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weeds growing on side of house

Weeds growing on side of house

In cold weather, a dark-colored asphalt driveway absorbs sunlight and keeps the soil beneath warmer than the surrounding landscape. Some grasses and weeds can easily tolerate the salts in ice-melt products. Fescue, for instance, is a cool-season grass that is somewhat salt-tolerant and might have a good chance of surviving through the winter in a driveway. Sedge is a grass relative that tends to stay green in winter. And then there are the cold-happy weeds such as chickweed that seem to scoff at temperatures at which other plants would have long disappeared.

Thanks to this genetic tenacity, grasses and broadleaf weeds that sprout up through the cracks in the pavement are very hard to control. It is easy enough to pluck the top off at pavement level or sever them with a string trimmer, but unless you extract or kill the entire root, the plant often simply sprouts up again.

The Spruce / Jayme Burrows

Here are some common, effective ways to control the weeds and grasses that infiltrate the cracks in paved surfaces. If a recipe calls for salt, make sure to limit its use to hardscape areas only; do not allow the salt to run into lawns and gardens.

Click Play to Learn How to Get Rid of Weeds

The Spruce / Jayme Burrows

Driveway and sidewalk cracks turn out to be surprisingly friendly places for weeds. These cracks can hold a considerable amount of soil and organic matter, a perfect bed for grass and weed seeds, which are often very tiny. And just below the surface of the paving there is often trapped moisture, and any plant that sends its roots down below the slab has access to it.

The reality is that pavement weed control is an ongoing landscaping maintenance task for homeowners, but the work is easier if you have a variety of workable strategies to choose from.

When to Kill Pavement Weeds

You can stay on top of weed control by devoting a bit of time to the job each week. Many homeowners like to conclude weekly mowing or garden work with a few minutes spent plucking or killing the weeds sprouting out the pavement cracks around the landscape.

Kathleen Connolly has been an advanced master gardener and accredited organic lawn care professional for over 30 years. She specializes in lawn care, horticulture, and landscape design. Kathleen earned a Master's Degree in Landscape Planning and Design and Sustainable Land Use Planning and Design.

(For those of you who already have weeds attacking your yard, read our article on How to Get Rid of Weeds.)

Weed Prevention

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Where to Find It

The frequency and timing of your fertilizing efforts are also crucial to healthy lawns. Both vary depending on your lawn type and the length of your growing season. Most northern lawns need only one or two applications of fertilizer annually—once in fall and sometimes a second time in spring. Southern grasses might require three feedings—early to mid-spring just after the grass greens up, early summer and again in early fall.

The stately look that you’ve achieved for the exterior of your home, including a healthy vine growing on the exterior, makes it resemble a house in England. However, the bugs the vines bring with them and the tracks left on the siding or brick can be unsightly and even destructive. Removing the vines on the house becomes your next project. Tackle the job before it gets out of control and be diligent when removing the vines. Weedy vines, or plants growing where they shouldn’t be, and woody vines, those that attach themselves to a structure for support, can both be eradicated with the right treatment.

Removing Low Light Climbing Plants

To remove low light climbing plants, examine the structure first and look for any damage. If there is damage, consult with a professional before attempting to pull the vine down. Cut the vine about 4 inches above the ground and paint the stump with a brush killer. Wait for the vine to die off. Never pull it: Damage to the exterior may occur, according to the Chicora Foundation. Once the vine is totally off, scrub the exterior with water and a soft wire brush.

Ways to Kill House Vines

English ivy (Hedera helix), one of the most popular exterior vines, is grown as a potted plant, ground cover or wall accent. It’s also an invasive enemy, according to Bob Vila. It grows up, down, horizontally, attaches itself to other plants, blocks out sunlight and is completely destructive if not controlled. Wisteria (Wisteria) has been known to pull the gutters from a roof. Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) wanders unchecked. In many regions of the country, anything planted along your south wall is fodder for wild expansion, according to Southern Living.