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Cutting through buried landscape fabric

Posted by graywings 7MD (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 4, 10 at 10:51

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?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

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 .


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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

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.


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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

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.


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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

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.


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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

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 .


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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

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.


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RE: Cutting through buried landscape fabric

Gray: Yeah your on it Bro ! Good Luck and take it easy on the lower back Dude:)


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