Real Gardens

I Have a Caulking Gun, and I’m Not Afraid to Use It.

I live in a neighborhood that has pretty relaxed standards about landscaping and upkeep.  And personally, I'm charmed by flowers that find their way into cracks in the concrete and bloom there.  It's a metaphor for–something, right?  Urban beauty?  Bloom where you're planted?  Grace in the face of adversity?

Whatever.  Even I think this is a bit much.

Sidewalk crack

This is a common state of affairs in my neighborhood–this particular scene is just a few doors down from me.

Now, my sidewalk isn't this bad, but I do get plenty of weeds between the cracks.  I get out there a few times a year and go after them with the typical organic gardener's tools–boiling water, vinegar, little sharp tools.  It worked okay.

And then my neighbor introduced me to this bad boy.

Caulking gun 

That's right.  A caulking gun loaded with concrete and mortar filler.  It's quick, it's easy, it's cheap–and more or less permanent.  I waited a full year before following my neighbor's example so that I could be sure this stuff would hold through the winter.

And it did.  This is very easy to do once you've dug out the weeds.  Just load the gun and go.  The filler looks bright and lumpy when you first put it down (although my technique got better as I went on), but once it dries a little, you can push it down and level it out. 

This shows the before, during, and after stage of my recent sidewalk project. Not bad, eh? Somebody should put this stuff in the weed killer section of the garden center.

Sidewalk crack2

Posted by on November 10, 2010 at 5:26 am, in the category Real Gardens.
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15 Responses to “I Have a Caulking Gun, and I’m Not Afraid to Use It.”

  1. Kathy O says:

    Thanks for the idea. I can put away the bottles of Roundup!

  2. Michele Owens says:

    Wow! I struggle with this problem, too.

  3. Laura Bell says:

    Genius ! I’ve got my Saturday morning planned out now.

  4. Tibs says:

    But but but, aren’t those joints there for a reason? Expansion of the concrete in cold/hot weather? Concrete and morter filler? Is this a pre-mixed stuff? Or do you mix it yourself? If this truely works I am estactic. And you are in Rochester right? Lots of freeze-thaw cycles like I have? And do you know what is even better? I can get the husband to do this! It involves a tool! A caulking gun.

  5. Kat White says:

    Awesome tip. I’m picking some up today.

  6. Aunt Ida says:

    My first thought was: But that would keep the rain water from soaking back into the earth. My second thought was: That rain soaking in between the joints, then freezing and thawing, is probably why our driveway is so badly cracked leaving even more areas for weeds to grow through. I’ll give this a try. Husband strategy: I start the job, he sees how much fun I’m having with a man-tool, he takes over and finishes. (This strategy doesn’t work with girl tools like a sewing machine.) Thanks to you and your neighbor for a great idea.

  7. Ray Eckhart says:

    There are some professional landscaping products that are designed to do the same thing. Here’s some information:

    http://blog.pennlive.com/gardening/2010/09/weeds_in_the_paver_cracks_1.html

  8. meemsnyc says:

    I don’t have a sidewalk, but my driveway has cracks and weeds grow in the cracks. I used Eco-smart products and worked like a charm.
    http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2010/10/organic-weed-killer-and-fungicide.html

  9. Jo says:

    Sorry. I’d rather have green living anything than plastic, non-porous glop.

  10. lifeshighway says:

    Brilliant! But aren’t some of those cracks placed there for expansion and contraction during the changing of the seasons? I wonder if a caulk could be used that is more pliable.

  11. Will this stuff block the bermuda grass roots that I can’t pry out before caulking? If so you may be my new hero :-)

  12. cymrywitch says:

    this sounds like a great idea for my brick edged concrete steps. thanks:)

  13. Evidently superior to my spraying of glysophate attacks, what you amateurs call Roundup.

    Every six months….

  14. Paula Refi says:

    I wonder if caulking cracks is really a “green” solution to this vexing problem. Ann Lovejoy, in her book “Organic Garden Design School,” endorses the propane weed torch as a remedy for weeds growing in paving and gravel. I have used one for years to control weeds in my gravel paths. I prefer it to glyphosate.

  15. Dee says:

    ooohhh.. a torch! That sounds like fun.

    Man-pee will kill grass between the cracks too, if you can find a volunteer…

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