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I have paver bricks with this cracks between each brick and weeds.

Handling the weeds is a challenge for my wife and I.

Any suggestions?

Our strategy now is:

  • hand pick the weeds

  • use a power washer

  • fill the cracks in with locking sand

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This is the rare place where a weed torch/flame weeder actually makes sense - though plain old hot water will work as well - and neither will attack your pavers the way that acids will (unless you go nuts with the weed torch - so don't go nuts with it - weeds do not need to be burnt to a crisp to kill them.)

If you happen to own a steamer (that puts it out via a hose or wand) of some sort (old wallpaper tool, or infomercial impulse buy miracle cleaner - I can't really see applying the espresso-maker's steam wand to the patio) that would be ideal (really hot water...)

  • I wouldn't say it's the only situation where a weed flamer makes sense. I've got allergy issues--a weed flamer gets the crabgrass without bothering me and has the bonus that there's about 99% less of it now as the flamer kills the seeds also. – Loren Pechtel Apr 23 '17 at 22:39
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    +1 apsolutely love the mental image of hauling a big brand-name espresso machine around, breaking your back and burning your fingers (but not the weeds) – KlaymenDK Apr 24 '17 at 12:46
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Try horticultural vinegar. It is a much stronger acid than regular store bought vinegar. You can buy it online. Spray the weeds liberally in the middle of a hot sunny day. Hot direct sun is the most important thing when using horticultural vinegar. I'm not sure why stormy is suggesting glyphosphate herbicide when you said you don't want to use bad chemicals. Glyphosphate to me is the epitome of "bad chemicals".

You could also fill the patio cracks with plants that you do want there, which will out compete the weeds for the most part. You can get sedums and break their roots apart and smash them in between the pavers. They will grow in sand just fine and will spread to fill in the cracks.

Another option is to fill those cracks with a polymer sand which is solid and won't allow organic material to accumulate for plants to grow out of.

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    In my experience, even regular-strength white vinegar works well (I buy the cheapest I can find, about US$ 2.50 per gallon). One application suffices if the weather is dry, warm, and sunny for several days. Try to spray around noon as Tyler K. suggests. If the weather is overcast, I have had good success with two, somewhat more generous, applications a couple of days apart. – njuffa Apr 23 '17 at 21:50
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    @Tyler K Glyphosate is NOT a bad herbicide. I am a Commercial Pesticide Applicator. We were taught how NOT to have to use these formulations. Remember EVERYTHING is chemicals. Glyphosate used on gravel and pavers is the best application for this stuff. Trust me, dunno where you got your information but relax about glyphosate. Not a cool idea at all to incorporate within the genome of big corp crops. That is done to be able to spray the entire crop with glyphosate that will kill all the weeds (big deal weeds)...but not harm the crop. Calling a chemical formulation BAD is not science. – stormy Apr 24 '17 at 20:37
  • Excellent point to plant sedums, wooly thyme my fav. But that only works if you've got soil between the cracks. Lots of work to maintain, water, and no pressure washers allowed. Flagstone is perfect, not pavers done correctly. – stormy Apr 24 '17 at 20:40
  • I would classify anything that is toxic to all life forms as a "bad chemical". There is a never ending list of diseases and environmental problems caused by glyphosphate.. I just thought it was funny you said that because the poster was probably talking about roundup when they said "bad chemicals". My aversion to it is mostly from an agricultural viewpoint...aka I don't want to eat roundup... But I think it is also wise to limit to use of any chemicals as much as possible especially when there are other reasonable alternatives. A patio probably is one of the better uses for it, though.. – Tyler K. Apr 25 '17 at 22:14
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I have not had problems with my pavers because they were installed well with almost no gaps (one of the few things a previous owner did right), however white vinegar works as well as other chemicals in other places in my yard (cracks in concrete). Use an old spray bottle to apply it.

Since weeds in between pavers do not come from below, but from tiny seeds blown in, you might try mixing something like Preen in with the sand if the vinegar does not work well. (assuming Preen is not on your list of bad chemicals)

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If you've got pavers, that suggests block paving (also known originally as paviours), the brick shaped paving often used on driveways and patios, rather than paving slabs - these are never pointed in between. They're closely laid, but with enough room for sand to be forced down the gaps by using a wacker plate machine. Over time, inevitably, the sand can disappear, and weed seeds will germinate.

