Black landscape fabric?

irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)April 5, 2010

HI, i'm wondering if I should use this in my veg. garden.

Can anyone give opions for or against it?

I've heard it keeps weeds down and keeps the soil warm?


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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I'm not so sure that it will warm the soil...might cool it a bit in my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 8:11PM
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If it is the standard landscape fabric, you will have to put some type of mulch on top of it. I tried it one year in a melon patch and used nothing on top of it. The light was able to penetrate it enough for the grass beneath it to grow and push the staples holding it down out of the soil. I switched to black plastic.

I am using it this year around my raised beds but I have it covered with hay, straw and pine needles. This should block the light and prohibit grass growth.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:43PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

In LI, weeds are an issue, but soil warming isn't.

There may be a few areas or applications where it is actually useful, but I experimented with a few brands some years ago in my veggie gardens and also in my paths. It may have discouraged a few weed seeds, but anything with runnering capability *absolutely loved it*. The few things it discouraged were easy to pull or cultivate out anyways. Any deep-rooted nasty weeds ignored it, and grew right through. Any runnering weeds saw it as an ally, and *literally* wove the runners right through the fabricweave. Then they grew up, and down, as if the fabric were not there. I had created a comfy foundation for the blasted things.... And the fabric actually made it *much harder* to remove the most pernicious and pervasive weeds. Even the act of pulling back the fabric just broke off the runners and made more problems.

I am also am a jobbing gardener for other people, and I always *wince* when I run into landscape fabric.... I rip it out wherever I can.

.... My. I seem to have been on a bit of a rant.... Sorry.

(Taking a deep breath)

I guess the gist is that I really don't recommend landscape fabric. (very wry grin)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:51PM
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larry_c(z6 Stl. Mo.)

I have one strip down the middle of a long run. It has been there for years. I have to lift it every year and knock the dirt and the new weeds off of it but it does a pretty good job at keeping my walking path clean.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:13PM
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The comments about needing mulch on top are correct. I will respectfully disagree with the idea that what landscape fabric and mulch keeps down are "easy to pull out." I've used it between raised flower beds where I had been battling the #*$()@&$** grass and it works a treat. If you've ever tried to fight Bermuda grass in the south you'll agree it's not easy to pull out, and if you cultivate all you do is chop it up and every little piece turns into a new grass plant... HATE the stuff. LOVE the landscape fabric.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:21PM
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I use it for my walking paths in my veggie garden.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 10:22PM
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I love it for the vegetable garden.( I do hate black plastic.) It definitely keeps weeds down. If you've got some crazy runner weed, landscape fabric or not, you will have problems. I of course add amendments every spring and have removed as much perennial and/or runner type weed roots as I could over the years. There has been less of an occurrence of those type weeds over time. Annual weeds will pop up in the open spots around the base of plants where there's no fabric, but are easy to take care of instead of a whole area of them especially if you are working a lot. I don't use top mulch. I do overlap my rows by a couple inches and keep it all down tight with the long pins they sell for it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 10:02AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I've seen landscape fabric used to cover large areas of ground around sales benches and display areas of nurseries as well as the ground in greenhouses. It worked fine there with no mulch over it. Could it be that the pro and con comments above were referring to different types of landscape fabric? Or it there another explanation?


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 3:01PM
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My experience is like Linda's -- landscape fabric is a playground for tough runner weeds like Bermuda grass, and once their roots are in the fabric the only way to completely remove the grass is to remove the fabric.

And then the damned stuff is still very much alive underneath anyway.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 3:41PM
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etznab(7 NC)

There are several different types of landscape fabric. The box stores typically have a light weight variety that are useless against bermuda grass and other weeds. But it will do a tolerable job for preventing less aggressive weeds. This fabric will usually need to be replaced yearly. It's fairly cheap and may be a good choice in your planting bed, such as underneath melons. It usually wont last more than a year if not covered by mulch and protected from the sun. Even then, it's not long lasting.

If you have aggressive weeds, or looking for something more sturdy, such as in a walking path, do a google search for polypropylene landscape fabric. The stuff is expensive, but lasts for years. If you ever visit a commercial nursery or greenhouse, this is the stuff that you will see on the floor. It is typically not found in stores that cater to residents but if you have nursery supplier in your area, they may sell it. Since the stuff is heavy, shipping costs can be quite substantial if purchased online.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 1:07PM
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I use the professional grade fabric in my melon patch,
without any mulch and it works just fine, and keeps out
the weeds.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 5:45PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

After failure using the cheapo Landscaspe "cloth" at Home Depot, I only use the slightly more expensive DuPont Landscape Fabric available at Lowes:

15 year guarantee, but most important, it really inhibits weeds from breaking through. I would highly recommend a double layer if you have really aggressive weeds trying to surface. Of course, a layer of bark chips or other type of mulch on top is essential.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 6:40PM
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