I have an established play area for my kids. When I created the area, I cut the grass down, capped and covered the sprinkler outlets in the area, laid down landscape/weed fabric (I forget the ply, it was the generic gray/silverish) one from Home Depot. I then layered over it to a depth of 3" with rubberized play impact surface.

Now I am getting weeds in the area, as shown in the below photo. How can I safely spray/remove the weeds without having to tear up the entire area? (The total area space is approximately 15' wide by 30' long).

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  • 2
    Side note: that is bermuda grass, and can resist glyphosate.
    – J. Musser
    Oct 24, 2017 at 18:21
  • The real question is, is it coming up from the soil below the weed fabric (in other words, its grown through it and the layer on top) or has it just germinated and grown in the top layer, above the membrane? If its the latter, it should be possible to physically remove it.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 25, 2017 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


15x30 feet with the sort of weed density you are showing? - Take an hour and pull them out by hand, or with a hoe. If you notice a lot of root penetration below or between the under-fabric you might want to rake back the surface and lay additional fabric, but I'd bet you mostly have weeds growing in the "rubberized play impact surface" itself and whatever materials have filtered into it over time (leaves, lawn clippings, dust, - the beginnings of new soil.)

  • Just as a confirmation (Sorry for the delayed comeback on this), with a couple of exceptions on grass growing through where the overlap was thin, all of the weeds were rooted in the chips themselves.
    – JohnP
    Mar 26, 2018 at 16:49

If you're looking for something non-toxic since it's a play area, you can use hot water or a heavy salt water solution. I don't love these methods since they have mixed results and the salt can leave a residue.

If you go to Amazon you can find natural weed killers based on vinegar. I've used those and they work quite well, but again, depending on your location and weeds, results may vary.

Unfortunately, once you start getting weeds, you most likely have holes in the guard so you'll keep getting them. I have a large portion of my yard covered in pea gravel with weed guard underneath. Over the years I've found that the stuff from big box stores does not hold up. Even with several layers it breaks down in a couple of years. I ended up finding out what the state uses at freeway offramps (much thicker and heavier) and purchased that from a commercial outlet that specializes in road and municipality construction. Some area I also cover with a 45 mil EPDM pond liner and then mulch or gravel. That's been fantastic, but I agree it's a pain if you have to pull it up.

  • Borax is pretty good at sterilizing soil, without being overly toxic. Oct 24, 2017 at 23:49

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