Prevent Weeds From Growing Through Rocks

Weeding Made Easy with these Methods

Weeds growing through pebbles

Rocks do have their place in the landscapes and garden areas, with rocks there is that all-natural look that brings with it much appeal that gives the appearance and feels like it was done naturally by nature with no human involvement. I have worked on many garden projects where rocks were brought in, I remembered a project which I did along with my team at our international airport.

What we did was turn a section of a high traffic area into a rock garden, the planning of this rock garden took a lot of effort along with carrying out the actual work but at the end of the day, that area was transformed into a thing of beauty with the rocks giving an all-natural look which brought much WOW.

Management was well pleased with the end results, for those who never saw this area before the transformation would not believe this was an area where weeds grew and collected fallen leaves and other debris. Adding rocks can make such a big difference but what many beginner gardeners face is the challenge of weeding which can be pretty laborious if done by hand and costly when applying weed killer not to mention using these chemicals in the wrong way that can be detrimental to garden plants.

Weeds a BIG Issue

If weeds are allowed to grow out of control this can become a big issue, Weeds will not only take away the beauty from your landscapes and gardens but will also compete with your garden plants for nutrients, sunlight, and water along with encouraging disease while being a hiding place for garden insect pest and rodents as well, therefore it is of utmost importance that we do all that we can to keep these weed issues under control. For more on weeds and their control refer to the category section of this website.

Preventing weeds from growing through rocks

The use of landscaping fabric is a great way to address this problem, landscape fabric is a product that is constructed from woven fabric or a solid sheet that has tiny holes for water absorption. This fabric is very strong and will block weeds, Just a few days ago almost a week now both my team and I worked on a landscape project where we use quite a bit of this fabric along with three-quarter rocks in a garden area where we are doing some upgrades.

How to apply this fabric

This material can be purchased from your garden center, before applying, ensure that the area is graded and leveled because what you want is for this fabric to be as level with the ground as possible which means removing large stones and other debris. Once this is done go ahead and lay the fabric.

If you need help then, by all means, get help, once the fabric has been laid go ahead and use clips at the corners and edges to hold the fabric in place or a few stones will do while you cut holes in the fabric to install your plants. The holes that are cut in the fabric should be large enough for the size of your plant’s root ball.

Once this hole is dug, with a spade shovel remove the soil. The hole should be deep enough for your plants to sit comfortably, don’t plant too deep, the top of the plant’s root ball should be leveled with the soil’s surface. Place the plant in the hole and replace the soil or add that good garden soil.

Ensure that the plant is erected before firming the soil around the root ball, follow this pattern until all of your garden plants are installed. A word of caution here as you cut holes in the fabric to install your plants give a proper spacing of holes so plants can have room to grow and for proper air circulation. Once all of your plants are installed and you are pleased with the results add your rocks

Can weeds pop up through this fabric?

The interesting thing that I have discovered over the years is that after a while or over a period of time some weeds will popup reason being the mat may be torn, weeds seeds may be carried under the feet of animals and humans and as they pass over this area it may be dislodged and with the help of light and moisture coming in contact will germinate, bird droppings in these areas containing seeds will germinate also.

My experience

From my experience I have seen the toughness of weeds, weeds grow just about anywhere, in fact, I have seen weeds growing through asphalt. Just during the earlier part of the morning, I spotted weeds growing up through concrete pavement and asphalt so weeds are pretty tough and can do so much damage.

Other alternatives

Here are a few ways to eliminate weeds

  • Hand Weeding
  • Applying Chemicals
  • Solarization

Hand Weeding

The number of weeds that may appear even though your landscape fabric is down is far less than if no fabric was laid down, so adding fabric will make your job easier this fabric is a good investment. But the few weeds that may pop up can always be weeded by hand which requires very little effort.

Applying Chemicals


The use of chemicals applied to the rock’s surfaces to eliminate weeds can also make it easier. Ensure however not to get the chemical on your garden plants hold the spray nozzle in a downward position and squeeze the trigger gently. Under windy conditions avoid spraying which will cause weed killer to drift to other plants. Before applying chemicals read and follow the manufacture’s label.


