Cutting through buried landscape fabric

graywings123August 4, 2010

Previous owner of my house covered much of the back yard with long sheets of landscape fabric, then covered with mulch and soil. Over the years, a thick weed eco-system has developed on top of the fabric. I need to remove the landscape fabric, but have to find a way to cut it into pieces. It is embedded in the ground and is not budging when I pull.

I'm trying to come up with a cutting tool, preferably on a long handle, to do this job. It has to be sturdy enough to plunge through 3-4 inches of soil and roots and still be sharp enough to cut the fabric. And being able to attach it to a pole would save my back.

I've come up with and rejected ideas such as a box cutter or an Exacto knife - both sharp enough but the blades are too short. I'm wondering whether some sort of knife used by fishermen would work. Anybody have any ideas?

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I hate to think the worse but a disc and harrow on a small diesel tractor would do the job . It would turn over your soil and exposed the membrane . Alternately a Commercial Grade Tiller would do the same but would most likely tear up the membrane into small pieces , which would require additional man-hours to remove with a higher rate potential of Tine Entanglement .

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 12:37PM
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Sorry, should have mentioned, this is a yard in a city. Total area counting the house is 0.16 acres. I need a hand tool. I have an electric tiller that I will use after the landscape fabric is gone.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Suggest doing it in many small steps. In a reasonably small area, use the tiller at a shallow depth, to loosen the soil -- then pull up the fabric.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 8:22AM
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The landscape fabric is at all different levels, some exposed, some buried. I can't take a tiller to it until I remove the landscape fabric. I've tried it and I spend much of my time taking the tiller apart to remove the pieces of landscape fabric fouling the tines.

If I can cut the landscape fabric into smaller, manageable pieces, maybe one foot square, then I will be able to pull them out. I envision walking through sections of the yard and cutting at the soil like you would a sheet cake, and then coming behind later and pulling up the fabric.

I need a long sharp knife, sharper than anything I have around here at the moment.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:18AM
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Pick up a Arborist Serrated Bow Knife , it has a Si-the/hoe like extend handle that will enable you to cut through the membrane at surface level and to within 2-3 inchs below grade. The blade is self sharpening so it will not be damaged for this purpose . Normally used for manual limbing of Fruit Bearing Trees . Some areas have Rental Shops that carry such Tools .

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 2:52PM
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I went looking for an arborist serrated bow knife and didn't find it on the internt. I've ordered something that I think is similar, a Japanese sickle. I'll report back when it arrives and I have a chance to try it out in the yard.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Gray: Yeah your on it Bro ! Good Luck and take it easy on the lower back Dude:)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:22PM
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