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planting seeds with weed barrier

Planting seeds with weed barrier

Installing landscape fabric isn't much harder than spreading out a bed sheet, but it's important to prepare the ground properly to ensure a flat surface and prevent damage to the fabric. It's also important to overlap and secure the edges of the fabric to prevent weeds and cover material from getting through the seams.

Another benefit of quality fabric is that it's reusable. If you decide to change an area that is covered with fabric and mulch, simply remove the mulch, unpin the fabric, shake off the soil and other material, and roll up the fabric to keep it for future use. While it may be a little dirty, reused fabric works just as well as new material.

Laying down landscape fabric is the easiest and often the most effective method for fighting weeds. It prevents weed seeds from germinating in the soil or from landing and taking root from above the soil. And because landscape fabric is "breathable," it lets water, air, and some nutrients to flow down to the soil to feed desirable plants.

Watch Now: How to Install Landscape Fabric for Weed Control

Landscape fabric is a weed barrier, but not all weed barriers are landscape fabric. Cheap, thin plastic barriers are far inferior to quality fabric and can tear very easily. It never pays to use the cheap stuff because you'll most likely need to replace it sooner or later. By contrast, quality landscape fabric is long-lasting and is resistant to sun damage and tears. Some products are guaranteed for up to 20 years.

Landscape fabric works fine on its own, but it’s usually best to cover it with a decorative mulch, rock, or other ground cover. The fabric separates the cover material from the soil, keeping stone and gravel clean and slowing the inevitable breakdown of organic mulch. Black plastic (another type of weed barrier) performs a similar function, but plastic is prone to tearing, and it forms an impervious barrier that prevents water and air from reaching desirable plants.

Working With Landscape Fabrics

Most quality landscape fabric is made of spun synthetic-fiber material that blocks sunlight but permits the passage of some water and air. The material is tough, but it can be damaged by sharp rocks, tools, and roots. For this reason, it’s a good idea to rake and smooth the ground before laying the fabric. Many fabrics are UV-protected but will last longer if they are not directly exposed to sunlight. A layer of mulch or other ground material provides this coverage.

Planting seeds with weed barrier

Unroll the fabric across the garden and secure on the opposite side. Cut the fabric. Toss soil periodically along the length of the fabric to hold it down.

Use a utility knife to cut an X in the fabric at the location of the plant container. The X should be large enough for the container to fit through. Turn under the corners of the cutout, exposing the soil. Use a hand spade to remove soil, creating a hole large enough to fit the plant pulled from the container (pull the plant from a plastic container; with peat pots, leave the plant in the container).

Prepare the soil of the vegetable garden, applying fertilizer or compost if desired.

Start the second strip of landscape fabric parallel to the first. Overlap the layers about 2 inches. Weigh or pin down the beginning and end of the strip. Cut off the excess and continue the process of overlapping strips and weighing or pinning down the ends. Toss soil as needed on top of the strips to hold them down.

Partially unroll the end of the landscape fabric parallel to any side of the garden. Secure the end with rocks, bricks, soil or landscape anchor pins. Landscape anchor pins are 4-inch-tall, U-shaped metal pins used to hold landscape fabric in place.

A layer of landscape fabric can block the growth of weeds while allowing water and air to reach the soil beneath. Used in a vegetable garden, landscape fabric will reduce the amount of time spent controlling weed growth compared to vegetable gardens not using landscape fabric. Landscape fabric can be 3 to 6 feet wide and 50 to 100 feet long. There is a simple technique to follow to plant vegetables with landscape fabric.

Place container vegetables on top of the landscape fabric in rows, properly spaced apart according to the vegetable planting guidelines, like 2 to 3 feet apart for tomatoes.