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weeds growing through rock bed

Weeds growing through rock bed

Contact weed killers are great for eradicating common annual weeds like nettle, crabgrass, bindweed, mallow, and others alike.

Concentrated herbicides are super potent and need to be diluted with water before use, according to the instructions printed on the packaging.

Contact Vs. Systemic

You don’t have to look far to find the best weed killer for rocks. You have all the ingredients to make a natural weed killer in your pantry. Try out different methods and see which one works for you the best.

A quick and natural way to kill weeds in rocks is by pouring boiling water directly on them. The scorching water will burn the leaves and kill the plants immediately.

Use Liquid Weed Killer For Rock Beds

The good news is, killing weeds in rocks is not much different from killing weeds in the garden and lawn.

Weeds growing through rock bed

Landscape fabric prevents your rocks and supporting sand or gravel from sinking into the soil under their own weight. The fabric helps stabilize your soil and reduce erosion. This is particularly important if you live in an area of regular rainfall.

If you choose these to control weeds, put them down as layers of several sheets. This will slow decomposition down. Ensure to overlap each layer to minimize weeds growing up in any gaps. Be careful not to use too much newspaper if you plan to grow plants in the area because this can lead to an excess of carbon in your soil. You may need to use a high-nitrogen fertilizer to compensate. Do not use any colored pages of newspaper to prevent chemical seepage into your soil.

Pouring boiling water on weeds will kill them, but is not a practical solution for a large area. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing so you do not get burned.

Landscape Fabric

While cost-effective, cardboard or newspaper degrade relatively quickly and lose their ability to stop weeds. Once they degrade completely, the landscaping rocks will start to sink into the soil.

A good idea is to put in a steel edging border around 3 to 4 inches high. This will stop weeds, plants, and grasses from laying down roots in the rock beds.

Household white vinegar will also kill some weeds, although it is not very powerful. A better solution might be to buy horticultural vinegar, which is available online or at a home improvement store.


Woven – this fabric, with its criss-cross pattern, allows water and air to reach the soil underneath. You may want to cut holes for bigger roots to get through. It does not puncture or tear.

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Weeds growing through rock bed

Dispose of weeds in a sealed garbage can or plastic bag. If weeds are removed manually, you can place them on the compost pile, but only do so if you’ve removed all seedheads ,which should be disposed of in a sealed bag.

Spray stubborn, mature weeds with a non-selective postemergent herbicide such as glufosinate or glyphosate if your rock bed contains no ornamentals. Read the label because some products are best for annual weeds while others are formulated for perennial broadleaf weeds. Reapplication is often required as new plants emerge.

Pull weeds by hand, wearing gloves. Grasp the weed near the base of the plant with one hand, then place your fingers firmly on the ground around the plant with the other hand to prevent disturbing the rock bed more than necessary. Water the area first, or pull weeds soon after a rainfall. The long roots are easier to remove from damp soil.

Less Toxic Weed Removal

Spray established weeds with a postemergent herbicide containing sethoxydim, fluazifop, or fusilade if your rock bed contains ornamental plants. Apply the chemical to weeds at the stage of growth indicated on the label. When applied carefully according to label instructions, the products provide partial or temporary control of weeds without harming ornamentals. Reapply as needed as new weeds emerge.

Cultivate the surface of the soil with a hoe to remove top growth. Don’t cultivate deeply because you may bring buried seeds to the surface where they will be happy to sprout.

A rock bed, whether bedrock planted with succulents and wildflowers or a rock garden, can be an attractive, low maintenance space. No mowing required. However, many types of weeds are persistent and continue to sprout, even in bedrock or in the nooks and crannies between boulders. To get rid of the overgrown weeds in your rock bed, try manual controls or one of several non-toxic methods first because safe techniques may remove established weeds effectively without dangerous chemicals. Resort to herbicides only when nothing else works, and then use a chemical exactly according to the instructions on the label.

Chemical Control of Weeds

Pour boiling water on individual weeds or small areas. Pour slowly to avoid splashing hot water on yourself or desirable plants. Use a stove-top teapot for better control and less risk of spillage while carrying.

Spray weeds with vinegar, which burns the foliage. For the best control, look for a vinegar containing 10 to 20 percent acetic acid, which is stronger than typical household vinegar at only 5 percent acetic acid. You can also use pickling vinegar, which is 9 percent acidic acid. Be careful not to spray desirable plants.