Though a gravel driveway can be an inexpensive alternative to an asphalt or concrete driveway, it can also present some maintenance problems those driveways do not. Keeping a gravel driveway free of weeds and grass is often a problem for homeowners who live in areas where such plants routinely seed and grow. Though there are many methods that can be used to control weeds, two of the most common are herbicide applications and torches designed for removing weeds.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the late winter or early spring by using a liquid and putting it directly on the plant, before grasses start growing. Pre-emergent herbicides are clearly marked as such by their labels.
Continue reapplying a pre-emergent herbicide once every month. This is important because the herbicide is effective for only about a month. After that, weeds can start to grow.
Apply a post-emergent herbicide if the weeds have already started to grow because you waited too long in the spring or between treatments. Once driveway weeds and grass have begun, they can no longer be controlled with a pre-emergent herbicide.
Control weeds in other parts of the lawn and mow grass frequently, along with the herbicide applications. This will help prevent seeds from wandering onto the gravel driveway, which is often very inviting to weeds because there is no other competition for light or other resources.
Perform a spot inspection of where the weeds are. This helps save on propane, which is the primary fuel source for the weed torch.
Be careful of any oil spots or other liquids that may have leaked out onto the gravel. If there is a substantial amount of fluid, it may be flammable and should be avoided. Weeds in this area may be best removed by hand.
Walk along the driveway with the weed torch, using the wand to direct a flame at the weeds. They do not need to be completely burned, only seared in order to die.
Wait two to three days, then repeat the process, hitting any weeds that were able to survive the first treatment. Perennials may need to be hit routinely throughout the growing season.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide or continue flame treatments as needed. Some prefer not to use a herbicide, out of concern for the chemicals in the products. Torches provide a non-chemical solution.