How to kill moss on tarmac driveways

Treating your driveway with chemical solutions, using washing powder, or removing sunlight blockers can be ways of killing or preventing moss on tarmac driveways.

Tarmac has been a popular choice of material for driveways for many years. The installation cost is often competitive compared to other materials, which makes tarmac an appealing choice.

However, that’s not to say the material doesn’t come with some drawbacks – one of the most significant being moss growth. While it might look aesthetically pleasing and provide a great surface to park vehicles; tarmac can also be a hotspot for moss, lichen and algae to fester and grow. As an owner of a private tarmac driveway, you might be all too familiar with this problem. But what you might not know is how to effectively counter it.

Why does moss grow on tarmac?

Since it has a rough, mottled surface, tarmac tends to retain and gather moisture very easily. This high level of water retention combined with an uneven surface provides the perfect environment for moss to grow and thrive. You might wonder how your car’s tyres don’t squash and kill the moss. But that’s where the uneven surface of tarmac really helps moss to flourish, as the moss remains in the pits caused by the surface.

Is it easy to kill moss on tarmac?

No one wants moss on their driveway for two main reasons:

  •       It’s ugly – if you spend time making your house look nice, both on the inside and the outside, moss growing on your driveway can be an annoying way of spoiling the aesthetics
  •       It can be dangerous – especially when it rains, as moss can become extremely slippery. You don’t want the risk of slipping and hurting yourself, or visiting friends and family members, every time you walk on your tarmac driveway.

The good news is, there are a few techniques for killing moss on your driveway – all of which you can do yourself.

How to prepare your tarmac driveway for killing moss

Clear the surface

Before you start treating your driveway with moss killing products, you should use a brush to remove any dirt or loose areas of growth beforehand.

The brush will come in handy for the future, when the moss could grow back, as well as an array of other outdoor or indoor tasks.

Destroy any weeds

As well as dirt and loose areas of growth, you should get rid of any weeds that have crept up through the surface level of your driveway or your driveway or lurk around the edges. You may experience this problem if your drive is close to lawns, flower beds, trees, bushes, and other large shrubs.

Ideally you should use a weedkiller to treat this problem.

 It’s crucial to note that this won’t treat moss, in the same way that moss killer won’t get rid of weeds. So please resist the temptation to leave the weed killer on your drive and hope it will kill the moss, too. You’re about to discover three straightforward techniques for effectively treating moss on your tarmac driveway.

Remove sunlight blockers if possible

This might not be easily doable. For example, you might have trees (or they could belong to your neighbour) overhanging your driveway and acting as a sun blocker. Why is it best allow as much sun as possible on your tarmac driveway? Because the more sunlight you can get on the surface, the less moisture there’s likely to be. You’ve already discovered that moss thrives and grows off the moisture found in the nooks and crannies that naturally form on tarmac driveways. So allowing more sunlight onto the area increases the chances of successful treatment, both now and in the future.

Options for killing moss on tarmac

You have a number of treatment options for killing moss on your tarmac driveway. You can choose one depending on your aim – do you purely want to destroy and get rid of the mass, or do you want to clean your tarmac simultaneously?

Option 1 – Kill the moss with a combination of cleaning followed by moss killer treatment

After you’ve effective cleared your tarmac driveway surface with a brush, apply your chosen moss treatment to the area. The application may differ depending on the type you’ve chosen. You may have to pour or spray the product. Once this is done, leave the product on for between 15 and 30 minutes.

Now you need to rinse the product away. You can do this with a hosepipe or a power washer, such as Kershar. You can also use a brush to ensure the product is thoroughly washed away. It’s important to note that if you do use a power washer, try and use it on a gentle setting. If it’s applied to vigorously, the pressurised blast could damage your driveway.

The product should wash away both the moss and any excess dirt, leaving you with a clean, moss-free tarmac driveway. However, it’s worth attempting repeated application, as moss roots are remarkably invasive. They can even cause damage to tarmac driveways, especially in the frosty winter months.

So if you’re carrying this treatment method out in the summer, it might be worth doing several times to save yourself too much hassle in the colder months ahead.