Strip out all the weeds in whatever way you choose, rake the joints out and use a Paving Sand with Weedkiller, preferably shaking it in place with a wacker plate, if not be prepared for lots of brushing and brushing and brushing. That should keep the weeds away until the sand has become eroded again, and is less damaging than regular spraying or liquid weedkiller applications twice a year. This link is to a British site, but there will be equivalent weed prevention sands available where you are http://www.paving.org/index.php/paving-sand-with-weed-killer/

Be careful when using strong vinegars - they can cause a lot of efflorescence or permanent damage to pavers.

  • I think you might be correct about the vinegar, especially the real weed killer stuff that is far more of a useful product. Argghhh. Cooking vinegar is nothing. There will always be weeds no matter how close units are but to have spaces filled with sand crete, concrete, sand and preemergence herbicides...better to just pressure wash once a year. Some great ideas have been brought forth here...my gas Stihl blower is my best friend to clean paver surfaces to blow out the seeds. – stormy Apr 24 '17 at 20:58
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[paver install with cmu walls[![][1][1][1]These pavers have spaces between individual pavers? One thing you might do is redo the entire patio floor so there are no spaces. Need to send a picture of paver type and paver bed; how deep is the sand beneath, the gravel beneath that?

This will be almost the same amount of work that you are considering pulling the weeds. If there is no proper bed I seriously would pick the pavers up and make the correct bed. You'll need to rent a compactor, dig out the gobbeldygook, install 4" of 5/8 minus gravel, 2" of mason sand on top, compact well in layers. Then you begin to reinstall the pavers butted up against one another, no space at all. You'll need string and a 2X4 and one of those big soft hand mallets to tap an entire row tightly to the last row. Keeping a string all around the perimeter that you have leveled as the top of the patio. Using that string and the 2X4 and tapping complete your patio. The plastic edgers are nailed into the ground and hold the pavers in place. Big 8" long nails. Spikes I guess more appropriately. Your building materials place will have everything and people to help you.

By butting the pavers up together REDUCES the chance of weeds but will not stop weeds. Using the pressure washer one a year will. I am hoping these pavers are 2" thick and untreated concrete...

If your pavers are thinner then that sandcrete would be a good idea. 2" thick CMU pavers look terrible done with spacing.

The most professional paver look is without any spacing. If you are going to do so much work anyway it would be almost easier to just redo the patio and make sure the job is done right. A GOOD paver patio/driveway ADDS big value to your home! Please send a picture of what you are dealing with first, how large and what is the condition of the bed?

  • They are mostly very tight. Just need maintenance. Will try vinegar. – David West Apr 23 '17 at 17:27
  • There is a better vinegar product, stronger vinegar. Made to lower the pH so drastically to prevent germination. This is a good application for using glyphosate. Round up. Do not spray with a fine nozzel, drift will kill lawn and perennials. Damage shrubs and small trees. I'd get a paint roller and paint pan to roll the glyphosate over the weeds. Wait a couple of weeks and then pressure wash the dead plant material out of the cracks. THEN apply the vinegar. This vinegar is to make the cracks too acidic for regrowth. It weakens weeds but they'll stay firmly roots... – stormy Apr 23 '17 at 17:40
  • Glad to hear someone did the pavers correctly! I'd coat my patio with this vinegar product (can't remember the name of it) that you purchase in a nursery or plant product aisle. Don't use kitchen vinegar. It might burn and weaken the weeds but they will be firmly rooted and tough to pressure wash out. The glyphosate kills all of the plant and you'll practically be able to blow the weeds out. Spring is here, barbeques! – stormy Apr 23 '17 at 17:49
  • The space may be intentional. Without a little room for thermal movement or settling as the substrate gets wetter/drier you'd get cracking, and drainage would have to be reconsidered. My patio is paved with concrete bricks that have ridges to enforce even spacing of around 1--2 mm. They're intended to be pointed with sand. From experience they last a few years before the mossy weeds get a toehold in the sand, and pulling the weeds pulls the sand out. – Chris H Apr 24 '17 at 9:17
  • The beauty of pavers is that IF they break, crack...they are easily replaced. Concrete is straight forward, done deal but you have to have expansion joints. Have you seen the size of expansion joints? There is no room other than 1/16 inch to expand. To replace concrete is pretty tough to do and not DIY. – stormy Apr 24 '17 at 19:49
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This is a low-effort solution I've used on some areas successfully (in southern England), and have been meaning to try on larger areas after being disappointed with weedkiller and unwilling to use it at the moment. I mainly use a wire brush with a long handle and/or a shaped scraper blade; you'd need to use those to finish the job but dead weeds should be weaker and com up more easily.

