Regardless of how well-constructed your patio may be; it will eventually become vulnerable to invasion by weeds. Weeds grow in the seams between patio blocks and paving slabs, causing the grout to crumble and inflicting more and more damage as they spread. Whilst you'll need to ask a good patio builder to repair severe damage to your patio, you can take steps to control weeds yourself. Read on to find out more.
Where do weeds come from?
Weeds grow wherever there is a small amount of soil or sand to provide a foothold for their shallow roots. Vigorous plants, such as dandelions and Japanese knotweed, can grow deep down through mortar and grouting in search of soil and water underneath the patio, causing considerable damage as they do so.
Wind-blown soil particles eventually accumulate between your patio slabs where they provide a perfect environment for weeds.
The first step in preventing weeds is to make sure that you keep your patio clean and tidy. Sweep your patio weekly with a stiff brush to get rid of any loose soil and plant seeds, paying particular attention to the seams between the paving stones.
If you like to have potted plants on your patio, never carry out routine re-potting in situ. Remove the pots and compost from the patio, or shield the patio seams with newspaper so that you don't accidentally deposit any growing medium in the grout.
Once a month, use a mild solution of washing-up liquid and water to wash down your patio. This should help to shift any residual dirt and seeds. Spray the seams with a solution of household bleach and water to kill off any remaining seeds and seedlings.
If you have problems with persistent re-growth of deep-rooted weeds, you might want to consider having your patio treated with a sealant. Sealant will inhibit the regrowth of weeds, although you will still need to keep your patio clean and free from detritus.
Dealing with existing weeds
Most weeds are shallow-rooted, meaning that you can simply pull them out. Grass, dandelions and more deeply-rooted varieties of weeds will need to be prised out using a blunt knife. Removing weeds often pulls out some of the sand too, and you'll need to replace it quickly so that your paving stones don't become unstable.
If you snap a weed's root accidentally and leave some of it behind, give the exposed end a good dose with weedkiller to make sure it doesn't survive and simply re-grow.
Weeds can cause considerable damage to your patio, but you can keep them under control by following the guidelines laid out above. If your patio needs re-grouting or sealing, ask a good firm of patio builders for more information and advice.