Rocks are commonly used for landscaping purposes. Generally speaking, rocks are a good way of preventing weeds and grass from growing, but this tends to be in larger areas.
Even then, you may still experience trouble with grass and weeds growing through areas of the rocks.
While that amount is usually minimal in nature, that can still make a perfectly landscaped area look messy and sloppy and ruin your opinion of how it looks.
Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of those rogue pieces of grass and maintain your well-manicured landscaping rocks.
Pull by Hand
This is something most of us look to avoid, as pulling weeds and grass can be a real hassle to do. Not only that, it can be a physical pain as well for those of us more advanced in years or dealing with regular ailments.
Doing this guarantees that the grass and weeds disappear since you are down in the rocks looking for blades of grass and weeds. It also means that you can be as thorough as you want to be, going until you feel comfortable with the way that your landscaping rocks look.
But if you don’t want to have to get down on your hands and knees and pull everything out by hand, there are alternatives that you can implement to save yourself some pain and trouble.
Before you begin, you need to have a few different things. The first is a garden sprayer. This can come in the form of relatively small bottles all the way up to around a gallon or so in size and actually includes a little spray gun.
You will also need pre-emergent herbicide and post-emergent herbicide (this is what will kill the grass and weeds that have been bothering you). You can actually prevent the grass from growing between the rocks by taking preventative measures while laying the rocks down.
If you didn’t take preventative measures while laying down the rocks, that’s okay. You can get rid of the grass and weeds another way, by simply spraying them with your post-emergent pesticides.
How to Spray with Post-Emergent Pesticides
The first step is to spray your rocks with the post-emergent pesticide that you have purchased. Be certain to follow the manufacturers’ instructions, as a deviation can cause it to not work properly and you will be back to square one.
Generally speaking, you will have to spray down your pesticide and allow it a couple of days for it to kill the grass. When that happens, you can easily pull up the grass and weeds that were poking through the rocks and shouldn’t have to deal with them again for a long time.
Using a nonselective glyphosate herbicide is the best way to kill a wider array of weeds. But if you have rocks as mulch and they are around other plants, you will need to choose selective herbicide that will only kill that targeted grass.
These products will contain sethoxydim as the main ingredient and keep your plants from dying, too.
You’ll want to treat the entire area with a pre-emergent herbicide. You need to do this to stop the grass and weeds from growing in the same spot in the future.
Be sure to check the instructions that come with your product for the best method of application. You might even have to spray the herbicide onto the gravel or use a herbicide that is dry, spraying the area with water first to dissolve it.
When looking for an herbicide, look for products with oryzalin, pendimethalin, isoxaben, or trifluralin as the active ingredient. These types of products work well when it comes to preventing grass from growing and preventing broad-leafed weeds from popping up.
If you have larger clumps of grass poking through, you will need to get those with your hands first. Instead of picking up singular blades of grass, you can rake the rocks gently so that the grass slides in under the rocks where it will decompose instead of actually blanketing the tops of the rocks themselves.
Any areas next to the rocks should be mowed with the blower facing away from the rocks, preferably on a day where winds are light. This will keep grass clippings from blowing all over your rocks, creating extra cleanup and disposal.
Make sure to keep your rock surfaces just below the turf like when you are using rocks near or along the lawn.
This is so you have an easy mowing line that won’t require extra trimming or trimming equipment to use it. Those also tend to throw your cut grass all over the place, requiring extra cleanup.
From here, cut yourself a 4-inch-deep, 4-inch-wide trench. This trench will be between the grass and rocks and requires the use of a half-moon edging tool. You can also use a spade if you have that available to you.
Leave the trench bare and then recut your edging line. This is to provide the space that you need between the grass and the rocks and will prevent grass from eventually spilling over onto your rock area.
That extra gap also makes it much easier to mow your lawn since you can now directly mow along the lawn edge without ever coming close to the rocks themselves.
Taking these steps may seem like a bit of work, but it is the most effective way to not only get rid of your weeds and grass growing through the rocks, but to keep it away for as long as you choose.
After all, those little shrubs growing up through your rocks can really nag at you if the rest of your lawn is perfectly manicured.
Whatever way you choose, you can get the job done in a relatively short period of time and get your lawn looking perfectly coiffed once again.
Keeping those pesky weeds and grass from growing through the rocks can provide the aesthetic that you have been looking for.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.