Paving and gravel paths can quickly become colonised by garden weeds. Follow our tips on keeping your paths pristine and weed free, below.
While some plants, such as thyme and alpines, look delightful growing in the gaps between patio slabs or path paving, dandelions, plantains and weedy grasses don't. Left to their own devices, weeds growing in paths will quickly become established.
There are a number of methods for keeping your paths and paving looking good:
Tackle weeds quickly
Always deal with weeds before they have a chance to release seeds. A single plant, such as herb Robert, can produce thousands of seeds, all with potential to grow into new, seed-producing plants. Groundsel and hairy bitter cress, start flowering while still tiny, so be vigilant and remove them as they appear.
Edge out lawn weeds
Grass and weeds will soon spread across a path that's been laid through a lawn, so cut the grass back to a neat edge to keep it under control. Use a stiff, sharp blade, such as a hand-weeding knife or lawn-edging tool. Use a long wooden board as a trimming guide and cut down through the turf for a clean edge.
Get on your hands and knees
The best way to weed a path is to get down on your knees and do it by hand. Use a kneeling pad or a low seat if it helps. Arm yourself with a sharp knife or bespoke weeding blade, and push it as deeply as possible into the gaps, hooking out weeds, roots, soil and all.
If you can't get right down between the gaps, simply scrape the blade along the joint, slicing through weed stems. This will remove moss as well. Use a stiff broom to collect the weeds and soil, brushing in every direction to clear the gaps of debris.
Hoe gravel paths
Over the years, seeds from weeds and other plants will fall on gravel paths and taken hold, even if a weed-supressing membrane has been laid beneath the path. Use a hoe to quickly remove weeds, pushing it back and forth through the gravel to chop up stems and roots.
If weeds are particularly bad, you may consider resorting to a residual weedkiller. Always follow the instructions on the pack carefully, as these products can damage or kill surrounding plants and wildlife (particularly frogs) if applied carelessly.
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For small paths you can buy ready-to-use products in hand sprayers, but for large areas it's often cheaper to buy a bottle of concentrated weedkiller and dilute it in a watering can. Invest in a red can and only use it for chemicals - not watering.