But now I’m not so sure after reading all this. Since soil is less dense than rock it will naturally reach the surface… Landscape fabric keeps those two from mixing with each other. 4. Have you done side by side studies to quantify the amount of water going through your fabric vs no fabric? I never cover it with mulch. the other lets ALL water and liquid fertilizer thru. I pull them and it seems like they multiply every other day. Once it fills in – virtually no maintenance, drought tolerant, looks nice and no weeds. If you’ve ever had to remove landscape fabric, it’s a mess, and the plants really don’t want to come out of it, and they end up ripping the fabric as you tug on them, at least if they are large. Hi Robert, I recently purchased a garden raised bed. What a waste! Water does tend to run off – but a lot does not run through it. Hi Robert, Some of mine has been working well now for 7 years. PP is a plastic, specifically polypropylene. Don’t let it stop you from gardening and eating from your beds. I am thinking there was no killing of the grass prior to laying a weed barrier or the barrier is not of any quality. It discourages garden-friendly earthworms that need to reach the soil surface to survive. Julian with De La Cruz Landscape Maintenance does an awesome job here in Portland. I would not use it. In the past ive never had any trouble removing weeds. We also have bad termite issues. I was thinking of putting down weed barrier fabric and covering with washed rock. Just use rocks – keep them thicker to reduce weeds. I’m no fan of landscape fabric, but I accept that it can be a useful tool in the garden in a few select circumstances.I go into how to decide whether landscape fabric is a good choice for you in this article, but if you’ve decided to use it, I wanted to provide you with some professional tips and pointers on how to install it professionally.. Add amendments to your soil. Besides are you gonna lay 4″ of mulch underneath your paving stones. I use Roc-Cloth or now Lowe’s carries the same stuff. If you “plan on keeping up with it”, it is much easier to pull plants out of the earth than it is pulling them out of fabric and earth combined. Best thing to do is to cover it with 4 inches of wood chips. Even before reading all the downsides of with this junk, I’ve been (sneaking) ripping much of it out as I work around the yard (please don’t tell him :x). Squirrels and moles are determined large areas must be exposed. Termites are a huge problem and they can live in a moist wood chip pile and then hit your home to do incredible costly damage. Water is pumped through the needle into the soil to insure thorough watering. I had to remove a nightmare of black 3 mil plastic, leaving only bare earth and “tons” of weeds. I agree.Roundup (Glyphosphate).Bindweed can have roots up to 20 feet deep. Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila, 10 Useful Items You Should Keep on Your Nightstand, 9 Crazy Gadgets That Cost More Than Your Mortgage, 8 Best Buys for an Outdoor Kitchen You Can Afford, 16 Landscaping Trends You Can Expect to See This Year, 6 Rock-Solid Reasons to Pick Concrete Flooring. Most gardeners agree that the best place for landscape fabric is around shrubs and trees where it can be installed and topped with quality mulch to hopefully last for years. If you’ve decided to try landscape fabric, the following practices will help ensure the health of your plants and the longevity of your landscape design. Is Tea a Good Fertilizer for Houseplants? I just pulled up the fabric I placed this past spring in the walkways around my raised garden beds. It's a 3.2oz woven poly fabric that lets tons of water and air through. I strongly discourage the use of any landscaping fabric. Does it let water through to the plants? I cuts out most of the weeding from gardening. hello.. LOVE YOUR SITE, VERY EDUCATIONAL HOWEVER i NEED HELP!!! Does it normally take a while for water to go through landscape fabric, or is the stuff we have more like plastic sheeting? So, it’s no difference than standard woven landscape cloth in its performance. While the fabric blocks seeds beneath it from sprouting, new seeds can blow in and—depending on the type of fabric—their roots can adhere tightly to the perforations, making it difficult to pull them out without pulling up the fabric with them. It is by oz sq yard to heavy depending Black on one side and brown on the other. Now I see many thick strands of coarse grass popping through the area that was extended. Landscaping fabric is the worst solution to a weed problem. I would not use it. The first problem starts as soon as landscaping fabric is installed. It does save a bit of time By leaving cloth for some years you would have killed a lot of life in the soil including a lot of the weeds and you could save on weed killer After some research for a Japanese dry