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gravel overgrown with weeds - HELP!!

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  • gravel overgrown with weeds - HELP!!

    Hello. I apologize if this listed already, I didn't see it and I don't have a whole lot of time to search.

    We're starting a landscape business in Arizona and we're not terribly familiar with the desert landscaping - they use decorative gravel instead of grass in most cases. We're finding that most people have backyards that are completely overgrown with weeds (sometimes waist high) and the yards are sometimes 100% gravel, not even a patch of grass. I myself am feeling a little overwhelmed. This can take anywhere from 8 hours of work and sometimes even 2 days depending on the size of the lot. Does anybody have any tips? I'm looking for the most efficient use of our time and resources and tips on how to charge for this. We want to be sure to not charge ourselves out of the running but be FAIRLY compensated for the hard work in this heat (sometimes 110 degrees). We've found that we severely underbid for a few jobs so far.

    I know in the rest of the country there can be gravel driveways so please apply the same logic if you don't live in the southwest. You'd be helping me so much!!!

    Thanks in advance!!

  • #2
    To keep weeds out of decorative gravels... We typically pull the large growth weeds as well as spray the area with roundup pro.

    In some cases on first time cleanups, I will weedeat the overtaken gravel, blow the trimmings into a pile and bag for removal. Then spray with roundup, let it set in for a day or two. Return visit, and rake/blow out the remaining dead clumps of weeds.

    Has always proven to work well, its not an immediate effect, there is the time delay, but all of my customers have been happier in the long run as the weeds almost never come back.

    Hope this helps?


    • #3
      I would think the combination of sun and dryness would make round up work even faster. You might see results in a day.


      • #4
        gasoline and a match! hahahahahahaha just kidding


        • #5
          This MIGHT work!!!



          • #6
            I work in a similar climate. Not quite as hot or dry. Gravel is popular here too.

            I agree with CheapNEasy on the procedure.

            The heat and dryness can work against your herbicide. The ground temp is probably very hot. Read instructions about spraying temps. Try spraying just before sundown when possible.

            The plastic barrier under the gravel is damaged where weeds have grown. Be prepared with some plastic/fabric barrier. Move the rocks and cover the big holes or weeds will return quickly.

            Some weeds are desert plants and hard to kill. They might take higher concentrations or repeat applications.

            Desired plants near gravel are trouble since they drop leaves on it and might be too close for some herbicides. Oleanders and pine needles are hard to clean from gravel. Teamwork can help there. One guy moves the gravel around with a rake while another one blows that area at the same time.

            You can move most gravel from the sidewalks back into the yard with a blower. This is fast.

            Use the top of a heavy rake (tines up) to flatten gravel when there are ruts or foot prints. I might try dragging a piece of plywood around on big areas.

            Grass, especially Bermuda which is popular in hot places, grows roots under the barrier. Maybe it is seeking condensation moisture from the ground there. It is hard to get out of gravel.

            I'm thinking about trying pre-emergent herbicides on a gravel yard.
            Last edited by Jack Rabbit; 06-10-2012, 06:49 PM.


            • #7
              avoid the HIGHLY toxic chemicals of roundup, start weeding with salt & 20 or higher vinegar for weeds.

              WATCH and CARE about your clients & their communities.


              • #8
                Thank you so much for the serious tips and the humor. I really appreciate the support given on this forum.


                • #9
                  tons of money

                  i use to live in phoenix(Peoria 82 ave.) thats where i learned my landscaping skills, u can make tons of money in getting a chemical or spraying license, and advertize for it, most of the guys in there use pre-emergent after a weed treatment application, men i miss the xeroscaping of AZ.

                  or u can spread new gravel fallowing procedures of zero-escaping. go to the desert botanical garden, they have programs for cheap, so u can get use to desert landscape and get certify, rich people love i mean love to hire trainees from the garden, once u get it, its gorgeous and very profitable.

                  dripping systems for the plants they need maintenance very often.

                  i use to work for the ex director of this place, he will train us,every week pain in the a.... it was really worth it at the end.

                  he will get clients from scottdale, pinnecle peak, up there by the fountain i forgot the name, last job i work for this guy, he charge if i can remeber 1 1/4 mill for a landscape job for some famous music producer, i still have spines from the darn saguaros i was in a desert and we where planting saguaros .


                  • #10
                    Thank you so much grass doctor! I didn't know that option existed. My husband had a pretty gnarly cactus take hold of his leg. He had to remove the thorns with pliers!! That whole area on his leg was bright purple once he was done! Good luck with those Saguaro needles!


                    • #11
                      your very welcome.

                      you are very welcome, its nice to see a couple working together, yes thats the way i use to take them out too dont worry about them they always come out after months by them self, chollas, prickly pear, yellow barells i love this stuff


                      • #12
                        We've found that we severely underbid for a few jobs so far.
                        With such jobs so far, why do you feel you have been underbidding them? What about the job did you find tough to bid on?

                        On these jobs, how much time have you found different between what you thought it would take and what it actually took?

                        Now that you know what you know, how will you be doing it differently?
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