If you have an asphalt driveway, then chances are weeds will pop up in it. Weed infiltration is a common problem even if you take good care of your driveway and have it sealed regularly. If you don't pay attention to, and get rid of, these weeds, then your asphalt could deteriorate. If it breaks down enough, then you may need your asphalt repaved. Here is more information about how weeds manage to grow through asphalt, what to do if you have a problem, and what kinds of damage they do.
How Do Weeds Grow Through Asphalt?
Think of weeds as opportunistic plants. They find any sort of crack or foothold and start growing with a vengeance. The weeds don't actually grow through the asphalt — they aren't that strong. However, they do find and grow through existing cracks. Weeds find their way into those cracks in one or two ways. A weed seed either finds its way into a crack, or it grows its way up from underneath the blacktop.
Why Do Weeds Grow in Asphalt?
You would think white-hot asphalt would be the last place where a plant would want to grow. But it's actually a perfect environment. Asphalt holds in moisture very well and some weeds like the heat. Also, the blacktop protects their roots from insect and animal damage. With little competition, continuous warmth, and adequate moisture, these plants will thrive.
What Are Some Ways to Get Rid of the Weeds?
The old-fashioned, environmentally friendly way to get rid of these weeds is to pull them up by hand. However, that is not always possible as some are able to tightly hold to the asphalt underneath. Some people advocate using chemical weed killer, vinegar, and filling the cracks with corn gluten meal. Be aware that anything you use could wash away with the rains. Therefore, make sure it completely penetrates the cracks with the weeds. Repair the cracks as soon as possible.
How Much Damage Can Weeds Do to Asphalt?
Weeds make cracks and holes in the asphalt worse. Some weeds have strong, extensive root systems that push up against your asphalt. When root systems push up, they leave unsightly bumps and soft spots that could break apart and cause further damage. If you let these root systems form, then you must make sure you kill or remove the entire weed or they could grow back.
All asphalt driveways eventually age and need replacement. If you are losing the battle with weeds, or your blacktop is already broken apart and is damaged, then consider repaving it. Most of the time, you can have a new layer of asphalt laid over the old one without complete replacement. For more information about asphalt paving or repair, contact an asphalt paving company like Arrow Blacktop & Masonry Inc for an assessment.