How to Use Weed Control Fabric

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Weed control fabric--or landscape fabric--is a porous synthetic material that can simplify the job of maintaining garden beds. The fabric controls the growth of weeds in the landscape, but allows air circulation and water penetration. Weed control fabric is expensive, but when properly installed can control weeds for up to five years. Although weed control fabric has certain drawbacks, it not only simplifies weed control, but also limits the need for harmful herbicides

Things You'll Need

  • Spade or shovel
  • Rake
  • Weed control fabric
  • Carpet knife
  • Scissors
  • Landscape staples
  • Mulch
  • Remove all weeds from the planting area. Dig the weeds with a spade or shovel, or pull the weeds by hand. Attempt to remove as much of the roots as possible.

  • Remove any roots, clods and anything sharp that can puncture the fabric. Smooth the area with the back of a rake.

  • Unroll the weed control fabric lengthwise over the planting area, then cut the fabric to the proper length. Overlap sections of weed control fabric by 3 to 4 inches.

  • Cover any existing plants with the fabric, then use a carpet knife to make a slit for the plant's main stem. Slide the weed control fabric around the plant, then enlarge the hole to accommodate the plant, if needed. For new plantings, use the carpet knife to cut an "X" in the fabric, then dig a hole for the new plant. Once the plant is in place, tuck the fabric firmly around the stem so no soil remains on top of the fabric.

  • Trim the edges of the fabric with scissors to adapt to the contours of your flower beds. Secure the edges of the weed control fabric to the ground every 8 to 12 inches with landscape staples. Any gaps will allow weeds to emerge.

  • Cover the weed control fabric with 2 to 3 inches of mulch, such as shredded bark or round pebbles, to improve the appearance of the fabric and prevent deterioration caused by sunlight. Keep in mind that organic mulch such as shredded bark is attractive, but it will eventually break down and produce an organic surface for weeds to sprout.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply weed control fabric only when needed. Even though fabric is less harmful than chemicals, even breathable fabric will interfere with the soil's natural processes, slow moisture evaporation, and will disturb the habits of birds and insects.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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