Option 2 - Kill the moss and prevent regrowth without having to clean

If you don’t want to use a power washer or hose on your driveway, another options is to spray the area with BATICLEAN CR. Before you spray, you still need to try and brush away any excess dirt or loose moss away with a hard-bristled brush. Some people choose to use a hoe, but there are a couple of potential problems with this. The obvious one is that the hoe may damage your driveway, and the other is that the moss might not be thick enough for you to get it up efficiently and could leave more of an unsightly mess. The hoe could also spread the spores and therefore spread the moss growth.

Another important thing to note before you treat your tarmac driveway’s moss invasion with BATICLEAN CR is you should do it on a dry day, with no rain forecast for the next couple of days. As you’re already of aware of by now, the rain will affect the treatment process as moisture inhibits and encourages moss growth. If this happens, it could be a case of taking two steps forward and three steps back!

You’ve brushed the driveway’s surface and checked to ensure the weather is going to be dry; now it’s time to apply BATICLEAN CR with a simple spray over the moss infested area. The treatment should take immediate effect and the moss should die over the next two to three days.

Option 3 – Use washing powder

A handy, little known trick for getting rid of moss on tarmac is to use washing powder. It’s a little known technique that uses a common household item, the same stuff you use to wash your clothes, to treat tarmac on your drive.

It’s better to get the biological type, and all you have to do is sprinkle it lightly over the surface of the moss. You can pour it straight from the box or packet, or you can use a large teaspoon to sprinkle the powder over the patches of moss you’re striving to get rid of.

It might look like Christmas come early with the snowy powder covering your driveway, but all you have to do to get rid of it is…nothing! That’s because the rain will naturally take care of things. So maybe pick a week where a rainy couple of days is forecast, just so you know you have a good chance of washing the moss off your tarmac driveway. The rain will wash away the powder, leaving a patch of dead moss. The size of the patch will depend on how big your moss problem is, but the moss should be dead. You can double check this by inspecting its colour, as dead moss is brown, not green.

To get rid of the moss from your tarmac, get a hard-bristled brush and simply sweep the dead moss away, or into a pile which you can clear with a dustpan and brush.

How to maintain your tarmac driveway for the future

There are a number or things you can do maintain your tarmac driveway for the future, as well as prevent moss from coming back.

However, moss is a tricky customer, and it can be difficult to completely vanquish. Yet with a little bit of effort using some of the techniques mentioned in this article, there’s no reason you can’t have an aesthetically pleasing, hazardless driveway for most of the year.

How to maintain your tarmac driveway for the future

There are a number or things you can do maintain your tarmac driveway for the future, as well as prevent moss from coming back.

However, moss is a tricky customer, and it can be difficult to completely vanquish. Yet with a little bit of effort using some of the techniques mentioned in this article, there’s no reason you can’t have an aesthetically pleasing, hazardless driveway for most of the year.

Continue regular treatments

Even if you can’t see a great deal of moss on your driveway, it might still be worth treating your drive every couple of months. Growth might be taking shape in those nooks and crannies you can’t properly see. You can treat your tarmac driveway without having to wash it with BATICLEAN CR or you can use powder or product, combined with a thorough hose or gentle power washer blast, to keep that moss at bay.

Brush your driveway

If you’ve purchased a decent, hard-bristled brush, or already own one, don’t just set it aside after one use. Take the advantage of a fine, dry day to give your tarmac driveway a quick brush. Regular brushing will fight against moss regrowth and help to keep it at bay. The moss may ultimately come back, but regular brushes can significantly reduce the chances or time between regrowth.

Try and encourage sunlight

Obviously, there are a lot of external factors that influence how much sunlight your driveway receives, as you discovered earlier in this article. But it really does pay to get rid of any large shrubs or trees that prevents the sun from reaching your tarmac driveway’s surface. Sunlight will dry water which is a big inhibitor for moss growth. If this isn’t possible, and you’re getting quite bad moss growth, particularly in the winter months where rain and moisture is more prevalent, you can look to cover your driveway with a tarpaulin, weighting it down with plant pots or stones. If you have a garage, you could park your car in there instead, or on the pavement outside if possible.