Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Keeping weeds off the patio

Ten years ago we moved into our wonderful home on the campus of the school where we worked for nine years.

Off of the great room we have a beautiful brick patio. The kids play basketball out there, the little ones like to ride their bikes around on it (when a b-ball game is not in progress, hopefully), and it provides a great place for our fire pit when we roast marshmallows on summer evenings.

As wonderful as this patio may be, it also brings plenty of frustration during the summer months. In between each crack of each brick weeds, moss, and ground cover plants defame the beautiful brick patio. So, I weeded, and weeded, and the kids weeded, and weeded. One year we bought Round Up. After spending a small fortune and three hours of work we were weedless -- for a few months.

A couple years ago I figured there had to be a better way. I started thinking about natural options, safer for my kids and dog, and better for the environment. For some reason I thought of salt. I thought about how the ocean water kills land plants, and how in long ago history they would salt the fields of their agrarian enemies to cripple their crop production.

So, I tried it. I pulled out the canister of table salt and sprinkled it liberally around the patio shortly before a rain, used most of the canister. A couple days later the weeds were brown and brittle. I swept my patio, and didn’t see another weed for a month and a half! This time, in the midst of a dry spell, I filled a spray bottle with strong salt water and sprayed the porch down. Same effect – dead weeds and no new ones for the remainder of the growing season. So, lots of salt, with a little moisture in some form or another (even a heavy morning dew has been enough) to move the salt into the cracks, and those weeds are history!

I would much rather pay a buck or two for a canister of salt than $35 for strong chemicals that barely do twice as good a job.

You do have to be careful to not allow too much run off onto plants that you want to keep (we haven’t had a problem with this, but it could potentially be an issue), but anywhere that you don’t want anything to grow, salt is an inexpensive, all-natural weed killer.

This has definitely worked for us!


Anonymous said...

Vinegar works well also. It's what I use on my driveway.

:) said...

I will have to try salt. The vinegar doesn't seem to work well in our wet climate.

taradon said...

Wow, I'm going to give that a try! I have been battling weeds with round-up and pulling them and they just won't die. I will definitely give it a shot with the salt... and maybe a bit of vinegar, too!

Sarah H said...

Wow, thanks for this tip. The weeds in my patio have been driving me crazy!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Wow....never heard that one before. thanks for sharing!


Heather@ JustDoingMyBest said...

Great idea!I'm looking forward to trying salt in our problem areas.

turtleracing4 said...

I am definitely trying this one. I hate pulling weeds!