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Non-Toxic Weed Deterrent - Stop Weeds Growing Between Rocks

by Felicia Williams

Vinegar and water is the weed stopping solution to my rock garden. Rock gardens are beautiful. It’s amazing how just adding a few paving stones, rocks, gravel and flowers can spruce up the appearance of a yard or garden. The trick with the setup is maintaining it. Maintaining the rocks is easy. It doesn’t take much to care for rocks, but the problem is what about the weeds that tend to grow between the rocks? Also, depending on where the garden is situated, there might be a moss problem. Unwanted moss, in essence, is weed growing on rocks.

Rock Garden Weed Prevention

There are all types of weed prevention products you could use while constructing the rock garden. There are various types of heavy-duty weed-blocking fabric that goes beneath the rock garden. In my personal experience, they didn’t work. I’ve used them in a non-rock garden in an attempt to prevent weeds from growing in a flower garden with no luck.


On another occasion, I used the heavy-duty fabric followed by a layer of plastic and then a layer of sand to prevent weeds from growing between the rocks surrounding an above-ground pool. Over time, the weeds began to grow between the rocks. I realized nothing will prevent the weeds from growing between rocks so I decided to forgo the weed blocking fabric. The trick is to minimize the growth and stay on top of things to keep things looking neat and weed-free.

Weed Prevention Maintenance

Once I got over the disappointment of not having a carefree, weed-free rock garden, I decided to approach weed deterrence much differently. Stopping weeds from growing between rocks is possible, but you must be proactive. Using the same care as you do when growing a flower garden is how you must approach weed deterrence. After I changed my mindset, the weeds were no longer a problem; they were just another item to handle in my gardening routine.

Vinegar, Water and a Garden Sprayer

Every few days, after I finish my gardening routine of weeding garden beds, watering flowers and applying a foliar feed of diluted bokashi, I tend to the rocks. Tending to the rocks means I create a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water in a garden sprayer and spraying the rocks. I pay particular attention to areas where I see the green tip of a weed peeking through. Once I treat the “problem area” I then continue spraying the entire rock garden.

In addition to killing the weeds, the vinegar and water solution does much to keep the rocks clean. It prevents moss from growing on the paving stones and keeps the white rocks clean and sparkling.

Tiger Lilly

Because of my schedule, I do my gardening first thing in the morning before the sun is at full strength. However, it is recommended to spray the vinegar at a time when the sun is shining because the sun helps to kill the weeds faster. The sun also helps the smell of the vinegar to dissipate quicker. However, if your schedule prevents mid-day spraying, the vinegar-water solution works whether it’s morning, noon or night.

Organic and Non Toxic

What I particularly like about the vinegar weed killing solution is that it’s organic and non-toxic. At least non-toxic to humans.

Do not spray the solution on flowers or grass that you wish to thrive; it will kill any plant it touches.Once the weeds are dead, you could either handpick the dead remnants and toss them into the compost pile or you can use a garden hose to wash them away. Or, you can leave them and allow nature to do its decomposition thing. On occasion, after spraying the weeds, I sprinkle a dusting of diatomaceous earth on a few of my plants. It helps to keep the plant-eating pests away.

About the Author: Felicia Williams is a wife, mother and grandmother who likes to write about a host of topics.

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Last Modified: 24 March 2020

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