Best Weed Killer for Gravel Driveways and Paths

It doesn’t take long for weeds to overtake a gravel driveway or path and plucking them all out by hand can be both a labor-intensive and back-breaking endeavor. That’s when weed killer can become your friend.

It can be difficult to decide which herbicidal product to buy when there is seemingly an endless selection to choose from. However, knowing more about the available options can help you make a more informed choice. 

I’ve had cause to test out several weed killers for gravel driveways and paths over the years and as a result, have some solid favorites. In this article, I’ll be explaining some of the vocabulary used when talking about weed killer options and revealing my favorite herbicides to help you make a more informed choice. 

Best Weed Killer for Gravel

If you’re in a hurry and just need to get your hands on the best product for clearing weed from your gravel drive, then here are my top recommendations.

Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed & Grass Killer

Best Organic Weed Killer

Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed & Grass Killer

Dr. Earth is the most reliable organic weed killer I’ve found. Its all-natural ingredients and non-selective formula make it a safe choice for eradicating weeds and unwanted grasses you’re your pathways within as little as a few hours.

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer

Best Synthetic Weed Killer

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer

Roundup is a tried and tested household name when it comes to killing weeds quickly and effectively. This non-selective formula requires no mixing and comes complete with a sprayer nozzle to help you get on with eliminating unwanted weeds and grasses. 

Choosing Weed Killer for Gravel Driveways

There are a variety of weed killer options on the market. Understanding the attributes and uses of each type can help to decide which is best for your weed-killing needs. 

Herbicide Spray Vs Granular Weed Killer

Both pre-emergent (preventive) and post-emergent herbicides come in either a liquid spray or a dry granular form depending on your particular preferences and weed-killing needs. 

Studies at Purdue University show that liquid sprays tend to work better than granular herbicides unless you purchase a type that specifically targets roots. Liquid sprays are typically easier to spread uniformly and can also be used as a spot treatment.

Granular herbicides, however, tend to be easier to apply over larger areas especially if you invest in a broadcast spreader, and tend to require less product volume. Plus, there’s less drift and less blowback if you live in a windy area. 

Organic Vs Synthetic

Organic and synthetic herbicides differ in the types of ingredients they use to kill weeds. While organic herbicides feature natural and non-toxic ingredients.

Synthetic herbicides may include ingredients that can be toxic to humans and pets. Plus, they can have a harmful impact on the environment. This includes negative effects on wildlife and the potential for run-off into local bodies of water and water supplies.

It’s worth noting that all organic herbicides are non-selective, so extra care needs to be taken when applying these herbicides near the edges of pathways that butt up to lawns, borders, and other areas of vegetation that you wish to keep. More about that is below.

Some ingredients common to organic weed killers include:

  • 2-Phenethly propionate
  • 5-7% Acetic acid (vinegar)
  • Ammonium nanonoate
  • Citric acid
  • Corn gluten mill
  • Eugenol
  • Essential oils such as cinnamon, citrus, clove, clove leaf, and lemongrass oil
  • Herbicidal soaps with long-chain fatty acids
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate

Selective or Non Selective Herbicide

Selective herbicides only target weeds or specific types of nuisance grass, whereas non-selective herbicides target anything they touch. 

I prefer using a non-selective herbicide on gravel driveways. After all, the goal is to eliminate everything that’s not gravel.

On the other hand, if you choose a selective rather than a non-selective herbicide for a gravel path, you run the risk of eliminating just some of the unwanted weeds and grass in your gravel without eliminating everything.

If you do choose to use a selective herbicide, make sure you know what weeds you have grown and choose a product that is specifically intended to kill those weeds.

Ready to Use or Concentrate

Ready-to-use weed killer comes ready to spread or spray, whereas weed killer concentrate requires diluting with water before use. 

I personally prefer ready-to-use weed killers because I don’t like mixing concentrate. There’s always the risk of splashing. 

However, buying concentrate can save money. Plus, it’s possible to increase the concentration of your weed killer mixture for weeds that are tougher to kill. 

