How to Deal With Weeds in Paths and Paving

In an organic garden, we often have a lot more tolerance for weeds. We understand that weeds can often be a useful resource. Often, they are a boon for wildlife, increasing biodiversity and providing food, habitats and more for a wide range of creatures. Sometimes, they can even be edible for us, providing an additional edible (and delicious) yield for us and our families.

Weeds, as we call them, can sometimes be the right plants for the right place. They are often species that are ideally suited to the conditions where they are found. They can thrive, giving us clues about what else might grow well where we live, about the fertility, pH and type of our soil, and details about other environmental factors.

But sometimes, even in an organic garden, we do want to get rid of certain plants, especially if they pop up in our paths and paving. So, how do we deal with weeds in these places?

First of all, one things to remember is that we may sometimes want weeds – even between paving stones or slabs on a path or patio. Weeds popping up in the cracks can be beneficial because they can help retain water and prevent flooding on these areas. They can break up a grey expanse, making it more visually appealing.

But some plants will be better than others for this purpose. Ideally, we want the gaps in paving or paths to be filled with slow-growing plants that will not disrupt the lay of the paving with thick roots. One way to reduce the incidence of weeds in paving gaps is to ensure a good coverage of plants we want. With less bare soil, weeds will pop up less frequently. Great ground cover plants to sow in gaps in your paths or paving might include moss, clover, or Mediterranean herbs like thyme.

But while sowing new plants in the gaps can reduce the incidence of future weeds, that will not help you get rid of the weeds that are already there. Grasses, thistles, nettles and other weeds that pop up are sometimes difficult to get rid of. But scraping along the gaps will get rid of top growth, and doing this regularly will eventually lead to root death. A mulch of gravel or another thick mulch which stops light from reaching the soil surface between paving will also help reduce weed regrowth.

Yes, in an organic garden, where chemicals are not used, weeds will still inevitably pop up. But a little casual weeding is usually enough to allow you to stay on top of the problem.