What is it good for?
Weed control fabric is going to be very helpful in some situations, but there is no permanent fix for unwanted weeds.
Weeds are going to pop up all the time, and they can only be suppressed for so long. There is no substitute for diligence.
If you have large untended areas of your garden or are laying a new path, patio or driveway then weed fabric comes into it's element.
It can kill and suppress weeds for several seasons. It may take a bit of work initially but the results speak for themselves, no more weeds.
How long will it last?
Natural weed fabrics (mulching)
A nice, thick layer of mulch inhibits weeds in two important ways:
- First, by thoroughly covering the soil and depriving weed seeds of the light they need to germinate, mulch prevents them from gaining a foothold in the first place.
- Secondly, bare dirt is the perfect place for weed seeds to germinate. By covering all of your bare soil with mulch, most weeds will never be able to come into contact with the soil.
Organic mulches will break down over time, adding nutrients and organic matter to your soil.
The worms and microbes in the soil will break down organic mulches over time, which will result in healthier more productive soil life.
Bark mulch looks nice but tree bark is naturally waterproof and does not absorb or retain water. Chipped softwood absorbs water and is generally cheaper.
Wood is heavy, so distance is the key to cost; shop around locally for the cheapest supplier. If you have a local sawmill and you’re prepared to collect, it will be cheaper.
The biggest mistake people make when adding mulch is that they don't apply enough. To smother weeds and retain soil moisture, a two to three inch layer of mulch is necessary.
Less than two inches of mulch will let enough light through to allow seeds to germinate. A base layer of newspaper a few sheets thick is a good starting point.
In addition to applying the right amount of mulch, you also need to make sure that it isn't pushed up against your plants. Give your plants an inch or so of space.
When mulch is applied up against a plant, it can hold moisture and cause the plant to rot.
You should add an additional inch of mulch to your gardens every year to compensate for decay, either in spring or fall.
Preventing weeds with fabric
It's easy, the fabric prevent the weeds from getting sunlight which they require to grow, no sunlight = no weeds.
If you're laying a new path, patio or driveway ensure your contractor lays some heavy duty weed control fabric underneath your paving, bricks or slabs.
You can use this method of weed control in the garden too.
Simply place it on the area you'd like to cover and either dig it a few inches under the soil or cover it with chips or soil.
Follow these tips for the perfect set-up:
- If you plan on using the area to plant afterwards use a natural mulch such as bark
- Don't cheap out, get a proper woven control fabric for long lasting results
- It goes fuzzy side down. It helps it grip to the soil.
- Overlap fabric by one foot otherwise you'll end up with a stripe of weeds
- Use landscaping pegs every one foot, you're going to need quite a few of these.
- Cover with at least 3 inches of wood chip mulch or bark (or more)
TIP: An old carpet is the ideal homemade weed control fabric. If you can find one with natural fibers you can leave it in your soil and it will slowly break down.
Heavy duty weed control fabric
If you decide to buy some heavy duty weed control fabric then please follow these tips to get the most from it:
- Always buy woven fabric as it allows moisture through and will prevent waterlogging
- If using multiple pieces side by side then overlap by 1ft to stop weeds creeping through
- Always cover with at least 3inches or more of wood chippings or bark
Buy weed control fabric
If used correctly weed control fabric can help prevent weeds from growing in the first place.
An organic mulch is much kinder to your garden and will probably cost much less but is more work.