Weed control fabric, or landscape fabric as it’s known in the industry, is one of the new tools used to prevent weeds from growing in our garden beds. They’re a permeable mat that lays over the soil and inhibits weed growth while still allowing all the nutrients to be accessed by your plants.
If you’re like most then you have probably tried a dozen methods to keep weeds at bay: remnant carpet under the roses bushes, thick layers of mulch or sheets of black plastic laid beneath woodchips. While these may have offered some assistance they certainly weren’t bullet-proof and you still hadn’t solved all the issues.
The problem with the carpet and the plastic is that while they kept weeds at bay they also failed to let water, oxygen and fertilising nutrients through. Mulch, on the other hand, allowed water to weep through but needed replenishing over time and often came with weed seeds in the actual mulch itself. There was certainly a need for a product that could offer the best of both worlds.
Fortunately, weed control fabric seems to be the solution. The fabric is a spunbond polypropylene that is permeable for water, air and nutrients but will still inhibit weed growth. Many landscapers are using it in their projects because of its effectiveness but also because the fabric has proven to offer a 12-20 year life-span.
The weed control fabric can be laid directly on the soil with slits cut as openings for plants. It doesn’t need to be covered with anything, although if you chose it can be covered with mulch to hide it. If you don’t cover it then it just requires attaching to the soil with some Fabric Pins (aff.).
The deluxe models Dewitt’s 4.1oz Fabric (aff.) and Dalen’s Weed Control Fabric (aff.) both offer a longer life-span – up to 20 years. They are more expensive than the spunbond versions because these are woven with reinforced fiber for extra durability.
If you don’t like the look of weed control fabric covering your soil then rather than cover them with an organic mulch you could spread landscaping gravel, coloured glass, or blue metal that will last as long as the fabric. Don’t get sucked in to using decorative pebbles though.
Over time the fabric will break down so if you’re planning to keep moving and reusing it your best to keep it out of direct sunlight. Covering your landscape fabric up with a material mentioned above will make it a little harder to transfer but will prolong its useful life.