Pros and Cons of Using Landscape Fabric Full-time JobJun 15th, 2022 at 06:32 Engineering Salisbury 196 views
Whether you call it landscaping fabric, weed block or weed barrier fabric, ask any landscaper or gardener how they feel about its use and they’ll probably have a strong opinion.
Landscape fabric is often promoted as the solution to the bane of every gardener’s existence – weeds. Not only does it supposedly block unwanted weed growth, but best of all, you don’t have to worry about weeding for what seems like years.
Unfortunately, and like with many advertised products, this isn’t exactly true.
Landscaping fabric definitely has its pros and cons when it comes to its use.
Pros of Landscape Fabric
Some of the benefits of using landscaping fabric include:
Keeps inorganic mulches like rocks from sinking into the soil.
Prevents weed seeds covered by fabric from sprouting.
Reduces the need for herbicidal weed control.
Works well on slopes where erosion is a problem.
Helps the soil retain moisture.
Cons of Landscape Fabric
Some of the cons of using landscaping fabric include:
Over time, decomposing particles of mulch and soil clog the perforations in the cloth, which keep adequate amounts of water and air from reaching the plant roots leading to the plant’s decline.
Earthworms, which aerate the soil, don’t develop, leading to compacted and unhealthy soil.
The fabric acts as a barrier to organic materials biodegrading in the soil, which lead to an unhealthier soil structure.
Weeds can still grow in the mulch used to cover the fabric.
Landscape fabric is time-consuming to install, especially around existing plantings.
Is Landscape Fabric the Right Choice for Your Project?
If used properly and in the best situations, landscaping fabric does have its benefits, but it does have its drawbacks.
Although it might work for a time in reducing weeds in an area, the unwanted growth eventually rears its ugly head despite the weed barrier.
Over time, you also end up with soil that isn’t as healthy, which can affect your plants and their health.
Something else worth noting: Landscape fabric won’t last forever.
Landscaping fabric generally works as a weed barrier for a year or less before its usefulness starts declining.
In fact, and according to the University of Florida, its long-term use can negatively affect soil and plant health and is best used where ornamental plants aren’t growing like pathways or around mailboxes.
How to install weed matting
Install weed matting on the garden
First, remove all the weeds from the area you want to cover. Then roll out the weed mat onto your garden bed and cut it to size with scissors. Now peg it in place using either metal or plastic pegs. If your ground is a bit hard, you might need to use a hammer.
Put plants in through the weed matting
Now place each plant pot on top of the weed mat and trace a circle around it with your marker. Draw an “X” inside the circle and cut along those lines. Now fold back the four corners to make the hole for your plant. Once you have done all your planting, finish by covering the matting with 5-10cm of mulch.