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Plants (and not just weeds) grew between the tiles and pavers of my balcony next to the rain drainage. They may cause damage to the ground (and ceiling of the person living underneath me) so how do I remove them? which tools do I need and what's the easiest way?

They've been there for long and apparently their roots extend deep down. If it is too much hassle, how can I at least remove the ones appearing on the surface for now and worry about the rest later? Below is a picture Plants (and not just weeds) are growing between the pavers.

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    Try pulling them out, best is to pull them out as they are still small (and do not have big roots yet). – benn Jul 5 '18 at 8:39
  • Roots come out of those little cracks nice just after a big rainstorm. – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 5 '18 at 16:19
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The plant in the picture appears to be woody at the base, which strongly suggests its a shrub or tree. In looks vaguely similar to Buddleia, but it doesn't have enough growth to be sure. Whatever it is, you won't get the roots of that out, since its had time to form wood at the base.

In the UK, I'd cut it down level with the paving, then drill into the centre with a small woodbit on the drill, and fill the well or hole made by the drill with neat SBK, a brushwood and stump killer, and cover with something temporarily. Alternatively, slash or make deep cuts in the remaining stump and apply. The big question is, do you have SBK where you are, or an alternative. You really only need a few drops..

Other, small seedlings (none visible in the picture, obviously) can be pulled or scraped out the cracks between the paving fairly easily, but this woody based one is the one that might very well cause damage to the roof of the balcony below, so deal with that asap.

Ongoing, you might want to consider grouting between the paving slabs if you can do that on the balcony, which would fill the gaps and prevent weed germination.

  • Could it be a willow? – Giacomo Catenazzi Jul 5 '18 at 18:02
  • Maybe, hard to say, but whatever it is, there's another one or another shoot off the roots to the right. – Bamboo Jul 5 '18 at 18:33
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A couple of options:

  • You could use an herbicide like roundup. I recommend saving that as a last resort.
  • You could use a propane flame to burn the plants. This may require multiple applications, but is nearly as effective as herbicide without chemical residue.
  • If you are persistent in pulling out the small shoots of the plants then they will eventually die due to a lack of food. A good tool for that is just your hand. You can also use a general tool like a screwdriver or a special tool like a hori-hori or winged-weeder, but the screwdriver will likely work just as well and has other uses.

One other element: if the plants have spread roots beyond your patio into a neighbor's patio then you need to work together to get rid of them. Otherwise you can spend effort pulling them out while the end of the plant on their patio gains food and feeds the part of it on your patio.

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