Weeds in Driveways

How to handle weeds in your driveway

By: Sandy Feather ©2008
Penn State Extension

Q. I have a gravel driveway and do not like to have weeds come up through it, but I hesitate to use herbicides. I have used chlorine bleach to kill them in the past, but I am wondering if there is something else I can use that will keep the weeds down in an environmentally friendly way.

A. Save the chlorine bleach for use in your laundry. It is less environmentally friendly than an application of the herbicide Roundup® (glyphosate). The acute toxicity of products is determined by a test known as LD50. Basically, the product being tested is given to a population of test animals – usually rats - in increments measured in milligrams of product per kilogram of test animal body weight. The amount it takes to kill fifty percent of the test population is the LD50.

Meaning of LD50

The lower the LD50 of a product, the more toxic it is, because it took less of it to kill fifty percent of the test population. The oral LD50 of glyphosate is 4320 mg/kg while the oral LD50 of chlorine bleach is 192 mg/kg.

spotted spurge weed by sidewalk
Spotted spurge grows fast
in driveways during hot,
dry weather

There are formulations of vinegar – these are much stronger than what you use in the kitchen – that are labeled as herbicides, as well as soap-based herbicides such as Weed Aside™, that are much safer than bleach.


Tried Boiling Water?

You could also pour boiling water on them periodically through the growing season. You will have to make repeat applications as needed because none of these methods – including Roundup® – will provide season-long weed control.


Stink bug invasions

Gypsy Moth

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