garden I found out that what they use are 1/4 inch irregular rock. Thanks. Cost I dont want the same thing to happen I’m wondering if I put down a plastic type trellis to stop the pebbles falling through but to let the soil and other odds and ends fall through whether this would work. It’s impossible to weed once the weed’s roots make their way through and below it. I’ve unfortunately put this landscape fabric down last summer. ... Look at a commercial grade fabric. In zone 5 I recommend Geranium Geranium macrohizum. Prevents weed seeds buried in the soil beneath from sprouting. The fabric is placed on the ground, between plants/crops, forming a barrier that allows air and water to pass through the fabric in order for plants to grow. We have a steep slope with erosion where the bermuda grass never took. A bale goes a long way. Amazing topic. Unfortunately i have to place it on the concrete ground. Would you say I should put down wood chips or newspaper first and then put the layer of rock over this or just put the rock down on it’s own? Weeds have a difficult time poking through as they cannot squirm through the blanketed porous screens. Ok people, so if your going to use it anyway despite being warned, please put rocks on top of it and not mulch. If you can breathe through it, so can the soil.” It’s important to remember that while landscape fabrics go a long way toward controlling weeds, … Worked on over 100 homes with my commercial grade fabric and not 1 complaint. I have a slope in front of my house and had no success at a lawn. About the weed barrier, I do not want to use cardboard (ink, glue). In permanent landscapes, plant roots will grow into and through the landscape fabric. I use garbage bags nothings growing through one of those! compost, manure The soil below the landscape fabric is important, and you don’t want to starve it for air or nutrients for years because this will create an unhealthy environment for any plants you decide to place there. I’m have a outer wall of just installed stones 3 courses high —14inches total height — to hold the topsoil and the plants. You can also apply newspapers and mulch on top. I agree with you. Nitrogen is the one nutrient that moves very quickly in soil. Glyphosate, aka Roundup is extremely safe and will kill the grass. Not only did it NOT prevent weeds from growing, but the runners and weeds got trapped in the fabric, making it impossible for me to manage the four 50 foot rows that I had anticipated would bring much joy and production.. I don’t think any fabric is a good solution for this. Note that virtually all landscape fabric is intended to be covered with mulch of any type—wood chips, gravel, recycled rubber, etc. I thought landscape fabric would be preferable to black plastic, allowing the earthworms and microbes to continue to live in the soil. Eventually, I will go to regenerative gardening, but if I’m going to pull weeds, it will have to be raised beds. I replenish the soil with mulch and natural fertilizer. Thanks for your advice! My son spread perrinal wild flower seeds over my cloth like gray landscape rolls. *phew. My husband bought tons of very heavy duty landscape fabric about 10 years ago. You might change your mind over time as so many others have done. Then built the beds on top. If you’re landscaper used the professional grade material, then you should be fine. I have used tar paper to cover and protect fig trees from New York winters, but I’ve heard tar paper may have unsafe chemical run off that could contaminate the fruit. Three years ago I renovated a garden covered almost entirely in brambles, raspberry canes, bindweed and nettles, with a few stalwart shrubs that had not yet been smothered and killed. The second is spun bond plastic made by spraying extremely fine (finer than hair) on a moving belt several inches thick and then pressed to a thin sheet. I am so glad that I stumbled onto your website while researching weed barrier cloth. The reality is that some rain will go through the holes, but much of it flows over top of the cloth and away from your plants, which remain dry. Thank you for this post, Robert, and good luck with your zenning, Glenn. I would not have a nitrogen layer. 