Get Rid of Patio Weeds Using Natural Rock Salt

green blog using rock salt for natural weed controlMother Nature doing its thing is quite glorious until it impinges upon your living space.

The British weather is gradually changing into summer and many of you could well be eyeing the barbecue or simply looking forward to spending time out of doors; unfortunately those little sprouts of green that emerged last week, fuelled by spells of both rain and sun, have become a forest-in-waiting.

The last thing you want to do is invest in chemicals to get rid of them. These invariably come in spray or squirt bottles and have a range of nasties in them that you definitely shouldn’t breathe in or get on your skin; they can pose a danger to other plants, insects, pets and children too.

There is an easier and friendlier way to get rid of patio weeds, and it could be something you already have a stock of: rock salt.

Traditional brown rock salt is mainly used to deice roads, pavements and driveways during winter, but this natural substance is versatile.

Mined in the UK, it has less of an impact upon your carbon footprint than others shipped in from abroad. It lasts for a long time when stored in your garden or garage in an air-tight container or salt bin, which helps retain its de-icing properties and makes it easier to scatter.

If yours has got a little too damp for manual scattering over your weeds, put it out in the sun to dry while you prepare your area for some tough love.

Three rules for clearing weeds using rock salt

  1. Scrape, hack and pull the majority of the weeds that are growing between the cracks, using a flat-edged shovel. This is heavy work if the weeds are practically though – wear gloves, and if it’s sunny don’t forget to hydrate yourself and wear a hat/sunscreen.
  2. Scatter along the lines of your patio then use a hand brush to sweep the salt into the cracks. It can help to wet down the area from your water butt, or leave scattering until you’re sure that rain is due. Alternatively, you can dilute your rock salt in water and pour it over the cracks using a watering can with its rose removed.
  3. Rock salt is a safe and natural substance, but less is more – excessive amounts may take weeks to dissolve, so you’ll have the grit messing up your patio. Too much also risks polluting other areas of your garden. There is one other note of caution – salt can reduce the lifespan of your concrete patio slabs over time: another reason for the less-is-more rule.

Other types of salt will work too, but this is a good way to use up the stocks of traditional brown rock salt left over from the winter, especially if you haven’t been able to store it in a water-tight bin.

What about you – how do you get rid of weeds the eco friendly way?