The Q&A Archives: Controlling Weeds in Non-Planting Areas

Question: I have set up several riverstone areas, as well as a playground area in our yard. The playground area has the children's toys and is covered with playground mulch layed on top of weed fabric. The riverstone areas (stones layed on top of weed fabric) are around an above-ground pool, and alongside a brick walkway. Despite our best efforts at pulling up the weeds and grass, every time we turn around they are sprouting up all over again. They seem to be growing right on top of the weed fabric and not through it. I'm not concerned about any plantings in these areas. What can I use in these areas to keep the sproutings under better control?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Debbie Gwynn

Answer: Unfortunately, gravel beds are an excellent seed germination environment, as you are discovering. Routine raking of the gravel and mulch (disturb only the top inch of it or so) can limit germination of weed seeds. Also rake off autumn leaves and any grass clippings that may fall there to prevent them working their way down into the gravel and creating a compost type layer which encourages seed germination. You could also use a pre-emergent weed preventer product such as corn gluten.

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