A hot topic that crops up frequently among gardeners and landscapers alike relates to a particularly inefficient gardening method: weed fabric. "Why don't you use weed fabric?" We get this question in our DMs and comments all the time!
Weed fabric, also referred to as weed cloth, landscape fabric or garden fabric, is a permeable cloth that is meant to serve as a low maintenance option for keeping weeds under control. However, as landscaping experts, we’d like to make note of the fact that we are not fans of weed cloth! Clients beg for it thinking it will help them get rid of weeds, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The Truth Behind Weed Fabric
Weeds are inevitable and weed fabric serves only as a temporary fix. Ultimately, weed fabric as a weed management system will fail down the road, and you’ll be right back where you started with an overabundance of weeds. Weed fabric simply creates an unnecessary added cost to your garden design budget.
I've been in the landscaping business for many years, and I know first-hand just how costly and time consuming it is when removing weed-covered layers of fabric that have accumulated on the ground for years.
Airing it Out
Another drawback to weed fabric is that it smothers the soil, leading to improper growing conditions. Compacted soil doesn’t allow for all the essential components needed for healthy plant life: water, insects, nutrients, and air. Each of these natural components are crucial for creating healthy bioactivity within the soil.
Plants need water and air to thrive, weed fabric serves as a barrier to this growth. Furthermore, while weed fabric provides a temporary way to prevent some weeds from coming through, it doesn’t prevent further seeds from germinating on top. Resilient weeds will penetrate straight through the fabric and grow down.
We asked our fellow landscapers on Instagram what they thought of weed fabric. Here is what they had to say:
Homeowners had similar sentiments:
Pre and Post Treatments
A more efficient way to prevent weeds is to apply a pre-emergent such as Preen after you install your new landscape. Pre-emergent helps sterilize weed spores as a prevention method to keep them from growing, all while keeping other vegetation intact.
A handy tip to follow before you begin a project is to water your yard to entice new growth of weeds. Once you see new growth of weeds, it’s a smart idea to complete a thorough pulling before you begin a new landscaping project. After that, you can go in with a one-time treatment with something like a post-emergent to kill existing weeds. Roundup is a popular post-emergent but is best handled by professionals. Other natural products exist on the market that serve equally as well. It simply comes down to your personal preferences or what your landscaper has suggested.
Once those pesky weeds are gone after your post-emergent treatment, you can then go in with a Preen treatment as this pre-emergent will prevent new spores from germinating further. This will give you a great head start for overall weed management and can be done on a quarterly basis. Think of Preen like a benevolent plant-focused forcefield meant to keep your project, your plants, and any finishing materials safe from invading weeds!
Looking for a Low Maintenance Landscape Design?
It’s no secret that weeding is a challenge, but if you are consistent with maintenance, especially in the first year, the health of your yard will continue to improve. Remember, our gardens are low maintenance, but no garden is "NO maintenance."
At Fredrickson Landscape, we’re here to help! We offer front yard and back yard landscaping design in the San Diego area. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you create the low maintenance yard of your dreams!
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