Advice? - alternatives to weedkiller

Old 05-04-19, 09:14 AM
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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.
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.
Old 09-17-19, 07:44 AM
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I have tried salt, vinegar,vinegar and salt and none of them work as good as glyphosate.

One thing I have read about but have not tried is boiling water.
You may want to give it a go as it would meet your environmental friendly requirement.
Old 09-17-19, 08:51 AM
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I can still recall my dad spraying gas along the chain link fence to kill grass but I hope that practice is long forgotten.

This all boils down to a cost vs performance and unfortunately I doubt there is going to be anything that comes close to current weed killers.

There are other weed killer other than glyphosate which happens to be the brand I use with satisfactory results and it's quite a bit less.
Old 01-26-21, 12:01 AM
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older post but my 2 cents, might be able to get zoysia plugs or seeds to grow, tires will make tracks and there can turn to weeds but if it's warm enough there for zoysia (it'll grow in south canada even though) it's know to handle poor soils, and it usually doesn't need supplemental water once it's been established with sprinkelrs to get it going, nor needs much fertilizer at all.

Can use a weed torch elsewhere but also weekly weedwack scalping should do too.

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