Well, you bought or rented a new house and finally got your dream patio. It was everything you could’ve hoped for and more. But after a few weeks passed by you started noticing small weeds encroaching on your personal space. You didn’t pay much attention to them because they were tiny and easy to ignore. By the end of the summer, it starting looking like they were remaking Jumanji behind your house.
That’s exactly the situation that long-time reader Carol B. contacted me with a few days ago:
Hey Captain! I have a patio that I absolutely love, but I can’t seem to keep the weeds at bay. Do you have any tips?– Carol B.
Captain Patio is not the type of person to leave a damsel with a weed-filled outdoor space. So buckle up, Carol. We’ll get the weeds on your patio taken care of in no time.
Permanently Killing Your Patio Weeds
When you decide to get serious and get your invasive plant problem under control, you might be tempted to go out back and just start pulling. This is fine to do. It’s therapeutic to destroy the nasty devils and spending time in your outdoor space is a great way to kill a Saturday. But this is not a permanent solution. Give it a month and you’ll be out there on your hands and knees again in the hot sun. Not to mention it’s super difficult to get rid of weeds in your pavers or patio cracks by hand. The Captain suggests you strategically go after the weeds and use your brain instead of brute force.
Getting Rid of Weeds On Your Patio Naturally
I’m also going to suggest that you avoid herbicides when possible. It’s tempting to grab that bottle of Round Up and start spraying, but given the choice I always avoid harmful chemicals. This is even more important if you have children or pets.
With the easy option out of the way, we’re going to have to use natural options to get rid of the weeds on our patio. Don’t worry, we have quite a few at our disposal. In fact, you probably already have at least some of the materials laying around your house right now.
Surely you’re familiar with the phrase salting the earth. There’s a reason it gained notoriety! The exact same technique that ancient soldiers used to render conquered lands infertile can also be used to kill weeds that grow around your patio. I would skip this option for weeds between your cracks and pavers (I’ll explain why in just a moment).
Simply mix one part salt with five parts boiling water and stir until mixed. Put the mixture in a spray bottle once it cools down and spray generously on the plant close to the roots.
But beware, salt can be corrosive to more than just weeds. Other plants, as well as the patio itself can be damaged from excessive salt exposure.
Using Scalding Hot Water
If you were so inclined, you could skip the salt when boiling the water in the last step and simply pour the scalding hot water over the offending weeds. This is a much safer option than spraying salt on your concrete patio cracks / pavers and it requires almost no additional equipment. I would only use this method if your weed problem was fairly limited in scope, as there are major downsides:
- You’re using scalding water. One small misstep and you’ve poured it all over your skin.
- It’s a rather imprecise delivery mechanism.
- It takes a long time for water to boil (even more so if you watch it, right?).
I was surprised to learn that vinegar makes an amazing makeshift herbicide (in addition to making delicious pickles). The vinegar you get from the grocery store has a pretty low concentration of acetic acid, so you’ll want to be generous when you apply it to the offending plants. This should be strong enough for most invasive weeds you’ll encounter However, if you have a larger job I’d suggest you use industrial strength vinegar (found in most garden stores, or on Amazon).
I would recommend putting the vinegar in a household spray bottle mixed with a few drops of thick dish detergent. This helps it stick to whatever surface you spray it on, ensuring that it sticks to the plant.
Getting Rid Of Weeds On Your Patio With Herbicide
If you’ve tried the above options but still have a thick jungle of weeds to contend with every time you step outside your back door, you might consider going the herbicide route. I’ve always had good luck with Round-up when the job was bigger than my household solutions could take.
To be honest, this is the easiest path. Not only will the herbicide kill your existing weeds, but it will also make sure that they don’t grow back. Of the options I presented above, only salt can offer the same peace of mind.
You can purchase the herbicide at any garden store. But if you’re anything like me, you might prefer getting the goods delivered to you through the power of the postal service.