Cover it with plastic sheet (black or clear -- this link for the discussion) and wait a few weeks. It's best done in the height of summer to get the heat. My idea is to put the sheet at the weekend before going on holiday, and to take it up at the weekend when we're back. For a 2 week holiday that's 3--4 weeks, and as we all know, it's always sunny in the garden at home when you've gone abroad. This would avoid having it around too much for walking on and looking unsightly.

This could be a partner to other methods: I've got island beds with wooden edges so would have to leave a decent margin round them with any fire-based approach -- the plastic sheeting could go down in these margins after burning the larger areas (then it could be left longer, too). Similarly I wouldn't fancy using weedkillers that close to the beds even if I used them on the main patio.

  • I like this solution if people think glyphosate is a bad bad. You want to use clear, trust me. Not black. – stormy Apr 24 '17 at 20:52
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    I've used glyphosate only a few times, but always in rocks, gravel, pavers for dire circumstances. The minute it hits a surface its chemistry changes. It can not leach. I never use anything other than a trench for lawn plant bed margins. Clean up the trench, large radius, delineate the edges of the lawn once a year or less is all that is needed. I'd never use glyphosate other than what I've already stated. Homeowners don't have the skill to apply glyphosate properly and drift is the biggest problem. It IS NOT a bad bad chemical formulation. Unless it is in the genome of plants we eat. – stormy Apr 26 '17 at 22:28
  • @Stormy glyphosate apparently can't leach though there's evidence that the breakdown isn't quite what the manufacturers say. Splashing and overspray with consumer-grade products is another matter. I also try to minimise the amount of such stuff I use on the garden, especially now I have a small person who likes to play outside on the ground and is much more exposed to anything. Plus when I did use it, it wasn't effective for long (new weed seeds blown in probably) and it still took some effort to remove the dead weeds. – Chris H Apr 27 '17 at 5:51
  • I know how this stuff works and the only time I used it was where it was totally safe to use; gravel, pavers and that is about it. That was only on poorly prepared driveways, walkways and patios. I had far better methods for weeds in plant beds/lawns. Glyphosate is only dangerous for plants, not humans or kids. When it dries, there is absolutely no danger. The chemistry is benign. What is far more important is the corn you and your family eats that has GLYPHOSATE and BT incorporated into that food. GMO foods are far more dangerous than a little glyphosate on your gravel. – stormy Apr 27 '17 at 19:17
  • The question you directed everyone to read explains beautifully why CLEAR plastic is for solarization. Black is just to kill top growth not the roots or pathogens. Beautiful article to include the wave lengths and reason you want to use clear, not black...especially on pavers. – stormy Apr 28 '17 at 18:41
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Once they're laid, it's too late. But when the paving is being laid, ask the fitters to put a thin layer of sand/cement mix on the top of the sharp sand underneath. It doesn't completely stop weeds between the pavers, but it greatly reduces their ability to send down roots and grow bigger.

  • The weeds we get are rooted in the joins, not in the layer underneath (with very few exceptions such as dandelions when we're not paying attention) – Chris H Apr 25 '17 at 7:14
  • I've rarely seen a plant actually get big enough growing between pavers. Unless they had a poorly prepared bed. Seeds are blown in to grow in any size crack even without sand. @Graham...sand/cement joints...are ok for some applications but not for pavers without 1/2 inch minimum joints. The beauty of pavers IS the flexibility of the entire patio/driveway/walkway. The sandcrete will break like glass and what I've seen looks like...DIY. Weeds actually look better than this stuff but that is ONLY my opinion. – stormy Apr 26 '17 at 22:18

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