Weeds Don't Grow Up from the Bottom, They Settle In from the Top

In my many years as a landscaper, I've often encountered misconceptions about weeds in paving joints. A common one is the belief that weeds grow up through these joints, but in reality, they settle in from the top.

The True Source of Weeds in Paving Joints

  1. Seeds from Above: Weeds begin as seeds that wind or animals carry to the surface of paving stones. These seeds then migrate into the small gaps or joints between the pavers.
  2. Accumulation of Debris: Over time, dirt and organic debris collect in these joints, creating a fertile environment that encourages weed seeds to germinate and grow.
  3. Ideal Conditions for Growth: The combination of sunlight, water, and nutrients found in these accumulated materials provides the perfect conditions for weeds to thrive.

Dispelling the Myth

Contrary to popular belief, weeds don't typically grow from beneath the pavers. The base under pavers is usually too compacted and lacking in organic material to support weed growth. Weeds are opportunistic, flourishing in the less dense, nutrient-rich environment of the paver joints.

Role of Polymeric Sand in Weed Prevention

One effective way to combat weed growth is by using polymeric sand. This sand hardens between in the joints. This means that soil cannot later mix with it, which means that nothing can grow. Instead, you can easily just wash the patio with a hose, pressure washer or brush, removing all the dirt but leaving the hardened sand.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance

  1. Proper Installation: A well-prepared base and the correct application of polymeric sand can greatly reduce weed growth.
  2. Regular Cleaning: Keep the surface clear of organic debris to minimize the chances of weed establishment.
  3. Herbicides: If needed, use herbicides carefully, or opt for more environmentally friendly methods like boiling water or vinegar solutions. With a well-made patio with polymeric sand, you will not need to do this.


Understanding the real mechanism behind weed growth in paving joints is key to their effective management. The use of polymeric sand is a particularly effective method, providing a long-term solution to this common problem. Regular maintenance and preventive measures are equally important to ensure that your paved surfaces remain aesthetically pleasing and free of unwanted weeds.

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