landscaping fabric


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Old 08-21-01, 01:28 PM
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I'm looking into putting a planting bed along my house filled with rock. I know it's a good idea to use plastic or landscaping fabric to prevent weed growth, but I have a water faucet along the house also--I see plastic being a problem because there's nowhere for water that hits the rocks to drain. Can water pass through landscaping fabric? What would be recomended in this situation?
 
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Old 08-21-01, 09:58 PM
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re

Water will flow through. I personally hate it! It may stop weeds for a year, but after that you will be on your hands and knees weeding. Look at your driveway, do you have weeds coming through your concrete or blacktop? Weeds will grow on top of this stuff! Don't waste your money, but if you do leave the weed block at least 8 inches away from the edge (the border between your bed and the grass) so you can still edge it once a year to leave a nice border.
 
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Old 08-21-01, 11:59 PM
Gami
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Hi Jst,

I agree with NoSoup. I don't like the stuff either. What worked for me was to use layers of newspaper (8-10 layers should do it). The newspaper will stop the weeds from growing, water will go through it, and the big bonus is it will draw earthworms to your bed. Be sure and put mulch on top of it. Newspapers don't give a real pretty appearance. I'm not sure how long the idea of using newspapers has been around, but it's not a new fad.

Gami
 
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Old 08-22-01, 08:41 PM
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I've got to agree with the above. Landscaping fabric is a waste of $$. Kill the weeds first with Roundup, then put in your flowerbed. The fabric will let some water infiltrate, but not nearly as well as without it, and it restricts air flow as well. It will also break down over time. And, on occasion, the weeds will grow on top of it in the mulch, making the end result no different from just using a thick mulch over the ground.

The main reason I'm responding though because you may want to rethink whether you really want to use rock/gravel in your flower bed. It lets the water drain in alright, but does not add essential organic material to the garden. Water will also evaporate from the soil more quickly than if you use a bark or wood mulch, and it can get very hot in full sun and burn your plants. Most importantly for some, it is also a pain if you decide you don't want it later!! You'll never get it all out, and it will fill in with soil/debris eventually. And if you try to plant a regular flower bed in there, you'll have an extremely rocky soil to contend with. I wouldn't recommend it. If you're looking to avoid weeds, I'd lay down a thick layer of mulch (about 3-4 inches), and that will prevent new weeds from getting a foothold. You'll have to do a little spot weeding on occasion, but it will be no worse than with the landscaping fabric or rocks, and will give you a healthier garden at considerably less expense and trouble.

Whew, I've said a lot. Enjoy your new garden bed!!
 
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Old 08-22-01, 08:50 PM
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Would newspapers work over rock insead of mulch? If so, how thick should the rock be?

I would think newspaper would be a problem if it decomposes over time allowing weeds to grow through.
 
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Old 08-22-01, 10:15 PM
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Jst,
I've suggested this here before, because it works for me. I use roofing felt(tar-paper) for many of my beds which are more permanent: fruit trees, shrubs, large perrenials. Then I cover the area with shredded mulch. And don't worry about water penetration, the water will find a way around the felt, or you can always poke a few holes in it with a garden fork. And, like everyone has already mentioned, a few weeds will always find a way to emerge from the mulch itself. I use an old windex type sprayer in a plastic coke bottle to spot spray the undesireables.
fred
 
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Old 08-23-01, 08:09 AM
Gami
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Hi Jst,

About the newspaper - I wouldn't put it over rock. It will look unsightly and you'll still want to put mulch on top of it. The newspaper does break down over time, but not before it has effectively killed the weeds underneath and caused a barrier so that new weeds seeds can't germinate. I never had weeds sprout through it. Now 2 years later, it has almost decomposed and I'm seeing a FEW weeds, but that's because of the dandelion seeds, etc. that have flown in since. It worked for me, but it would not have been very effective without mulch on top to keep it in place, damp, etc.

Some people put down newspapers on grassy areas, wet it, and then apply soil on top of it and let it set for a season and just dig planting holes in the spring. I'm tempted to try that.

About the rocks, I wholeheartedly agree. I'd get rid of them. I have them in an area and they do generate heat. Plants in that area need watered more often. They would be a real pain to get rid of, which is why I haven't done it. I have black plastic underneath. I did that before I knew better and would never do it again.

You've got lots of good suggestions from everyone, and they all work. Pick the method you like, but keep in mind it takes less time to do it right the first time, and also costs less. We are ALL speaking from experience, I'm sure.

Gami

 
 

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