What Rome Did To Carthage

I’ve a gravel bed down the side of the house that is always threatening to overgrow with weeds and grass. I’m sick of weeding. Herbicides don’t seem to work. Oh sure, they kill the grass and weeds but – not as advertised – the weeds grow back in other spots. What to do?

Carthago delenda est!”

History to the rescue! At the end of the Third Punic War, the Roman Senate decided they were fed up on knocking Carthage to its knees only to have it get up again and start another war. This time, they pulled down all the buildings “so that no stone sat a-top another” and “ploughed the fields with salt” which prevented anything growing there for generations.

I salted the ground. That is, I went to the store and picked up a 4kg bag of pool salt (see footnote #1). I spread it over the gravel bed and watered it in well. Within 24 hours, the weeds and grass were looking rather ill – much quicker than the commercial herbicides I had been using.

I’ll wait to see how long the weeds stay away this time but I’m quietly confident (see footnote #2). When it comes to destruction, the Romans sure knew their stuff.


Footnote #1: The store was out of whatever it is that’s marketed as “pool salt” so I picked the next best thing I could find. I knew I needed lots of sodium or calcium in some form of chloride salt. Calcium Hypochlorite sounded great! Only after we were assaulted by the smell did Kathi inform me that I’d salted the ground with bleach.

Footnote #2: Damn me but it works! It’s been almost two months with a reasonable amount of rain. Normally, I’d be pulling out grass, weeds and my hair at this stage but it’s dead, dead, dead. Bwahahahaha!