Weed management for hard surfaces

Are weeds affecting the visual appeal of your property? The proliferation of weed overgrowth introduces various concerns, including an unsightly appearance on hard surfaces, creating an unkempt atmosphere.

Weeds exploit cracks and joints, causing potential damage and costly repairs, particularly on paved areas. Additionally, weed presence can lead to slippery surfaces, posing safety risks, especially in wet conditions.

Managing these challenges demands continuous maintenance, with regular removal and treatment essential to prevent unchecked growth. Fortunately, Kersten UK provides professional-grade solutions such as

1. Mechanical weed management

2. Thermal weed management

3. Weed prevention

Explore our range for enhanced property aesthetics and safety.


Mechanical weed management

Removing weeds from hard surfaces using mechanical solutions such as weed brushes and gravel path renovators.


Thermal weed management

Using thermal solutions such as hot air and water devices to control weed growth.


Weed prevention

Solutions for preventing weeds growing so you don't have to kill them.

Frequently asked questions

Managing weeds in public spaces through chemical-free ground maintenance involves using mechanical and thermal machines. Mechanical machines such as weed brushes and sweepers could remove large amounts of soil and vegetation from hard surfaces. Removing soil from unwanted surfaces could reduce the growth of, moss, and weeds, keeping the landscape clean and easy to manage. Thermal devices such as hot water, hot air, and electrocution machines kill the plants with heat, which stops photosynthesis. Hence, the plants would stop growing and die naturally.

We would recommend an Integrated approach, which you can read about here; https://kerstenuk.com/integrated-weed-management-for-amenity

It depends a lot on the size of the site you are looking after and what aspects you take into account. Chemicals have a lot of hidden costs that are often not discussed, such as the cost of certifications, storage, joining the OCR register, keeping stock up to date, PPE, equipment. Then there are the costs associated with removing chemicals from our drinking water, etc that are not directly associated with the application.

The labour and capital expenditure linked to Mechanical and Thermal weed management is often not as high as people imagine, especially after the first year. Once the existing soil build up is removed, ongoing maintenance becomes far quicker and far fewer reactive treatments are needed. This is because it typically reduces the weed burden.

Then there are things like the savings over time associated with mechanical weed removal, because brushing extends the life of the surfaces, meaning they won’t need replacing of fixing so frequently.

The best time to control weeds without chemicals depends on the tool you are using. Mechanical devices are best used in the winter when vegetation is at a minimum and allows us to minimize the potential seed bed in the coming season.

Thermal products are best used when the plant is as small as possible, usually this means early in the growing season. Thermal products work on germinating seeds all the way up to fully established plants, but the smaller and less established the plant is, the less energy it will take to kill, speeding up the application time.

Mechanical weed management is generally much faster than traditional methods, depending on factors like equipment efficiency and the scale of the operation. It offers quicker and more efficient weed control in various settings. Weed brushes will also give a much cleaner finish than you can achieve by hand, resulting in much more time between treatments.

In the worst conditions, our UBS and Weedbrush can still clear at least half a kilometre in a day with one operator, and when going well several kilometres can be cleared in a day. I challenge you to clear anywhere near that much overgrown path edge with one person in a day by hand. Not only that, due to the low vibrations and the ergonomic design, the operator of the machine will be much less tired after the day’s work.

To reliably control weeds along pathways and walkways without chemicals, utilise precision mechanical tools, like weedbrushes, for targeted and efficient weed removal without causing harm to hardscapes. We can remove several inches of encroachment at a time with a weedbrush.

A nicer finish can be achieved with our newly developed edging disc accessory for the tractor mounted and ubs versions of the weedbrush. Leaving a clean line on the edge of the path.

Spot treatment of weeds can then be done with hot air or hot water.

Read more about Path edging here; https://kerstenuk.com/blog/Chemical%20Free%20Weed%20Control/the-kersten-ubs-a-perfect-partner-for-path-edging

Hot water will penetrate the soil, which acts as a great insulator - keeping the water good and hot. This allows the water to heat the roots of the plants effectively cooking them. Hot air will not penetrate the soil, so has less effect on root systems.

However, this does not mean that hot air is ineffective. It works very well on annuals and mosses. We encourage people to remove the soil on hard surfaces, which will typically change the types of weeds which emerge. This will mean you are dealing with fewer perennials and woody plants and more often encountering just annuals and mosses, which hot air is very effective at killing.

You can also aid the efficacy of thermal treatments by carrying them out as early in the plant life cycle as possible. They can also be used as a preventative tool, by sterilising the seeds near the surface of the soil.

Hot air is a very effective tool for treating many weeds in a golf course scenario. A big problem we are often asked to eliminate is the use of chemicals in bunkers, due to the walking of chemicals over the nearby grass and other situations where drift is an issue.

With thermal methods, you can be much more targeted and leave no residues, therefore they are very suitable for applications on a golf course. Many courses have purchased our Ripagreen kits to solve this specific problem.

Non-chemical methods for cemetery maintenance include mechanical tools like gravel path renovators, hot water and hot air thermal devices and sometimes weed brushes for the hard surfaces. Cemetries often require tools that can reach narrow sites between graves, making hot air or hot water ideal when it is applied with a lance.

You can read a blog about treating cemeteries with the Ripagreen here; https://kerstenuk.com/blog/Chemical%20Free%20Weed%20Control/weeding-in-cemeteries

In noise-sensitive areas, thermal weed machines, especially hot water machines such as Eco Weedkiller which are nearly silent in operation. Using those devices could minimise disturbance while maintaining a weed-free environment in those areas. The Eco Weedkiller SP Series uses electricity to heat the water, which means there is no engine running when the machine is in use.

We also offer battery powered two wheel tractors, which greatly reduce the noise associated with weed brushing and sweeping. Electrifying your fleet can come with many other benefits too, such as reduced hand arm vibrations and cheaper running costs.

You can read more about the benefits of these electrified machines here; https://kerstenuk.com/blog/general-kersten-news/electrifying-your-grounds-maintenance-equipment-fleet

Using a gravel renovator helps control weeds in outdoor spaces with gravel surfaces by the renovators’ cutting knives. The gravel renovators cut under weed roots, uprooting them with ease. Simultaneously, it lifts gravel stones back to the surface, enhancing drainage and overall surface structure.

You can read more about how this works in our blog post here; https://kerstenuk.com/blog/Chemical%20Free%20Weed%20Control/gravel-path-renovation-how-to-remove-weeds-in-grave

Weed brush attachments could be used for path edging, removing build up of soil, and disrupting the growth of weeds. By removing detritus and debris we reduce future opportunities for weed growth and create aesthetically pleasing and well-maintained public spaces without relying on chemical herbicides.

Some of our weedbrushes are designed to bring the material into the path, where it can be collected by a sweeper in a second operation. The Vertical Weedbrush can be used to move material onto the verge, negating the requirement for a second clean up pass.

As well as weed brushes for the edges of paths, we also have full width weedbrushes of 1.3 or 1.5 metres, which can clear open spaces and fully covered paths much more quickly.

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Here are some of our popular products for managing weeds on hard surfaces