How do you keep grass from growing through rocks?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

To effectively prevent grass and weeds from growing through rocks, there are several steps you can take. These methods are not only practical but also environmentally friendly.

1. Prepare the area: Before laying down any landscape fabric or rocks, it’s important to prepare the area properly. Start by removing any existing grass, weeds, or vegetation. This can be done manually by hand pulling or using a garden hoe to loosen the soil. It’s crucial to remove the roots of the plants to prevent regrowth.

2. Install landscape fabric: Once the area is cleared, lay down a layer of water-permeable landscape fabric. This fabric acts as a barrier, preventing weeds and grass from coming through the rocks. Ensure that the fabric is properly secured and covers the entire area where the rocks will be placed.

3. Create edging borders: To further enhance the effectiveness of weed prevention, create 3-to-4-inch steel or wood edging borders around the rock beds. These borders not only provide a neat and tidy appearance but also act as physical barriers to prevent encroachment of grass and weeds. Make sure the edging is securely installed and extends slightly above the level of the rocks.

4. Choose appropriate rocks: Select rocks that are large enough to discourage weed growth. Small pebbles or gravel may allow grass and weeds to poke through. Opt for larger rocks or stones that provide better coverage and minimize the potential for weed growth.

5. Regular maintenance: While landscape fabric and edging borders help prevent weed growth, it’s essential to regularly inspect the area for any signs of weeds or grass attempting to break through. Hand weeding is an effective and environmentally friendly method to address individual weed growth. Be sure to remove the entire root system to prevent regrowth.

6. Use herbicides cautiously: If hand weeding is not sufficient to control weed growth, consider using herbicides as a last resort. However, it’s important to use them cautiously, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Select a herbicide that targets broadleaf weeds while being safe for use around rocks and other plants.

7. Weed flamer: Another alternative to consider is using a weed flamer. This tool uses heat to kill weeds effectively, without the need for chemicals. However, exercise caution when using a weed flamer, as it can be a fire hazard if not used properly.

Personal experience: In my own gardening experience, I have found that combining landscape fabric, edging borders, and regular maintenance has been highly effective in preventing weed growth in rock beds. By following these steps, I have been able to maintain a clean and weed-free appearance for my rock gardens.

In conclusion, to keep grass and weeds from growing through rocks, a combination of preventive measures is necessary. Start by preparing the area, laying down landscape fabric, and installing edging borders. Choose appropriate rocks and regularly inspect the area for any signs of weed growth. Use hand weeding, herbicides, or a weed flamer if needed. By following these methods, you can enjoy a weed-free rock bed that enhances the overall aesthetic of your landscape.