There are many options when it comes to ground coverings and block paving is by far one of the most popular in the UK. It’s ideal for driveways but is also perfect for patios, proving its versatility. But while block paving certainly looks the part, when it isn’t well taken care of then it doesn’t take long before weeds and grass start literally showing through the cracks. It’s essential to stay on top of your block paving maintenance so the sooner you can remove grass and weeds when you spot them, the better. But it’s not always possible, we know that! If things have gotten particularly bad, you might be wondering how to get rid of grass in block paving and this guide will show you exactly what to do.
Why Use Block Paving?
Block paving is a hugely popular material, and it is little wonder when you consider how many different styles, colours and patterns you can choose from. This type of ground cover is not only aesthetically pleasing but also incredibly durable and ideal for high-traffic areas. What’s more, block paving is laid in an interlocking manner, so this provides additional strength to the overall structure. You’ll also find that it’s relatively easy to maintain even if you do need to stay on top of things to keep it looking in tip-top condition.
If any damage occurs to one of the blocks, these can be individually replaced meaning that repairs are not as costly as they would be with other surfaces like imprinted concrete, for example.
Why Does Grass Grow in Block Paving?
Grass sprouting between the crevices of block paving is a common occurrence, influenced by a combination of natural and environmental factors:
- Seed Dispersion: Seeds are the primary initiators of grass growth. They can land on the paving through wind, bird droppings, or water runoff.
- Gaps and Joints: Over time, the filler material between blocks, often sand, can erode. This creates spaces where seeds can settle, germinate, and grow.
- Organic Accumulation: Fallen leaves, dust, and other organic debris can accumulate between the blocks. This organic matter, combined with moisture, creates a conducive environment for seed germination.
How To Get Rid Of Grass In Block Paving
If you’ve noticed persistent grass or weeds coming through the gaps between your block pavers then there are several ways that you can combat the problem. Below we detail some of the most effective.
1. Manual Weeding
If you’re willing to put in a bit of hard graft, then you might try manual weeding. This is one of the best options if you want a really thorough job as you’ll be able to assess each area as you go, removing every piece of grass and weed that is protruding through.
You’ll need to make sure that you pull the weed or grass out from its root as opposed to just the green parts above the surface. While this does take longer, the results will last longer so it’s worth it. We would suggest wearing protective gloves and using a knee pad to protect your joints while you’re on the ground. It’s also worth thinking about when you’ll remove the weeds as doing so just after heavy rain will make it easier. If it’s the height of summer and rainfall doesn’t look imminent then you could try wetting the area with a hose prior to weeding.
- Use a gardening knee pad to make the process more comfortable.
- Invest in a good pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands.
- For stubborn grass or weeds, consider using a weeding tool or knife to help lift the roots.
2. Jet Wash
It is possible to use the pressure from your jet washer to remove grass and weeds from between the block pavers. However, you must be careful as there is a small chance that this high pressure could crack the blocks.
It’s a good idea to first remove any long grass or weeds from the area and then jet-wash the gaps to remove any seeds that may result in more weeds. You should also be aware that power washing too frequently could wash away the sand between the blocks which will affect the stability of the structure. Jet washers (Amazon link – opens in a new tab) are really handy and every home should have one. They can be used for a variety of things so you would definitely make use of it.
- Ensure you wear protective clothing and goggles to avoid any debris.
- Start from one end and work your way systematically to ensure even cleaning.
- Avoid using the highest pressure setting as it can damage the paving.
3. Boiling Water
Using boiling water on the grass or weeds is a great way to kill them off and what’s more, it’s pretty much free.
You may need to apply more than one kettle full of water depending on the size of the area and you must make sure that the grass and weeds are thoroughly doused.
- Pour the boiling water slowly to target the grass and weeds effectively.
- Be cautious of any nearby plants or flowers; boiling water can damage them.
- Reapply boiling water after a few days if you notice any regrowth.
4. White Vinegar
The great thing about white vinegar is that it is so easy to get your hands on and it doesn’t cost the earth. Moreover, it’s brilliant for killing unwanted grass and weeds and it does so pretty quickly.
