How do you maintain hardscaping (gravel path)?

A few years ago we hired a contractor to install a nice hardscape path in our back yard. It’s a combination of 1" river rock and large, flat Virginia blue stone pavers. They did put landscape fabric under the rock, but over the last few years the weeds have been proliferating despite treating the path with pre-emergent and pulling the weeds. It’s kind of a mess now.

How do you maintain a path like this? Do you have to just rip it up and re-do it every 5 years or so? (The weeds seem to be coming from seeds on the wind.)

I have a decomposed granite path, and about once every couple of weeks of the growing season I go and spritz anything foolhardy enough to poke up with Roundup. Spurge is worst culprit, but Roundup knocks it out with one treatment.

I’m actually dealing with almost this exact thing, right now. Mine’s worse, though- the landscapers for some reason didn’t put any fabric down at all! So we’ve got weeds galore, and fighting them is a constant war, even with Roundup.

My solution, at least for the worst area, is to replace the entire walkway with stamped concrete. Let’s see the weed bastards break through that.

Fabric is never a long term thing. Even if it blocks weeds below eventually there is enough soil above it for weeds to survive in. Round up is the normal treatment for your problem. Lot’s and lots of round-up. May lead to the death of society but you won’t have weeds in your walk.

If you want to have a little more fun with it, get a nice propane torch and burn those little fucks out. Yes, they will come back, but you aren’t spreading cancer everywhere and there’s a lot of amusement to be had in turning the weeds into itty bitty torches, even if you need to get out once a week to murder things. Really, couldn’t we all use a little more scary torch action in our lives?

Behold, the wonder and majesty of this concept–and so reasonably priced, too!

This is my preferred tactic for the patio and brick garden path. You don’t even need a “nice” propane torch - cheap ones with a simple ignition switch are available at home supply stores or online.

Using Roundup doesn’t equate to “spreading cancer everywhere”. Most research finds no such risk (an exception being IARC’s review, which omitted key evidence). I don’t want to spend money on the stuff or bother mixing it.

I suppose one other relatively non-toxic chemical control would be Preen, popular as a pre-emergent herbicide among lazy gardeners. Pathway use to keep weed seeds from germinating might be effective.

I just don’t trust Monsanto nor Bayer, really. On the other hand, Dr Gweebo’s Driveway Douche is definitely a name you can trust!

At the local farm store you can get the Preen chemical but a lot stronger and in bulk. You might have to do a little research and show your I’D when you buy it, but it’s available.

OK. That link is a mass of tiny text, and I’ll magnify it later if I have too. And nothing comes up if I Google the whole name. Is that something I can buy and show to people, or is it vinegar and table salt home-brew. Whichever, I must be in possession of this. Even if my weed killing needs are limited.

The link to the recipe is dead, but it looks like it is just vinegar and salt, with maybe some washing-up liquid to improve wetting.

Also from that page:

Now there’s an idea.

Try boric acid or borax commonly available in stores. It is poisonous in large quantities to humans and pets but I’ve found it to do a better (longer interval between treatments). Just dust the weeds with the powder. Two treatments are needed the first time.

Spray heavily with vinegar?

When my son worked for the town’s Dept of Public Works in HS/college, this was BY FAR his favorite assigned task. Always sorta surprised me that they would just hand my teenage son the keys to a pick-up and send him out to wreak havoc with a small flamethrower… :eek:

LOL, this turned out to be a funner thread than I expected. Thanks guys. I’ll tell my husband he has carte blanche to take a torch to the path. That idea never occurred to me, but it sounds like the least chore-like option.

It also has the benefit of burning up all the vegetable matter and seeds. We’re at the point now where we have a buildup of dead weeds from previous years, which is sort of self-composting and making a great place for new seeds to take root in. Would like to just burn it all away.

I sprinkle Casoron granules over the gravel at the beginning of Spring each year and it seems to prevent most weeds from growing. Groundclear is another option.

Let us know if you discover that your river rock was actually anthracite coal. :eek:

Less jokingly, I think I’d be worried about heat-spalling the pavers, but I suspect that has less to do with the basic safety of the approach and more to do with my competence with open flame.

That link is to a thread on the Giraffe Board, in which we exhaustively discussed the subject at hand and had quite a lot of fun with it.

If you find spot-killing pathway weeds with a propane torch to be inefficient, try the XM42-M.

That way you don’t mess around, and the neighbors are bound to be impressed.

Use GroundClear or a similar product. Lasts way longer than Roundup.

You might want to try Concentrated Vinegar It’s a super powerful mix of vinegar made to kill weeds. Seriously, you’re supposed to wear rubber gloves when working with the stuff. I think it’s better than Round Up. Better for the environment too. I live way high up in the mountains, and had the opinion that anything that grows is a good thing. Well, dandelions ended up getting completely out of control, and I used the stuff to knock them back.