How to Keep Weeds out of Your Rock Landscape

How to Keep Weeds out of Your Rock Landscape

Like many Arizonans, you may have opted for rock landscaping so you don’t have to waste precious water on a lawn. Then a little rain shower comes, and you find a big crop of weeds popping up in your beautiful rock landscape.

Seems unfair, doesn’t it? Fortunately, we have lot of ways to handle the weeds. Here are the pros and cons of a few of the more popular ones.

Landscape plastic. Some people find this useful, but we see a couple of drawbacks to it. For one thing, you have to lay it down before you put in your rocks, so if you didn’t do this from the beginning, it’s not helpful. The bigger problem is that eventually holes will wear through the plastic, and the weeds will grow through them. Plus, dust will blow on top of the plastic, letting weeds sprout there. So you get weeds anyway, and over time, the plastic will become unsightly as the rocks shift and bits of ragged plastic start to surface.

Commercial herbicides (plant killers). Here we’re talking about products like Roundup, which contain glyphosate. They pretty reliably knock out weeds, even seemingly invincible Bermuda grass. The disadvantage is that many people prefer organic products, especially if they plan to later grow edible plants in the area.

Boiling water. That’s right, simply boil up some H20 and douse them. This may not be a permanent solution, but it’s easier than hoeing, and it is completely organic.

Salt. Table salt or saltwater will work on some weeds. The major disadvantage is that it’s hard to grow anything in salty soil, so if you or anyone else ever want to grow plants in the area in the future, this is not a good solution.

Vinegar. Some people swear by spraying weeds with vinegar in the heat of the day. You can try simple white vinegar from the grocery store, which is about 5% acetic acid. If that doesn’t work, you can buy stronger vinegar (with concentrations of up to 20% acetic acid) at garden supply stores. You need to use it carefully, though, because it can damage skin, eyes, or lungs.

Salt, vinegar, soap combo. If other options aren’t working, try a combination of 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. The dishwashing liquid helps keep the mixture on the leaves long enough for it to work.

Flame throwers! Why not have some fun killing your weeds? You can buy a propane “flame weeder” for about $60 and burn up the weeds. Just be careful to stay away from any wood chips and your house!

Hands and hoes. Sorry, but this may be your best bet if the weeds are growing in rocks next to other plants that you want to keep. Many people find that a Hula-Ho (also called a stirrup hoe or scuffle hoe) works better than a traditional flat hoe.

We’re sure at least one of these solutions, or maybe a combination, will work for you to keep your rock landscape looking good. If you need more rock materials, we’re happy to help.

MDI Rock supplies a wide range of products for all sorts of uses at competitive prices. If you’re not sure what kind of rock you need or how much, we’re happy to give you our expert advice based on 30 years of experience. We carry over 50 colors of decorative groundcover as well as rip rap, flagstone, topsoil, sand, gravel, and a huge selection of boulders. 

Call us at 602-569-8722 or contact us online. We deliver anywhere from across the street to across the country!