Advice? - alternatives to weedkiller


Old 05-04-19, 09:14 AM
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: USA
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Advice? - alternatives to weedkiller

My mom's house includes about six acres of land. Maybe 25% of it is lawn and since she moved in she has been slowly transitioning from lawn to more of a hobby farm setup. I recently discovered an interest in gardening and she's thrilled to have my help (and values my input) but ultimately it's her house.

Our interests mostly align, and both of us would prefer to be organic, use heirloom seeds, avoid weedkiller/pesticides, etc. However, in her mind weedkiller is a necessary evil-- we have a gravel driveway (poorly installed by a previous owner of the house) which is over 250 feet long and fairly wide, and neither of us has the time or energy to go up and down weeding it. (If it were up to me, I'd get rid of the driveway altogether, but as I said, it's not.)

Money's a big concern as well, so I'm trying to figure out a solution that's in the same price range as the amount of weedkiller she uses. Basically, I'm trying to figure out a game plan to keep us both happy--a low-maintenance, low-cost, low-weed driveway.

My best idea so far is salt, which is at least a little more environmentally friendly than weedkiller and hopefully comparable price-wise. It seems like buying vinegar in bulk would end up more expensive than weedkiller, and since the driveway is so long, I can't imagine a practical way to use boiling water.

Ideally I'd be able to put in some kind of ground cover, but it's compacted heavy clay under a bit of gravel, and I don't think there would be anything I could put in that would be cost- and labor-effective and I'd have to get my hands on some other kind of paving (gravel or otherwise) to put on top of it anyway...

Is there anything I'm missing? Any ideas or input would be appreciated.
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Old 05-04-19, 01:41 PM
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Weeds can grow in almost anything. Even my piles of raw crushed stone will eventually grow weeds. So, there is nothing you can do to the driveway short of paving that will make it maintenance free.

Salts I've never seen work. After all people apply it to their walks, driveways and roads where it washes off to the side and still doesn't kill grass or weeds. Yes, salt can kill weeds but the concentration has to be quite high. And, salt is highly water soluble so it will eventually wash away and the weeds will return.

Vinegar or another acid would be an option. You might find other acids to be cheaper than vinegar. You can buy the concentrated acid and dilute it down to the required strength.

Then there are chemical herbicides. You can buy generic glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp) in 2 1/2 gallon jugs under brands such as Honcho, Gly Star, Glyfos and many others. If purchased from an agricultural supplier (Southern States, Tractor Supply, Camp Chemical...) it's amazingly cheap. It's not "natural" or organic but would tick the inexpensive box in a big way.

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