It’ll start working as soon as you apply it, and you’ll watch the grass and weeds begin to dry out before your very eyes! White vinegar works best on younger plants but there are higher-concentration products out there designed specifically for use on older weeds, plants, and grasses.
- Opt for distilled white vinegar for best results.
- For a more potent solution, consider adding a teaspoon of dish soap to help the vinegar stick.
- Apply during a sunny day to speed up the drying process and enhance the vinegar’s effectiveness.
You can make salt water by adding one part salt to three parts water and mixing together well. This solution can then be poured directly onto the grass or weeds between the block paving slabs.
This won’t kill the grass or weeds on the spot but as they begin to die, you can then add some additional salt to finish the job. To make sure that the problem doesn’t reoccur, you should spray affected areas with your saltwater solution around once a month. If the solution doesn’t kill the grass and weeds, you can increase the amount of salt you put in.
- Ensure you mix the salt thoroughly until it’s completely dissolved.
- Be cautious when applying near plants; salt can dehydrate and kill them.
- For areas with dense grass, consider increasing the salt concentration.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda has so many uses around the home and garden and one such use is to get rid of weeds and grass that poke up between your block pavers.
You’ll need quite a bit of baking soda depending on the size of the area and you’ll pour this onto the surface and sweep it into the gaps. However, the problem with this method is that it typically only works well during mild weather such as in spring and autumn. Moreover, you will need to repeat the application round every three weeks to prevent future problems.
- Sprinkle baking soda during dry weather to ensure it stays in place.
- After application, lightly water the area to activate the baking soda.
- Reapply every few weeks or after heavy rainfall.
How to Repair Block Paving After Removing Grass?
Removing grass and weeds from block paving can sometimes lead to minor damages or expose pre-existing issues. Here’s how to address and repair such damages:
- Refill the Gaps: After removing grass, you might notice gaps or spaces between the blocks. Refill these gaps using a suitable jointing compound or kiln-dried sand. This not only stabilizes the blocks but also prevents future weed growth.
- Replace Damaged Blocks: If you find any blocks that are cracked, chipped, or broken during the grass removal process, it’s best to replace them. Carefully remove the damaged block using a chisel and mallet, and then place a new block in its position. Ensure it’s level with the surrounding blocks.
- Clean the Area: Once the grass is removed, there might be residual dirt or organic matter. Use a stiff brush to sweep the area clean. For stubborn stains or residues, consider using a mild detergent or a specialized paving cleaner.
- Seal the Paving: To protect the paving and prevent future grass or weed growth, consider applying a sealant. Sealants create a barrier on the surface, making it harder for seeds to germinate and grow.
If your block paving is riddled with unwanted grass and weed growth this can be infuriating. When the problem gets back it can be very difficult to rectify but the good news is that there are some simple DIY methods that will effectively and quickly get rid of grass in block paving.
Garden Doctor Tips
“For best results, use a jet wash, this way you can clean the blocks at the same time too!”
“Sweep your block paving regularly to prevent any seeds that may appear from taking hold!”
“Be careful with a saltwater solution. If salt reaches the soil, it can linger and prevent anything from growing in the future!”
“After cleaning, it is a good idea to sweep some fine sand back into the cracks. This will help the structure stay strong and will give it a nice clean finish!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Does salt kill weeds on block paving?
Yes, Salt does kill weeds in block paving. By salting the cracks and joints in your block paving, you create a hostile environment for weed growth. The salt will stunt the weeds’ ability to take up water and nutrients, eventually leading to their death.
How do I get rid of grass growing between paving stones?
You can get rid of grass growing between paving stones by using a jet wash to blast the area clean. Be sure to wear protective clothing and goggles while doing this and take care not to damage the paving stones in the process. Remember to add some sharp sand to the gaps that are inevitably left behind.
Will baking soda kill grass and weeds?
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, which is a natural herbicide. It works by causing dehydration in the plants, which will eventually lead to their death. However, it’s important to note that baking soda is not selective in what it kills – meaning that it will also kill any plants you want to keep around. So, if you’re looking to use baking soda as a herbicide, be sure to test it on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t kill the plants you’re trying to protect.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.