Using a Weed Mat in Your Flower Bed
Maintaining a flower bed can be difficult if you have weeds to contend with. Weeds tend to grow wild in soil that is rich and moist, and will compete you’re your plants for nutrition. Use of chemical weed killers can be effective, but is not a healthy option for you or the environment. The use of a weed mat in an elaborate or simple flower bed can be an effective, non-toxic way in which you can stop the growth of weeds.
What is a Weed Mat?
A weed mat is generally made of plastic or cloth. It works by stopping the supply of sunlight to the weeds, thereby killing them. Organic versions of weed mats can be simple mulch or bark. Some people also use newspaper for this purpose. A high quality weed mat will suppress the growth of weeds, while at the same time providing sufficient drainage for the soil underneath, so that it stays moist and nourished.
Purchasing a Weed Mat
Before purchasing a weed mat, take into consideration the qualities that are most important to you. Measure the size of the flowerbed to determine the weed mat dimensions. Plastic weed mats are considerably cheaper than the fabric versions. However, plastic weed mats do not have the same porosity, do not let water seep through to the ground, and are not environmentally friendly. If you choose a plastic weed mat, you can use a pitchfork to poke holes in it, to allow for drainage. Fabric weed mats are more environmentally friendly, offer sufficient drainage, and last longer. Some of the main qualities to look for in a weed mat include durability, and resistance against fungus, mold and tears.
Installing a Weed Mat
It is easy to install a weed mat by without assistance, but an assistant can make the job faster and more accurate. Before installing the weed mat, remove all the existing weeds in the area. Try to remove all the weeds from the root, so that they will not crop up again. You will also need landscaping staples, or stakes to affix the weed mat in place. Before laying the weed mat, make sure you accommodate the existing plants in the flower bed. To do so, start at a corner of the flower bed and pull the weed mat tight over the coverage area.
Cut the weed mat around a plant, making sure you are not covering the roots of the plant. Over other parts of the flower bed, allow an overlap of an inch or more, so that you don’t have open spots that can allow weeds to come up. Stake the borders firmly. Cover the sides of the flower bed properly to avoid weed growth at the borders. Stake or staple the weed mat at all the borders, at intervals of a foot or less. Cover the weed mat with a layer of mulch, which will keep it in place, and also minimize exposure to sunlight, thereby making it last longer.