Weeds in Sidewalks and Driveways

Use Non-selective Herbicide

Weeds are often a problem in the cracks separateing the sections in the sidewalk or in the driveway. Digging them out is time consuming and the weeds just keep returning. There are two options for controlling these weeds; a non-selective herbicide or a flaming tool.
While Roundup had been the most popular herbicide for this job, there is a new kid in town; Finale. Either product comes in a ready to use hand sprayer that allows you to carefully spritz the weeds in the cracks without getting it on to the lawn or into flower beds. Both products work by getting into the plant and killing it down to the roots. Unlike with mechanical weeding, those weeds hit with a non-selective herbicide don’t come back. Now over time, new weeds will seed themselves in that space. So all you do is bring out your handy Roundup or Finale and do them in. You may have to do this job twice or three times a year.

Use Hand Weeding Tools On Sidewalks

Hand Weeding Tools For Sidewalks
In our section on Hand Tools we include a number of hand weeding tools, several of which would work nicely removing weeds from the cracks or sidewalks or driveways. They include:

Weeding Tools by Snow & Nealley

Weeding and Planting Knife by Wolf-Garten

Try A Flame Thrower

If you prefer not to use chemical herbicides on your property, there is another weed killing device that works when used properly. Yes, a flamethrower. However, this tool is attached to the common butane gas tank used in home workshops for soldering and the like. It is called a “Weed Burner” or “Weed Flamer”.

You don’t go out there like Rambo and burn out the weeds. The roots may not be harmed and the weed will come back quickly. The trick is to hold the flame just over the weeds, about 2 inches, so you cause the fluids in the plant to boil, bursting the cells in the plant. The plant actually dies from drying out, rather than from the flame. It takes less than a second to do the job on small weeds. Larger weeds take more time. A simple procedure to check that the plant has been heated enough to kill it is to press a leaf between the fingertips (after it cools of course). This should leave a dark green fingerpirint. It might take 2 or 3 days before the leaves are completely wilted and show that the burning trick worked. It takes a few tries to get hang of it, but if you get the fluids up to a high enough temperature, the plant and the roots are dead.

Annual weeds such as Dandelion are easily killed using this tool. The perennial weeds however, are not so easy; e.g. Canadian thistle. They usually have pretty extensive root systems, so it may take two visits, about two weeks apart to kill the perennial weeds. In all cases, it is best to get the weeds when they are young and juicy, rather than old, large and tough.

For information about weed burning tools go to Yardener’s Tool Shed in the Hand Tools For Weeding.

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