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How To Install Landscape Fabric Around Shrubs

Are the bushes around your garden ridden with weeds and unsightly vegetation? Installing landscape fabric around shrubs will put a stop to invasive plants from taking over your outdoor space!

In our previous guide, we talked about the many ways to use and maintain landscape fabric for the garden. And in this guide, we’ll teach you how to install the landscape fabric around the shrubs and trees the right way.

3 Easy Steps on How to Install Landscape Fabric Around Shrubs

Installing landscape fabric is easy if you’re quite the handyman. The product is sold in rolls and sheets, so as long as you have enough landscape fabric to cover the area you’re landscaping, you’re good to go. You can always hire a professional to do this for you, but if you want to save on installation fee, go ahead and dedicate a weekend to get the job done.

Here is a step by step guide how and some useful tips to keep in mind:

Step 1: Prep the Area for Landscaping

Man removing weeds in the backyard garden

Get your hands dirty; you need to clear the space around the bushes by pulling all the weeds and removing the sods in the bed around the bushes. You’ll have to clear at least a 3-foot square area around the shrubs. Using a rake, level the earth and remove unwanted debris like small rocks, dried leaves, dried weeds, etc. The ground has to be level so the landscape fabric is laid down correctly.

Step 2: Cut the Landscape Fabric

Man cutting landscape fabric

Using a sharp utility knife or scissors, cut the landscape fabric in appropriate-sized sheets. Each sheet should be 2 to 3 inches longer than the bed size that’s being covered because the edges will either be tucked under or stapled in place later.

Lay the landscape fabric over the area being landscaped, marking it in places where the shrubs are so you can cut the material later on. Make an X-shaped cut in the fabric above the shrub, working the sheet over the shrub and through the cut slit, making sure that the slit is big enough for the size of the bushes.

Step 3: Stapling the Landscape Fabric in Place

Man putting landscape staples on landscape fabric

Once the landscape fabric has been laid, smooth it over to be in complete contact with the soil. Pull the edges of the slit, so the landscape fabric is not bunching up or resting against the shrub’s trunk. When you’re sure that the landscape fabric is set right, weigh the material down with stones or heavy objects.

Now get the landscape fabric staples and start driving a pin down with a hammer, spacing the staples according to the soil. If the ground is soft, you'll need to install one staple every foot. For average soil, install one staple every 3 feet. For hard soil, you can install one every 5 feet along the edges and seams. Finally, trim the edges of the fabric as needed.

Optional Step: Add a Layer of Mulch

Man spreding mulch

You can use tree bark, wood clippings, gravel, lava rocks, etc., as mulch materials. Spread about a 2-inch layer of mulch all over the landscape fabric to improve the garden's look. You’ll need to replenish the mulch every few months.

Can you put landscape fabric around plants?

Yes, you can. You’ll just need to cut the landscape fabric and make sure that it is not resting on top of the shrub’s main trunk before stapling the fabric in place. This way, the pins won’t come undone as the tree trunk grows.

How close should landscape fabric be to plants?

It depends on how big the plants are. A good rule to remember when installing landscape fabric is to set it a few inches close to the plant roots but never too close. It will warm up the soil too much during the summer season and inhibit the exchange of air, water, and nutrients.

If you are planning to plant through the landscape fabric, circular cuts have to be made so you can dig the earth for planting. The hole has to be big enough to fit the plant’s root ball. Be extra generous in cutting out holes for perennials and grasses. If the area has an existing plant, like a large shrub, you will use more than one sheet of fabric and lay these in sections to ensure that the sheets overlap by 6 to 12 inches.

How do you cover plants with landscape fabric?

If you plan to plant through the landscape fabric, you’ll have to lay down the fabric before planting. This way, you can cover the landscape fabric and control the sizes of the holes you’re making. Cutting holes will affect the effectiveness and integrity of the landscape fabric, so this has to be done precisely. Plan where the plants will go and take it from there. For existing plants, like shrubs, you’ll need to work around the parameter of the trunk. You’ll use multiple sheets of fabric to cover the area, especially for big shrubs.

Buy landscape fabric.

When appropriately installed, landscape fabric will make yard work a breeze. It will improve the look of the garden and save time on weed and pest control. Now that you know how to install landscape fabric around bushes go ahead and shop for heavy-duty landscape fabric and staples in our shop!

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