Best Weed Killer for Gravel Reviews

Throughout the years, I’ve tested numerous weed killers for my gravel driveway and have developed a very short list of favorites. 

The ones that I return to time and again for my gravel drive are ones that work most effectively and offer value for money. I’ll start the list with my favorite organic weed killer and favorite synthetic weed killer and round it out with two others that I also recommend. 

 

Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed & Grass Killer
  • Type: Spray
  • Ingredients: Organic
  • Selectivity: Non-selective
  • Concentration: Ready-to-use

Dr. Earth Final Stop is my favorite organic herbicide. It’s non-selective, post-emergent, and works exceptionally well on foxtail, broadleaf weeds, and crabgrass in my gravel drive. 

I feel safe using Dr. Earth because it only contains OMRI-listed ingredients, which are all essential oils. So, I don’t have to worry about toxicity. The list of active ingredients includes cinnamon oil, citric acid, clove oil, rosemary oil, sesame oil, and thyme oil. It’s both human- and pet-safe when used as directed.

Not all organic herbicides work very well. However, after applying this to my gravel driveway, unwanted greenery starts to die within just a couple of hours. 

This herbicide is available to buy in either a 24-ounce or gallon-sized container depending on the area you have to cover.

Pros

  • Organic – safe to use around children and pets
  • Non-selective
  • Comes in a ready-to-use spray container

Cons

  • The main ingredients are post-emergent, so doesn’t work as a preventative

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer

Best Synthetic Weed Killer

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer
  • Type: Spray
  • Ingredients: Synthetic
  • Selectivity: Non-selective
  • Concentration: Ready-to-use

You really can’t beat Roundup for preventing and getting rid of unwanted weeds and grass in your gravel. Because it contains a pre-emergent herbicide, you can spray the entire driveway as a preventative. However, it also works as a post-emergent too, so you can spot spray when something pops up that you don’t want. You’ll notice visible results in 3 hours.

Roundup’s main ingredients are glyphosate isopropylamine salt, pelargonic acid, and related fatty acids. These ingredients form a non-selective killer that will successfully eradicate most broadleaf grasses and weeds.

This ready-to-use formula contains 170.24 ounces of product. Using the sure-shot wand allows you to put a protective plant shield over a  specific plant you want to kill and avoid accidentally spraying a plant you want to keep. 

This one is safe for children and pets to walk on as soon as the treated area is dry.

Pros

  • Non-selective and ready to use
  • Rainproof within 10 minutes
  • Protective shield to prevent over-spraying

Cons

  • More expensive than comparable products
Ortho GroundClear Super Weed & Grass Killer
  • Type: Spray
  • Ingredients: Synthetic
  • Selectivity: Selective
  • Concentration: Various

Ortho GroundClear works down to the roots, so anything you spray shouldn’t be coming back. You’ll see evidence that it’s working within hours as weeds begin to wilt. Then, they’ll die back within 1-2 weeks.

Ortho GroundClear’s active ingredients are Diquat dibromide, Fluazifop-P butyl,

Dicamba, and Dimethylamine salt. Together, they cover pre-emergent and post-emergent weed and grass needs, so you can use them either before weed seeds germinate or once they emerge. 

Because there is such a broad range of ingredients this product can target up to 175 different types of weeds and unwanted grasses. 

Ortho GroundClear comes in three different ready-to-use versions: with a comfort wand, trigger, or as a refill. You can also purchase it in a super-concentrated version for extra stubborn weeds too.

Pros

  • Kills down to the root
  • Works as a selective pre-emergent and post-emergent
  • Rainproof within 15 minutes of application

Cons

  • May not kill all weeds and grass since it’s selective
RM 18 Fast Acting Weed and Grass Killer Concentrate
  • Type: Spray
  • Ingredients: Synthetic
  • Selectivity: Non-selective
  • Concentration: Concentrate

RM 18 is a fast-acting herbicide that works once it has been soaked into the foliage. I’ve found it highly effective on broadleaf weeds and grass in my gravel driveway and have even used it to remove overgrown brush on gravel paths. 

