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Can I Put Landscape Fabric Over Weeds? What You Need to Know!

landscape fabric covering weeds

Yes! Landscape fabric is a semi-permanent solution for keeping weeds out of your garden. That said, you will want to pull any present weeds before laying down the fabric to ensure the weeds do not mature. You will also have to lightly weed afterward, but weeding will be much easier with landscape fabric.

Keep reading to learn more about landscape fabric and how you can use it to prevent weeds from infiltrating your beautiful garden.

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Putting Landscape Fabric Over Weeds

Landscape fabric, sometimes called weed fabric, creates a thin barrier to prevent weeds from growing in your garden. The barrier is thin enough that air and moisture can seep into the soil for your plants. However, the barrier blocks sunlight, preventing weeds from growing.

Landscape fabric is often selected for perennial beds because it is a semi-permanent solution that can last for about five years or more. Although you might still need to weed on occasion, most of your weeding needs will be taken care of by the fabric.

Even though landscape fabric can last for many years, its effectiveness will decline as the years go on. Obviously, the fabric will naturally degrade. During this process, it will become less effective at preventing weeds. Additionally, weeds can still take root above the barrier, which means you’ll have to weed those pests as well.

Pros
  • Helps to prevent weeds
  • Prevents inorganic matter from getting into the soil
  • Limits herbicide usage
  • Helps soil retain moisture
  • Offers erosion control
Cons
  • Discourages earthworms
  • Can degrade soil quality
  • Weeds can still sprout
  • Reseeding is difficult
  • Can be difficult to remove

Do You Have To Pull Weeds Before Laying Landscape Fabric?

In order to have the best results from your landscape fabric, you must weed before laying the material down. Failing to do so may render the landscape fabric useless.

If you see any weeds, it is crucial to pick them, first and foremost. If you do not do so, the weeds may continue to grow underneath the fabric and steal all the resources from your plants. Even if there are only small weeds, you still want to pick them for this reason.

In the case that your garden has a lot of weeds, you might have to dig deep and till the soil before installing your landscape fabric. After you have done your tilling, allow the soil to dry out. This will allow you to remove all of the growing weeds and kill off any of their seeds.

Although this may be a lot of work at first, it will ensure that the landscape fabric does its job and save you from having to intensely weed in the future.

Why Are Weeds Growing Through My Landscape Fabric?

If you decided to use landscape fabric and have noticed that weeds are still popping up, you might be irritated and confused as to why the fabric didn’t work. Unfortunately, landscape fabric does not prevent all weeds from growing up. It simply prevents weeds from getting into the soil beneath.

In many gardens, weeds spread through airborne seeds. What this means is that seeds can make it around your plants even if landscape fabric is laid. Depending on the material you place around the plants, the weeds could take root there and grow above the barrier.

Because of this fact, you will still need to weed, even after you lay down landscape fabric. This is especially true if it has been a year or more after you laid down the fabric. The efficiency of the landscape fabric decreases after about a year due to natural degradation.

When Should You Not Use Landscape Fabric?

Even though landscape fabric can help a number of gardening problems, it should not be used for all scenarios. In fact, there are some downsides of landscape fabric to be aware of. For example, landscape fabric can prevent earthworms from nourishing your soil. It also can degrade the quality of your soil if used for many years inappropriately.

Notably, you should not use landscape fabric if you are trying to create a prolific garden, especially for nourishment purposes. Although it will be annoying to have to weeds, landscape fabric can prevent your vegetables and fruit from getting the nourishment they need.

You should not use landscape fabric in the same spot for years on end either. Doing so will degrade the quality of your soil. If you use landscape fabric, rotate when you use it and where. That way, the soil is constantly being nourished and replenished.

divider 5Final Thoughts

Landscape fabric is a way that you can control weed growth around your garden, but you need to pull the weeds before laying down the fabric. Additionally, you will still need to weed in the future, but weeding should be a lot easier and less extensive.

Even though landscape fabric is helpful for weeds, it isn’t without its flaws. It’s important to understand the drawbacks of landscape fabrics so that you can use them appropriately. When used correctly, it could really help your garden without damaging the soil and plants.


Featured Image Credit: Peter Turner Photography, Shutterstock

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