The Pros and Cons of Using Landscaping Fabric for Weed Control
Gardening can be a deeply rewarding hobby or a great source of income. But veteran gardeners would agree, gardening requires a lot of heavy lifting and back-bending activities that are quite a chore to do on the daily. Simply put, maintaining a garden takes a lot of work. Wouldn’t it be nice to lighten your gardening load?
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Take daily weeding, for example. Any gardener worth his salt knows that weeds rob plants of nutrients so these invasive plants have to be eliminated from the garden. Unfortunately, weeding is a daily chore because weeds grow and spread quickly. Yes, daily weeding is an essential part of maintaining a garden especially if you are growing crops – for your own consumption or to sell for a profit – but it’s a taxing activity nonetheless.
Using landscaping fabric for weed control is a method that could simplify and lighten your gardening load significantly. Landscaping fabric may not be an essential gardening tool for most gardeners, but in places where weeds are a serious problem, it is an integral part of growing healthy crops.
What is Landscaping Fabric?
Landscape fabric is a type of material made from tightly woven plastic fibers with perforated holes. This product is often sold as a solid sheet. Generally, landscape fabric is used to eliminate weeds and promote plant growth without using chemicals. It kills weeds by blocking out the sunlight weeds need to grow. Since the material is permeable, the landscaping fabric gets rid of weeds without blocking air and moisture.
Landscape fabric is often laid around trees, flowering plants, and shrubs. This product comes in different grades; some are more durable than others because of the tighter weaves. The best landscaping fabric for your garden will depend on many factors. Landscape fabric has practical uses other than getting rid of weeds. You can use it to prevent soil erosion and control water flows.
Now, some gardeners do not like using landscaping fabric because it does come with several drawbacks. But as long as it is used the right way, landscaping fabric is an effective tool for eliminating weeds. Of course, there are certain factors to consider before using landscaping fabric to your garden. In today’s post, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of using landscaping fabric for weed control:
Pros of Using Landscaping Fabric
Effective Weed Control
When used correctly, landscaping fabric is an effective solution for persistent weeds that spread all over the garden. It discourages weed growth by preventing weeds from getting the sunlight they need for photosynthesis. Since landscaping fabric can be laid over a large area, you can kill weeds in various parts of the garden in one go.
Apart from controlling weeds, landscaping fabric prevents the future growth of weeds for days, months, or years! Even if you pull the weed from its roots, more are likely to sprout in just days. That makes weeding a never-ending chore. Controlling weed growth for months is definitely beneficial for weary gardeners who are tired of everyday weeding.
Landscaping fabric bought in bulk isn't exactly cheap but the material is quite durable, it will last for years. To put things in perspective, how much money do you spend on herbicides to control weed growth? Applying chemicals to the soil is not only contributing to soil and water pollution, it’s also quite expensive. This goes especially for areas that are naturally grassy and prone to weeds. You have to apply herbicides regularly to control the spread of weeds.
Using landscaping fabric ends up being the more affordable choice because you can use this product several times. Depending on the quality of the landscape fabric, some will last a maximum of ten years. Think of all the money you’ll save by controlling weeds without using chemicals.
Prevents Soil Erosion
Is your garden prone to soil erosion? Sloped areas and places that get a lot of rains have a serious erosion problem, which makes planting crops difficult. Amending the soil is equally problematic in these areas because it only takes a rainstorm to wash away all your hard work! The rushing rainwater tends to wash the soil away, along with the nutrients that plants need to thrive.
You can use landscaping fabric to protect your garden from soil erosion. The material is permeable, able to let moisture and air penetrate the landscaping fabric while holding the soil in place. When erosion is no longer an issue, you can plant more crops and amend the soil without worrying about your hard work being washed away by rain.
Landscaping fabric is surprisingly environmentally friendly. It takes 5 to 10 years before the material degrades so you can re-use the landscaping fabric several times. Most landscaping fabrics are made from sustainable and recycled materials as well, which adds to the eco-friendliness of these products. Some materials are made from biodegradable fibers. However, these products break down much more quickly than landscaping fabrics made from non-woven polyester or polypropylene material.
Retains the Ideal Soil Moisture and Temperature
Bare soil is exposed to the elements so it dries out quickly. This goes especially during the summer season when it rarely rains and the punishing heat causes soil moisture to evaporate. Landscaping fabric helps keep the soil nice and moist for plants to grow. The fabric also protects the soil from harsh weather conditions, keeping the soil temperature at an even level for growing crops. The soil also warms up much more quickly when landscaping fabric is installed.
Cons of Using Landscaping Fabric
Could Affect Plant Growth
Using the wrong type of landscaping fabric may affect plant growth and in some cases, inhibit future plant growth. This can be easily prevented by learning all about the different landscaping fabric materials that are available on the market and knowing the best material that suits your plants. For instance, roses are quite sensitive so think twice before installing landscaping fabric to a rose bed. Hardy plants, on the other hand, are tough as nails so they’ll do better when grown in a soil treated by landscape fabric.
May Degrade Soil Quality
Since the landscaping fabric acts as a physical barrier to kill weeds, the material also inhibits the breakdown of garden matter. Because the ground is covered, feeding the plants takes work, which can be a nuisance for plants that need a lot of nutrients. Our advice is to save the landscape fabric on hardy plants. Flowering plants, for example, need more nutrients so these should be grown without using landscaping fabric.
Installing the landscaping fabric has to be done right so professional installation is recommended. The landscaping fabric has to be covered with stones, pebbles or bark mulch to keep it flat. You have to keep an eye out for growing plants to reduce the risk of choking young plants.
Landscaping fabric may be an essential tool for most gardeners and the benefits you get from these products outweighs the drawbacks. Simply put, landscape fabric can be helpful especially if you’d like to reduce your yard work. Do note, however, that you have to install the landscape fabric properly to maximize its benefits. Found these gardening tips useful? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest gardening resources + amazing offers on our bestselling products!