Everything I spray with RM18 tends to start turning yellow and wilting within 12 hours and is dead in 1-2 weeks. 

One thing that makes me feel good about RM18 is that it deactivates when it reaches the soil, and there are also no re-entry restrictions for people and pets after the spray has dried. Active ingredients are glyphosate, isopropylamine salt, and diquat dibromide.

It comes in a quart, gallon, or 2.5-gallon container and has a dilution rate of 16 ounces per gallon of water.

Pros

  • No residual effects on the soil
  • No re-entry restrictions after drying
  • Concentrate lasts a long time

Cons

  • May need reapplication on stubborn or persistent weeds

Verdict: Best Herbicide for Gravel Areas

The best herbicide for gravel areas really depends on whether your preference is for an organic or synthetic product. 

For organic, my favorite is Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed & Grass Killer. It’s a post-emergent that kills everything it touches within minutes. The extensive list of all-natural essential oils means you’ll never have to worry about any adverse effects on the environment or worry about children or pets wandering into affected areas.

Meanwhile, my favorite synthetic is Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer. Roundup is the standard I use again and again. The great news about this product is you can start using it even before weeds have appeared plus it works as a post-emergent spot treatment that kills everything it touches too. 

Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed & Grass Killer

Best Organic Weed Killer

Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed & Grass Killer

Dr. Earth is the most reliable organic weed killer I’ve found. Its all-natural ingredients and non-selective formula make it a safe choice for eradicating weeds and unwanted grasses you’re your pathways within as little as a few hours.

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer

Best Synthetic Weed Killer

Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer

Roundup is a tried and tested household name when it comes to killing weeds quickly and effectively. This non-selective formula requires no mixing and comes complete with a sprayer nozzle to help you get on with eliminating unwanted weeds and grasses. 

How to Stop Weeds Growing in Gravel

To prevent existing grass and weeds from making their way into your gravel, it’s a good idea to use a weed barrier landscape fabric underneath your gravel.

Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric

Weed barriers prevent grass from growing through gravel or pebbles or indeed your driveway or path. 

If you put it down on top of existing grass and weeds, it prevents light, water, oxygen, and fertilizers from reaching plants so they can’t grow upward into the gravel. Without access to the soil underneath, it’s also more difficult for weed and grass seeds to take root.

When to Use the Best Weed Killer for Gravel

I use post-emergent weed killers as a spot treatment when I find a random weed during active growing seasons. Then, I check back every 10-15 days to spray any newly emerging growth.

Early fall and spring are the best times to distribute pre-emergent spray or granular herbicides onto your gravel. They are only effective for use on seeds that have not yet germinated since the product forms a coating around the seed to prevent it from sprouting. 

For spray weed killers, choose a warm and still day (above 60°F) in bright sunlight. Don’t use weed killer directly before rainfall to avoid it running into storm drains and other water sources.

How to Use the Best Weed Killer for Gravel

For pre-emergent sprays and granules, cover the entire gravel area with herbicide. For post-emergent spot weeding, apply the product only to emerging greenery. Many people use a combination of both types for the best results.

For liquid herbicide, spray the desired target area until thoroughly wet. Spread granular weed killer across your gravel directly from the shaker container, with a hand-held spreader, or with a push or broadcast spreader. 

Avoid contact with eyes, skin, mouth, and clothes, and wash hands with soap and water after use.

The USDA has comprehensive guidelines for re-entry into the area after application. 

Final Thoughts

To prevent weeds and grass in your gravel driveway and paths, start with a weed barrier. Then use a pre-emergent like Roundup Ready-to-Use Weed and Grass Killer to prevent unwanted plants among the gravel. Removing rogue weeds and grass that appear over time is easy with either Dr. Earth Final Stop Organic Weed and Grass Killer or Roundup. Whichever of the best weed killers you choose, you’re sure to get great results.   

FAQs Weed Killer for Gravel Driveways

Here’s a question people often ask.