Return to the Perennials Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Posted by SnailLover MI zone 5a (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 21:10

Not sure which forum to ask this, but you were all so helpful with my perennial ID, so I'm sticking!

Weed cloth, gardener's cloth, whatever it is - I am not a fan of this stuff. The house I just bought has it everywhere, I mean everywhere - flower gardens, shrub areas, under the mulch... The edges are coming up and it looks awful. I've tripped over it and caught it in the lawn mower. It's hideous. I'd rather pull weeds than look at it. I'm dying to rip it all out, but it will be quite an undertaking because it's anchored in pretty good in some areas. So I thought I'd ask your opinions first. Rip it or leave it?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

It's one of those things that will keep annoying you for as long as you live if you let it be. Yes, those edges that stick out never tuck themselves back in. They just stare back at you waiting for you to pull them free and liberate the whole mess to the trash can. I think you'll feel better if you get rid of the stuff, but it is going to be a lot of work.

Kevin


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

It's a mixed bag. I too hate those ragged edges, with a vengeance!

But weed cloth really does help to prevent weed roots from taking a set into the ground. If it were my house I'd start in the areas that bother you the most, or where it makes the least sense, like in a flower bed. Tackle a small section and see how it goes.

As for the ragged edges, it takes only a little time to tuck them back in and it might help you feel a lot better. I tucked in all our flapping edges last week and I could just feel my blood pressure going down...


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Thing I hate about landscape cloth is it ruins the soil.....compacts it over time, leaving it soggy and somewhat sterile, given the fact that earthworms and other soil creatures that help the soil stay viable are not present any more......they can't live when smothered by the cloth....
Terrible stuff..............


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

I'm partial to cardboard and chopped leaves/grass clippings mulch.

Hate weed cloth, especially weed cloth, gravel mulches. After a few years, dust collects and you're weeding gravel, blech!


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Same here I use cardboard. I would rather have your problem my previous owners used roofing rubber. I had a hard time with a razor cutting it into little pieces getting that up. Tremble and shake every time I think about that job.

So it could be worst.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

I tried landscape fabric once, years ago, at my first house. Never again! The stuff doesn't decompose, makes it impossible to transplant plants around, the plants/weeds start growing roots through the stuff, it impedes healthy soil activity, and the worst thing is it doesn't stop weeds! Eventually, organic matter builds up in places on top and the weeds take root anyway.

I would get rid of it, you'll feel much better. Perhaps work on one bed at a time. I use a lot of cardboard too, although once it breaks down the weeds will be back. I dislike weeding but am resigned to the fact that it's an ongoing part of gardening. They do seem to lessen over the years if you prevent them from going to seed.

Marquest, roofing rubber?? Is that like tar paper? Accckk.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

I'll add my voice in support of cardboard. I started out with 30 sheets of newspaper but soon discovered cardboard to be far better at suppressing weeds with the added bonus that it attracts fat, healthy worms. I have the most amazing soil as a result which equates to amazing plants. Do I still have weeds? Yep, but very few in comparison to areas where I didn't lay down cardboard under the mulch. The weeds are generally along the edges of my beds as well. A bit of vinegar takes care of those as well.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

happiest day in your garden: the day you get rid of it ....

the biggest mistake ever made in a garden: Using it in the first place

only thing worse: removing it, if covered with rock ...

ken


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

I think you're getting the idea. I would recommend starting with the exposed edges. Pull those up or back or whatever as far as you can and trim them with sharp scissors. If you have the time and energy to actually go through the yard and systematically remove the stuff, more power to you. You could also just consider it an ongoing part of working in your yard. Each time you consider working on any particular bed, plan to spend extra time removing it, or make sure you have a sharp shovel that will go thru the stuff to allow planting into the real soil. You can just go thru with a sharp shovel and poke holes thru the fabric to allow more movement of air and water and worms, etc. but the stuff is still there. Good luck, and teach your children about the evils of landscape fabric.

Martha


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Good luck, and teach your children about the evils of landscape fabric.
---------------
Yay! Go forth kids and do good deeds, beware the evils done by well meaning people.