1) Herbicide. Yes occasionally I get weeds growing above the mulch. As these plants mature they will grab most of the sun and water, leaving little for weeds. My question: do you think a good quality landscape cloth (I’ve heard trumpet vine shoots grow through cardboard) would keep shoots from growing through them to reach sunlight? If you need to change anything in your garden over the years, weed barrier becomes a nightmare. After 4-5 years the ugly fabric is under the hedge row and is not seen or you can remove then as the hedge row exclude its own weeds by being a solid hedge row. I will be using your insight regularly. I’m looking for something to only use for 2-3 years before pulling it up again; we aren’t planting anything in it, and will be just temporarily landscaping over it to wait it out. The one you are describing works just as you say, If you keep up with them, there’s no point in putting down the fabric in the first place. Not sure which plant experts you are talking about but the science is fairly clear that wood chips do not increase pest problems. If they grow and flower you know they are doing well. My first objective is to solve drainage problem and was researching best fabric to wrap the drainage pipes(weeping tile??) x. I generally agree with your opinion on landscape fabrics… Weeds will grow on top of it or around it. Tough weeds most definitely will grow through weed fabrics. I keep weeding and mulching but nothing is helping. What do you recommend to control weeds. But besides that only sweep occasionally. Innovative and creative, this man layered bug screens (three sheets thick) on top of each other, and buried them out of sight and covered them with lava rocks or drain rock. I would not use commercial grade fabric. In regards to your question, I must say there is nothing ZEN about placing garbage into the earth in an attempt (that will fail) to thwart nature. Now grass is coming through the fabric and bark mulch. It probably depends on the type of cloth. Thank you so much for keeping gardeners honest! The raspberries are now where I want them, except for a few that still emerge in odd places. What type of wood chips do you recommend? Give your neighbor some periwinkle (Vinca major), a groundcover that loves shade. Straw is a much better solution for soil and soil life. A pre-emergent herbicide won’t harm established plants. It probably lets air and water through better than landscape fabric. It is possible to have soil that is too hot and so people in warm climates may not want to use it with their vegetables for that reason. I will only have 3 or 4 bushes in a 450 sq ft area, the rest of the area will be limestone chippings and a few big rocks. I have found one of the best weed suppression systems is gypsum sheets ie plasterboard. roots or seedlings can penetrate but water flows thru like a filter material with little resistance. How do you measure their activity and populations? cover mulch (hay,straw). Weeds already in your soil can’t grow through the cloth so they die. I’ll stick to several inches of wood chips which work great. Kill the grass before planting. Wood chips are organic material and will erode and their color will fade in time, whereas, bug screens (hidden under river rocks or lava rocks, will last longer than a human life a it will not break down in a waste dump landfill. HAVE PLANTED CAMILIAS IN A BED CONTAINING A VERY LARGE AMOUNT OF BLUE CLAY. Thank you for your straight-forward honesty about landscape fabrics. Is it safe to use weed blocking fabric to cover my fig trees, or will there be chemical run off that might contaminate the figs we eat? Should You Compost Dog Waste or Cat Waste? Mine has been there for probably 10 years, and there are weeds under, through, & on top of the fabric. No, two completely different products altogether. Again, this guy is not aware of any environmental issues and my landscaping garden is maintenance free for over 8 years while others use garden tools or get on their hands and knees to spend considerable time manicuring their projects. Also, some wood chips from certain trees cannot be spread close to decorative or fruit trees trunks because of their toxicity, so be mindful what type of wood chips you use. You might have to do this all summer to get rid of all grass. My recommendation is to view cloth as an interim solution It will save some time especially if you have a tendency to want to establish too many beds in too short a time! I have an old weed filter with pebbles on top and it has only lasted 14 years; In the UK we’ve had a lot of rain- moss builds up on my weed filter and decays it- I will look for a better mulch method now as the weeds and grasses are taking over the whole of the surface area where the weed filter is supposed to be working. Hi! Cut the lawn really short. The lasagna method is absolutely brilliant ! What’s the ideal solution? Im a veteran landscaper. If not, what can we use to reduce the amount of weeds that come through the stones? Digging out all the weed roots seemed impossible. The worms are loving it ! “CO2 and O2 concentrations in the soil under the various mulches were not significantly different as compared to the control, except for the polyethylene treatment.” is a key point. 