Weed prevention fabric is an outstanding assett for putting together easy to maintain gardens and landscapes. However, A lot of people are mislead into thinking that it’s capable of doing more than it actually is.
If you’ve done any research on the subject, you’ve probably found a lot of made up and unsubstantiated information in reference to the use of weed barrier and what you can really expect from it.
As a design practice, we do use landscape fabric in almost every landscape that we lay out. And we always explain to the prospective client about what they might expect from it. And while we use nothing but the best product out there, we make it very clear that it does have its limitations.
As a homeowner, do it yourselfer, or even professional, here’s what you should really expect.
First, let’s be clear about the actual capabilities of landscape fabric. Landscape fabric, or should i say, quality landscape fabric only prevents weeds and grasses that already exist in the soil. They do completely nothing for blown in or washed in seed.
Regardles of what kind of barrier you choose to apply, the only way to stop seed is good old fashioned pulling and poisoning. Unwanted weed seeds can become established even if there is no dirt in your groundcover. I’ve observed roots that grow and take hold directly on top of the landscape fabric.
You can also expect plants that are existing in the soil to try and come out through any opening. It doesn’t matter how perfect your installation is, weed seeds will sprout and seek out light.
Regardless of all this, I still suggest that you apply landscape cloth anywhere that you designate for low maintenance. There are no zero maintenance landscapes. However, by placing weed barrier in these areas, the small amount of work and weeding required is minimal in comparison to maintaining an entire landscape.
Just beware of what the limitations of weed fabric are before you use it.