groundcover under coniferous tree

Old 08-29-00, 12:39 AM
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I have a conifer tree of some type in my front lawn that is constantly dropping needles onto the ground below. It is a large tree so I have placed landscape ties around it in a square shape. Instead of raking up the needles every week, I've decided to place black landscape cloth over the ground beneath the tree and cover it with barkmulch. Is that going to cause any problems for the tree as there will obviously be a buildup of needles within the barkmulch that will stay there to rot. Will that interfere with water getting to the root of the tree? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you.
Old 08-30-00, 07:51 AM
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As long as you do not make any major grade changes with the additon of soil the tree should be fine. Do make sure that you get a water permeable landscape fabric designed to let the moisture through.

My question though is why spend the money on the landscape fabric. Normally the bark is used to suppress weed growth plus it is attractive. The evergreen needles perform the same service. The rot or breakdown of bark/needles is a result of the contact with the soil microbes. Introducing the landscape fabric would actually prohibit this. The organically rich soil out in the woods is a result of this breakdown of surface material at the soil interface. If it were me I'd first try letting Mother Nature do the job of suppressing the weeds while improving the soil. You could always rake it back and put down the fabric later if you still feel you need it. Just a thought.

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