Next I'll start on the evils of colored mulch. By definition, successful perennial gardeners are progressive, long term thinking, appreciate nature types. And then they'll use the dyed mulch.

It's tacky, it's phoney.

My eyes hurt. It's just wrong.

This post was edited by boday on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 13:49


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

  • Posted by mori1 5/6 KS (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 14:52

When I first started gardening, I used weed cloth all over my garden beds in the backyard. It was one of the worst mistakes that I had ever made. Years later, I am still trying to remove pieces of that crap from my garden beds.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

and here is why its stupid ....

its laid over GODs given soil... to protect such from weed seed ....

which are FREAKIN AIR BORNE ...

so not more than minutes after you put it down.. a new crop are setting themselves on top ... defeating the entire purpose of putting it down ....

and once they root thru.. you can NOT pull them out ...

so tell me oh peeps brighter than myself..

of what value is the stuff.. except to the marketing genius who gets his boat payment from selling it to the lesser informed ...

and anyone in the nursery trade who stocks and sells the stuff.. ought to suffer divine retribution .... as in lightening strikes about the head and body .... repeatedly ....

i could go on.. but really.. could i top that rant.. lol ....

ken


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

All of the above.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

LOL Mori, yes it's one of those newbie mistakes!

What's even worse is putting down plastic under mulch. Or using rock or rubber mulch. And if you use clear plastic to solarize, then remember to pick it up. You will get lots of little pieces because it photo-degrades (ask me how I know this, haha).


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

So happy to have this validation. I'm going to start ripping this weekend! I don't mind pulling weeds anyway. I find it sort of cathartic. But the cardboard is a great idea and I have lots of it from moving.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Marquest, roofing rubber?? Is that like tar paper? Accckk.

No this was rubber. I heard that he was a roofer so I guess he used what was left over from jobs. It was so heavy I had to cut it in pieces to move the stuff. Under this stuff was dead soil. He had planted a few bushes and the roots were under there brown and dying for a drink.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

no - to be succinct


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Vinegar, gardenweed? Thank you for that!!!!

And ditto about the dyed mulch. Major yuk.

Pat


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

Ditto, Ditto on that red dyed mulch.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

terrene said:

"And if you use clear plastic to solarize, then remember to pick it up. You will get lots of little pieces because it photo-degrades (ask me how I know this, haha)."

Oh boy, will I second that comment, but I used black plastic - same result - and didn't cover it - long story. I'm still finding pieces of that stuff all over the garden - little bitty pieces just like it was shredded. Huge ongoing mess.

Kevin


 o
RE: Vinegar

patann - Be careful pouring the vinegar--it doesn't discriminate & kills everything it touches.


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

You guys are right, the stuff is evil. Pulling it out was easier said than done. I tried to use my prongy hoe to yank it out but it kept ripping into small pieces and I disturbed a lot of shrub roots. What I was able to pull out had grass and weeds growing into it - no moisture under it at all - BONE DRY. It was wrapped skin tight around the base of my birch tree. I used scissors to free it, but most of it is still stuck deep into the soil. The prickly barberry bush wasn't helping matters there.

I have a bad neck and was in a lot of pain so I finally had to stop. Hated to leave the job unfinished - didn't even get to the flower gardens. But I realized it was more than I could take on. I'll hire a landscaping company to clean it out. Young guys with healthy necks. Yeah, that's what I'll do. I WILL get it out though. After seeing that no water was getting past it, I can't leave it in. I curse the person who invented this. Ptooey!


 o
RE: Am I wrong to hate weed cloth?

If it makes you feel any better, even after 13 years of gardening here I am still finding bits and pieces of old landscaping fabric in part of the perennial garden that the previous homeowner installed. As long as most of yours is removed, you can add soil amendments and loosen the compacted soil that was under the fabric, and the garden will be healthier for it.

The only use I have for the stuff is when constructing a garden path where it is of some help in keeping down weeds that sprout in between bricks/pavers/stone. Even then, soil inevitably gets into cracks and supports shallow-rooted weeds.

boday: "Good luck, and teach your children about the evils of landscape fabric."

:)


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Perennials Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here