Expansive Weeds & Many Small Trees Shooting up between Pavers and Stones


Hi there,

I thought I had attached an image with my question last time, but I guess it didn’t go through. I’m just resending it with the image again. Thank you so much!

1. On the side of my house that is south facing, there are many little trees that are sprouting between the pavers and on stones. My husband cut them down last year, but they just branch off and regrow again. This year, I pulled out what I could and cut down what I couldn’t pull up. If I keep cutting it down year after year will it eventually die? I have young kids so I’m hoping for a more natural and safe solution. I have heard mixed things about using vinegar, salt, and boiling water. I don’t plan on planting anything in this area since it is the side of my house. So as long as the solution works and is child-safe, I am happy with it. I know the best option would be the remove all the stones, dig-out the area, but I am hoping for a less labour intensive option.

2. I am not sure what plant/weed this is, but it has overtaken a large portion of our yard. The parent plant seems to be a hardwood and from that plant it sends branches/shoots all across the yard. So when I try to pull up one plant/shoot, I find that the roots are actually connected across the yard to many different shoots eventually leading back to a main hardwood parent. Do you know what type of plant/weed this is? What is the best way to get rid of this one and prevent further spreading?

3. There are some trees growing where our pavers meet the fence. They are too established to pull out. So we have just been chopping them down every year. Will this kill it eventually? What is the easiest way to kill it?


Thanks for sending these photos.  Unfortunately they are not high-resolution enough to allow us to identify the low-growing weeds.  But the previous advice we gave is still applicable: depriving these weeds of their ability to photosynthesize by cutting them off at ground level will eventually cause them to die.  As mentioned earlier, it is important to know what species of weed you have to know what the best individual approach is.  A close-up, clear photo of the foliage, plus a flower if there is one, would be very helpful here.

Likewise, it isn’t possible to say with certainty what the tree is that is growing where the pavers meet the fence, but from your photo it may be an Ailanthus altissima, Tree of Heaven, a prolific self-seeder in Toronto that also spreads aggressively by underground shoots from the parent tree. These trees are considered invasive. They are very fast growers.  There is a telltale unpleasant scent when you cut or pull out the seedlings.  For a positive identification, please do send in a clear photo of the leaves of the parent tree when they have fully emerged.  When the parent tree leafs out, you could compare its leaves with the photos here.  If that is the tree that is in your garden, you may be interested in a previous Toronto Master Gardeners post on how to deal with this invasive species, here.