Planting a garden can be a great way to relieve stress… until those weeds poke up from the dirt to disturb those newly planted flowers or that crop of vegetables. Many home gardeners will use landscaping fabric to try and minimize their weed problems in their flowerbeds, but is this a good idea? Your Bristol landscape experts at Promier Landscapes are here to educate our customers on this question.
Landscape fabric can be made from an assortment of different materials, including linen, polyester, or recycled plastic. In most cases, however, landscaping fabric is made of a woven cloth.
Using landscaping fabric does have certain advantages
For one, the fabric does discourage weeds because it blocks sunlight from reaching weed seeds, minimizing how many weeds actually grow or eliminating them altogether. Landscape fabric is fairly durable and can last for multiple years, saving a gardener from having to buy weed control supplies each gardening season. Using landscaping fabric also means you may need only a limited amount, if any, of weed-control agents.
Placing landscape fabric does not deprive your flowers and vegetables from receiving the nutrients they need. The fabric has tiny holes, allowing water to filter down to the plant roots. In fact, less watering is required when using landscaping fabric, reducing the amount of surface evaporation.
Know the negatives of using landscaping fabric
Landscaping fabric is not flexible. Each time you dig a hole in your garden, the fabric becomes less and less effective. So the more you change up the placement of the plants in your garden, the landscaping fabric becomes less effective. Over time, the soil that is packed beneath the fabric begins to lose its breathability, eventually depriving plant roots of both air and water.
While water still can reach plants, your flowers or vegetables are deprived of the natural nutrients that can be provided by organic mulch such as grass clippings or shredded leaves. The fabric also serves as a barrier against earthworms, insects, and fungi, which will not be able to mix surface organic material more deeply into the soil.
Should homeowners use landscaping fabric?
It depends on the situation. Landscape fabric can be a great fit in areas with dense ground cover. The fabric also works well when laid underneath rock and gravel. However, your Kingsport gardening experts at Promier Landscapes do not recommend using landscaping fabric beneath vegetable gardens—as you will have to dig into the fabric each year to plant a new crop of vegetable seeds, quickly making the fabric ineffective.
Weed Removal in Johnson City
Considering how situational landscaping fabric can be as a weed deterrent, Promier Landscapes recommends some other measures.
One of the best defenses against weeds is a good thick layer of mulch. When laid thick enough, mulch can block weeds from sunlight the same way as landscape fabric, while not depriving your plants of organic material or keeping earthworms and insects from doing their work in your soil. For an additional layer of defense, lay cardboard or newspaper underneath your mulch. You also can apply a pre-emergent herbicide to discourage weed seeds from germinating.
Your landscaping experts at Promier Landscapes also know how to discourage a weed problem in your gardens. To learn more about how we can help, call us at (423) 246-7977 to schedule an on-site consultation.
Promier Landscapes serves homes and businesses in the areas of Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol in Tennessee.