You expect to deal with the occasional weed in your yard or vegetable garden, but pesky, persistent weeds growing through asphalt and other hard surfaces can cause a problem in your driveway. Not only do weeds growing through asphalt hurt your curb appeal but they can also cause damage to the hard surface. Growing weeds and roots can damage already weak or crumbing asphalt even more. Commercial weed killers are an option, but you can also try nontoxic options first to kill weeds growing through asphalt.
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Pull Weeds Growing Through Asphalt
Pulling weeds is the most basic way to get rid of them, but it can be difficult to remove the entire weed, roots and all. That's especially true for weeds growing through asphalt since you can't dig down into the asphalt. If you only have a few weeds, pulling them when you see them pop up can help control the issue, especially if you catch them before they go to seed.
For more effective weed pulling, wait until after a rain or spray some water on the weedy patch of asphalt. Wet soil makes it easier to pull out weeds and increases the chances of pulling up most of the roots with the weeds. Grasp each weed individually at the base with a strong grip to reduce the risk of breaking it off at the stem.
Use Homemade Vinegar Weed Killer
Regular household vinegar is often effective at killing weeds because it removes moisture from the weeds and dries them up. You can also get stronger vinegar that might be even more effective. However, vinegar is nonselective, which means it kills any plant life with which it comes in contact. If you're applying it on weeds growing through asphalt, it should be easier to control to avoid killing plants you want to keep. Apply it on a calm day so the vinegar doesn't travel to other areas.
You can apply straight vinegar to the problem weeds or add other ingredients to make a DIY weed killer. Dish soap added to the mix can help break down or damage the protective outer coating on the weeds, allowing the vinegar to get to work more effectively. To make the DIY weed killer, combine 1 gallon of vinegar and 1 ounce of dish soap. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it all over the weeds, wetting the entire plant.
Try Boiling Water
Another nontoxic way to kill weeds is by pouring boiling water over them. Boiling water will also kill everything it contacts, so be careful to only get the water on the weeds. You might need to douse the weeds growing through asphalt multiple times to get rid of them completely, but it can be an easy, inexpensive option.
Apply Weed Killer
Commercial weed killers are a fast, efficient option with less work for you, but they come with some serious risks. The toxic chemicals can leach into the soil and are often hard on the environment. Herbicides can also blow onto other plants that you want to keep and kill them as well. You can also have irritation or respiratory issues if you come into contact with the chemicals or breathe them in while you spray the weeds growing through asphalt.
Choose a calm day in order to keep the herbicide from blowing to other areas. Cover as much of your body as possible and wear a mask to reduce your personal risk of injury. Always read and follow the herbicide instructions exactly to use it effectively and safely.
Fill Asphalt Cracks
If most of the weeds growing through asphalt areas on your property are making their way through cracks, filling those cracks can prevent future problems. You can find asphalt crack filler at hardware stores to fill those gaps. Look for cracks regularly and repair the driveway to keep weeds from sprouting through those areas.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.