roundup is that it is safe enough to use around pets and children. This is because when some of the chemicals that come into contact with the soil degrade, they are less harmful to pets and kids.
Roundup works by drying up the sap that lays within any unwanted weeds or grass. It attacks the roots, leaves, and stems, withering them and decomposing them naturally within the soil. Similar to the salt, when they have withered enough, you can simply pull the entire thing out, root and all.
Just be sure to use Roundup on a clear day. If the weather is rainy or windy, it can make the product dilute and drift away before it has a chance to work effectively. If it rains within two hours of spraying the product, simply do it again to ensure that it does the job.
How Do I Keep my Gravel Driveway from Washing Out?
One of the biggest issues with gravel driveways is that serious rain or flooding can wash the gravel away. Thankfully, there is a method that you can implement to ensure this doesn’t happen. Make sure to backfill the trenches using a shovel to apply ½-inch drain rock.
When the drain rock gets up to the level of the driveway, lay down a geotextile sheet over top of it before adding in the final layer of gravel. The sheet is meant to prevent silt and dirt from getting down into the drain and clogging it. When the drain is functioning properly, it should be able to work to keep the gravel from washing away in particularly heavy rains or light flooding.
Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.
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