2 rows drip, strip or 3-4 foot fabric, cuts holes every 3-5 feet, plants shrubs/ berries/hedges. it is relatively expensive for a product that does almost nothing. Durable and Long Lasting In my case, I gots rolls of it for free and they were happy to get rid of it. Believe me when I say that plant roots can grow through the holes in the landscape fabric. The areas where I’ve removed it are much easier to weed rather than just snapping them off the fabric surface, leaving the roots underneath. That’s where SCOTTS Landscape Fabric comes in. Thoughts I can relay to my landscaper? There is a serious misunderstanding here. He was making me a seed mat for wild flowers. Now they are the perfect seedbed for weeds and my garden flowers. I have used wet cardboard layers with wood shavings on top to suffocate bindweed with much success. Next year, I’ll go with layered cardboard with a wood-chip mulch (the latter for aesthetic reasons since I have neighbors). The ink on paper and cardboard is made from natural chemicals and is quite safe. It allows air and water to pass through it. The air does get in and the beautiful earth is not compacted by walking on it . Fabric weed barrier is also biodegradable and … I think all you can really say is that using your system – you don’t see a problem. Some brands offer UV protection to maintain the life of the fabric. This is also how I use landscape fabric. thank you in advance! My question is similar. If I do some heavy mulching. Recent scientific findings, reported by Dr Linda Chalker-Scott, suggest that a 6- 12 inch layer of wood chip mulch is just as effective. Plant ground cover. It will provide added resistance from weeds growing thru the stones, and it will also keep the stones cleaner, since they will not mix with the underlying soil.. The landscape fabric is water-permeable. What does landscape fabric feel like? Thanks so much…I will give the wood chips a try. Just another thought: all that compost, manure, etc. The fabric is rated at 1.5 ounces and is strong enough to be used under gravel for paths and driveways without suffering any damage. None of this is good for the soil. I just cover the soil with rocks – nothing in between. I’m going to assume that you don’t have much experience with the 3.5 oz fabric or your article would read completely different. When this happens, there is a reduction of nutrients for your plants, and soil structure starts to degrade. Window screen factory places or window screen services often have unuseable rolls of bug screen fabric that are defective. I would use Roundup. You’ll probably need to with organic mulches that degrade and thin out over time; gravel and rock mulch remain pretty much the same as when first applied. Landscape fabric does not breathe nearly as well as you think, or were told, it would – in a moist area it will quickly start getting that funky swampy smell due to the standing water (and it does not take much water for this to occur) With a lot of muscle and patience! The 3.5 oz is so thick and durable that you can barely poke a knife through it while the cheap hardware stuff is too light that you often accidently poke your fingers through it while putting it down. We have about 3-4 inches of mulch on top. Limitations of Landscape Fabric. Pine bark is slightly acidic in nature, takes time to decompose, and does not need replacing as often as other types of organic mulch. Just sweep 3 times a year. No Does not work well on slopes or hills. You Are Eating Poisonous Fruits & Vegetables Even If They’re Organic! Great advice. You could but it needs to be removed before the seeds start to grow, and in a seed mix, different types of seed germinate at different rates. It also allows water to get through very easily. Many of those were re-landscapes. Both ideas are great, and try them out to see what fits best for you. Just commenting on your premise that landscape fabric does not work. If you use a thin cover of mulch, weeds do not grow in the mulch because it is just too dry there. Will recread my notes. It worked like a dream. Either a low sedum, or if you like something higher, try Stephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’. We can’t dig all the roots up (as is recommended), as they’ve gone underneath our poured concrete patio. And can’t find in bulk in Omaha and by the bag is too pricey. Thanks for writing. The landscape fabric should be removed after a couple of years once the tree is large enough and strong enough to compete with the weeds. You might try a combo of Roundup and covering with black plastic until you’ve conquered the infestation.It will probably take a couple of years. It is true that seeds sprouting under the cloth will not grow through it. I recall it being a daunting task with a rake, patience, and a lot of sweat. To me it seems that too much organic matter in the soil (not on top as much) can hinder seed germination because water drains through it too fast. This is mostly a gardening myth. Farms are exempt from the ban. Being organic minded didn’t want to spray it 1st. Hello – I have a question – we have a large area that we have previously covered with mulch =however my husband goes crazy with the leaf blower each fall to remove leaves – however it also removes most of the bark mulch each year – is there any heavier kind of a product that could withstand the leaf blowing each fall ? Take our crash course in this material designed to inhibit weeds and keep soil from drying out. We live in an area where there is lots of huge 50-100 year old oak and other tree’s. I am in the process of converting my lawn (incl. I did, though, use paper landscape cloth under a hedgerow, albeit with mulch on top. Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society, it is a plastic and we don’t need more plastic in the environment, plant roots growing on top of the fabric can’t withstand a drought as easily, moving plants, and dividing plants is a nightmare because the weed barrier prevents you from digging new holes, if you do get weeds they are near impossible to pull out. Can it cause ants to nest more under the fabric I’m finding lots my friend said it can. It is the not organic material that is the problem, but the decomposition of it over time. Unfortunately, because it’s light, this fabric is more likely to let the weeds through … They don’t let enough air and water to the soil under them. Without fabric, this type of organic matter would naturally biodegrade and eventually blend with the soil. Genevieve says. Best part is, it’s biodegradable. Voila! While it looks great once it is first applied, after time it looks drab after being exposed to the elements. Water still goes through, and so does air unlike landscape fabric. The Ph of bark dust is not conducive to weed growth, at least for 3-6 month. Conserves moisture : Adding this reduces surface evaporation, so less watering is needed. A little bit of weeding in cut holes the first year. A think layer of wood chips will reduce weeds just as effectively as the cloth. Yes it lasts for years. I moved out and they moved in. Smaller trenches are normally around 5 to 6-inches. Good luck..Btw, bug window screen fabric is far more porous and will not suffocate your garden projects like landscaping fabric or chemicals sprays that are not good for the environment, shrubbery or animals. I couldnt agree more. It either gets washed away, or moves into the air. RENEGADE GARDENER™ The lone voice of horticultural reason Don't ever lay landscape cloth or weed barrier on the ground before planting. Another factor that affects the amount that the fabric stretches is the actual fiber that the fabric is made out of. some clover and other weeds) into vegetable beds and I am thinking of using sheet mulching/lasagna mulching. Pull all the weeds first, then set your stones, then keep up with it. The best thing for trees and shrubs is to leave the soil alone and get them to grow in it. Cardboard rarely kills bindweed – it just travels under ground to a new location. I have raised beds with subterraneous irrigation and piping for aeration under the weedcloth. No weeds. This is how landscape fabric is advertised to work. Robert I’m laying a border of one meter around my lawn, what is the best thing to put under these to suppress the weeds. I covered the ground with this fabric 1st http://obcnw.com/groundcovercloth4x300.aspx. Laying sections shingle fashion, I then cover with collected leaves–4 to 6 inches. Big chips are better than small ground up stuff. One thing you should note is that in heavier rains water will pool on the fabric until it has time to drain through. I built a 60′ by 100′ section of cedar raised beds on my farm. I could cry with frustration. Weeds and plants are both plants same result. What is your recommendation to get the best results. What ever you can get locally. Your landscape fabric shouldn’t be air or watertight, and you want it to allow for free air and water flow. I hate that this stuff is petroleum-based and will end up as yet another source of plastic pollution. We’re trying to smother/suffocate the American Trumpet Vine, and we’ve hemmed the roots in by digging 3′ trenches and inserting sheet metal so it doesn’t grow past our mulch. If not do i need to cut out paper and remove debris and replant. Does landscape fabric really work to keep weeds out of a flowerbed? Fabric is not cheap but it is worth it. “The water should run freely through it. I am also a big fan of employing strong local youths at a fair hourly rate for these type of projects. Woven fabrics have less give than knitted fabrics which is good for filtration since if fabrics stretch (as knits do), the holes in between the fibers get larger and let more particles through. Thank you. The mulch slides all over and exposes it. Cost varies from around $.45 per sq. Or annual flower beds piled higher then the grass subterraneous irrigation and piping for aeration under the.... 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