Landscape fabric

pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)May 23, 2010

I am so frustrated having to dig up and spray for the darn thorny thistles almost daily. I'm playing with an idea in my head and wondered if anybody has had any experience using landscape fabric for this purpose? I have seen and read where sometimes the thistle is in the mulch and once it grows and gets into your garden, it is hard to get rid of. Would putting down landscape fabric solve my problem?

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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

"The Bottom Line
 Geotextiles are not effective weed control solutions for permanent landscapes
 Landscape fabrics used in permanent landscape installations will eventually become a high
maintenance issue in terms of appearance, weed control, and landscape plant health
 Organic mulches are preferred alternatives for permanent landscape installations as they can be
reapplied throughout the life of the landscape without damaging the existing plantings"

Here is a link that might be useful: The Myth of Landscape Fabric

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:08AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

You're doing the right thing if you're trying to understand your weed and strategize based on its behaviour. But it almost doesn't matter what your weed is, landscape fabric is never the answer.

My key principle is that I try never to let my weeds go to seed. Even if all I have time to do is pull the flowers off them, it changes the balance of power!


    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:09PM
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douglasont(6 ON)

I have used both landscape fabrics and organic mulches to control weeds and help me control low growing perennials that were out of control. I used a very deep layer of pine bark nuggets on the front bed of a house once - worked very well. I used landscape fabric covered in a layer pine bark nuggets on a large full sun garden in the back yard of another house - also, worked super well.
When using the fabric you have to patiently remove the bark and cut the fabric to insert plants - it never prevented me from putting plants exactly where I wanted them.
The large garden, full sun, with landscape fabric under bark mulch - I observed and worked in for six years - no regrets.

my 2 cents


    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:10PM
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Putting down the landscape fabric won't get rid of your thistle. If it's in your mulch, when you replace the mulch over the top of the fabric, you'll still have thistle growing in the mulch. Just because there's fabric under the mulch doesn't stop things from growing in it. And I rue the day anyone ever thought that it would be a good idea as a weed blocker as I slowly and laboriously remove 100s of sf of it in a weed choked side yard.

And weeds that get their roots attached to the fabric are much harder to pull up.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:41PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yep: Once the mulch on top of the fabric breaks down enough, weeds grow on top of the fabric.

And any pinholes that occur in the fabric allow weeds to come up from underneath.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:11PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Once the mulch on top of the fabric breaks down enough, weeds grow on top of the fabric. -- I don't know how long the landscape fabric in my front bed had been there, but over the years the mulch had turned into 3" of fine soil.

And any pinholes that occur in the fabric allow weeds to come up from underneath. -- Oh, it's not simply weeds: tree roots come up from underneath also.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:26PM
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Landscape fabric is limited to what you plant. Then place mulch or rock over that. You will still need to weed. People think that the fabric will take care of this problem but this is not true. Weeds get through this and usually emerge where the shrubs, trees and plants are grown. Makes for a difficult time keeping weeds at bay. Be diligent at pulling weeds on a regular basis and you will be content with the results. Let a few weeks go by and you will get frustrated. Put a good foundation of mulc or rock down and your life will be easier. One thing about fabric it is good but only if plant placement is good. Have a good idea of the hole you are planting. Once you cut the hole for the shrub or plant remember how it will grow, how much trimming you will do and can you move it should you find the need. If you need to move a plant it means another cut in the fabric witch means more cuts (some bigger) and then the break down. Fabric breakes down eventually and then the weed come so be proactive to how everything works. You will save alot of work for yourself. Have a plan, bottom line fabric will help control weeds but not eliminate them completly.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 4:05AM
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