Sunday, June 15, 2014

Is Landscape Fabric Or Weed Barrier A Good Idea?

Many people put down a layer of landscape fabric or weed barrier and then cover it with rocks or mulch when they are planting a new garden.  I'm not a fan of this method.  For a year or two, it looks great.  Then weeds start growing on top of it.  Usually the roots of the weeds grow down through the fabric making it impossible to pull them out.  This creates a frustrating nightmare resulting in the necessary removal of the rocks or mulch and the fabric, potentially damaging the desirable plants that have become established.  No, I'm not a fan.

Here are some better ideas:

 - cardboard or newspapers topped with 6 inches of wood chip mulch will smother weeds and break down over time.

 - it is easy to pull weeds out of 6 inches of mulch.

 - you can continue to add more desirable plants to a garden with thick mulch over time without needing to cut holes in landscape fabric (which can be another nightmare).

 - the soil (and the roots of the desirable plants) can receive water, air and light without landscape fabric smothering it.

 - earthworms and other soil creatures can move to the surface of the soil when they need to if there is no landscape fabric.  The Robins will thank you for this!

lancscape fabric with rocks will be difficult to weed in a few years.  rock or woodchip mulch without the fabric is better for the long term.

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