Solarization is the process of using landscape plastic to eliminate weeds. For more on this tried and proven method follow this link. Soil solarization.

Other approaches to eliminate weeds

1. If you prefer a safer approach then a mixture of water and salt-sprayed or poured on weeds will eliminate them.

2. Another method to remove weeds is to apply water directly on them to soften the soil and then pull weeds.

3. Pouring vinegar on weeds will kill them.

4. Pouring boiling water on them will work.

5. I have heard of someone pouring bleach on them to weaken them and then after a few days remove them by hand.

6. The use of organic herbicides is effective.

7. Placing a mat or rug over them will block the sunlight causing them to die.

8. The use of garden mulch will hold weeds down for a while, a 3-inch layer will work.

9. Cultivating the soil in a garden bed by lightly tilling will get rid of weeds.

10.W-D 40 has been suggested to eliminate weeds.

11. Even though this one is not so popular but pouring gasoline on weeds will dispose of them just be careful not to use this method when the weather is extremely hot.

12. The proper timing of using chemicals based on weed type will eliminate them.

Additional information on weeds

What other factors encourage weeds

1. Although garden plants need space to grow and for proper air circulation too much spacing especially if the plant is a slow grower will encourage weeds.

2. Overwatering will encourage weeds.

3. Applying too much fertilizer will not only cause plant injury but will also encourage weeds.

4. Popping the heads of weeds without removing the roots can cause a quick regrowth of weeds.

5. The quality of your soil will encourage weeds especially if its a soil that is of poor quality.

6. Compacted soils will encourage weeds.

7. Areas in your lawn that are thining will encourage weeds.

8. Areas that are heavily shaded will encourage weed germination.

9. Bright sunny locations will cause weeds to pop up.

10. When weeding the turning of the soil will bring weed seeds to the surface.

The final word

Weeds can become a nuisance and laborious but putting these methods in place will help you to win the war on weeds especially when they are growing up through your well-designed rock beds don’t despair but jump into action and winning the war on weeds.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

8 thoughts on “Prevent Weeds From Growing Through Rocks”

  1. Hi, I have a lot of issues with weeds growing in my walkway, it is an endless chore. Is there a way to remove them but without causing to much stress on the environment, I mean pouring bleach on them just does not seem very environmentally friendly but I also do not have to continue to pull them every week or so.

    I like the idea of pouring boiling water on them but it does feel like they would still come back from this.

    • Weeds are can be a major issue but we can still bring them under control, if there are no other plants that are close by then I would use a herbicide which will keep weeds down longer but seeing that we are going into the winter months this time of year should slow them down from growing but I would still give boiling water a try. Please let me know how it goes.

  2. Thanks for this great article about how to remove weeds from our rocks, about a few months back I had some weeds growing through my rock beds, I was baffled on what to do to them then I thought of spraying them chemicals but it’s affecting some other useful plants I have planted in the garden so I would like to use the landscaping fabrics this time for better results thanks so much for this post 

    • The landscape fabric will reduce the number of weeds that germinates. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. All the best to you and have a good day.

  3. First of all thank you so much for giving us all such an article, Because I also have a garden of my own. I love gardening a lot and this is my hobby. But I never got an article that I received from you. There are a lot of weeds in my garden. I learned from your article how to prevent these weeds. I thank you again for that

  4. Hello Norman!

    Preventing weeds from growing is important for keeping gardens safe. Hand weeding is the most accessible way, though it may take a lot of time and sometimes people need gloves and pretty much force in their hands to take them off. From my experience I needed gloves for taking weeds off the grave of my grandparents.

    Taking care of weed spreading is a necessary and recurrent work and thus it needs to be efficient.

    Thanks for giving us an extended list of solutions for eliminating these parasite plants from soils!

    Best regards,


    • Hello Peter and thanks so much for sharing, weeds can become a real issue but by taking control of them by implementing methods which are effective will get the job done. All the best to you and have a good day.


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