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Is salt the best way to destroy weeds in gravel?

Previous owners had the front garden designed to look like a pebble beach with 'groynes' of sleepers lying down and pebbles large at the wall graded to small at the front... it looks lovely BUT over the 12 years we have been here Violets and many other wild flowers have taken over.... to start with I left them as they were pretty and only a couple... MISTAKE.... now the pebbles are almost hidden and it just looks like junk yard. I do NOT want to use weed killer as there are ornamental grasses and bamboo intentionally planted in the garden... I have heard of sprinkling salt to kill unwanted weeds... I tried boiling water, but it took forever and as soon as the leaves had crunkled and died - another lot reappeared. HELP I want my beach back

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  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,988
    Sorry, @Bigbarb - but if you're using salt to kill weeds it's a weedkiller... just because it has a nice friendly household name, that doesn't stop it being a chemical just like anything sold specially to kill weeds.  It might well work.  But it will also have unintended consequences:  for instance, how will you know how much to use, to kill the weeds but not damage any nearby ornamental grasses you want to keep?  At least branded weedkillers tell you how to apply them. 

    However, it's possible to hand weed pebbles, though it's a tedious job.  In my previous garden I had a gravel patio which grew sycamore seedlings (and violets!) every year.  Twice a year, at least, I had to get down on my hands and knees and pull the b*****s out.  

    If they've grown too big to hand weed, in my opinion you'd be best to apply a weedkiller of your choice, when the weeds are growing strongly.  (I use glyphosate, very occasionally, when hand weeding isn't an option because it breaks down on contact with the soil.  It works well, and in my opinion is safe, if you follow the instructions to the letter.)

    Good luck!   :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 7,488
    Salt will leach into the surrounding soil and kill other plants too.
    It'll also kill lots of insects both good and bad.

    If you want to rid your area of various weeds use Roundup - carefully
    It's available as both a dab-on gel or a spray. 
    and good luck.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Again, weedkiller. Salt is a dangerous substance to use in gardens. It affects the soil, the wildlife. Weedkiller doesn't.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 6,357
    Another yes to a properly formulated weedkiller and a no to salt. 

    If the 'weeds' are growing in and through plants you want to keep - you have to accept that you can't just spray the whole area. You're going to have to get down on your hands and knees and treat weeds either individually or in small patches.

    If you use weedkiller made up to the correct concentration (or bought ready mixed) you can mix it with enough wallpaper paste to produce a gloopy paste which you can carefully paint onto the weed leaves. That way you get a very precise application just to the plants you want to kill. (It's the same idea as using the Roundup gel but, personally, I don't like the gel applicator)

    If it's a large area and the thought of doing this is rather daunting aim for tackling a smallish area at a time. Wait until the plants are growing away again (say April) and don't forget the weedkiller can take up to 4 weeks to have any effect, depending on what you use. I recommend a glyphosate based product.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Thank you people - that is REALLY helpful. I totally get the point that just because it is good old salt which is fine on chips, doesn't mean that it isn't just as bad, if not worse, for the environment .... it will kill the bamboo right next to the violets. ALSO if I just used my brain sometimes.... we live very close to the North Sea and all our leaves get periodically shrivelled by salt spray BUT they come straight back again. Love the wallpaper paste idea because that would show me exactly where I have put the weedkiller. Next April I will attack the main area with enthusiasm. Thank you again
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