Landscape cloth for weeds

I bought some because a landscaper relative said it was better than plastic - kept weeds down but didn't block flow of water to soil.
Had a yard party - several friends came over and redid a rose bed - took out the weeds and dirt, smoothed down area, installed landscape cloth, re-covered with dirt. Looks gorgeous!
Comes my gardener and says that this doesn't work. Weeds come up anyway, and are harder to pull out because stuck in the cloth.
Oy!
Any wisdom out there?
Persephone
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On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 19:13:11 -0800, persephone wrote:

I would agree with your gardener. I find weed cloth to be more work than it's worth. Many folks use it under mulch, ground tree bark or wood chips which seems to defeat the purpose IMHO. I recommend using weed fabric under rock or paver slabs but never for any area that will have organic matter piled on top of it seasonally.
Common sense would dictate that over time the weed fabric would get buried deeper and deeper. The fabric has become useless at weed control and now could hinder root development of other trees and shrubs. These roots will have a harder fight to 'rise' in the flower bed as the mulch accumulates.
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Timothy wrote:

Or, and I've seen this happen too many times, the organic material on top depletes faster than it's replaced, and you end up with the fabric -- usually tattered edges -- sticking up, looking ugly as all hell.
I use multiple layers of newspaper -- at least 8 layers thick, and overlapping. It cuts off the light so annual seeds don't germinate, and makes it difficult for grass runners to sprout, too. Tough perennial weeds with big tap roots can sometimes make it through, and some small weeds may germinate in the organic material on top of the newspaper. But those are very minor problems, and quite easy to control.
Eventually the newspaper decomposes, so it doesn't get in the way of intentional plantings. But by the time that happens, the weeds, while not totally eliminated, are easily controlled. And if you let it get away from you, five or six years down the line you can repeat the process. That's generally longer than the cloth fabric will last before you're going to want to just pull it all up.
Now that it's down, you might as well let it there. If you're not ready to pull it up next year, you'll be ready the following year.
--
Warren H.

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Landscape fabric is good thing to have under any bed. When you put down you need to cover it with six inches of mulch or composted material. This will not eliminate weeds forever but pulling weeds out of six inches of mulch is much easier than pulling them out of deep soil. The best part is that the weeds cannot go any deeper than six inches. The experinenced gardeners that have many more years experience than me have told me that landscape fabric is worthwhile. Chuckie in the beutiful north, zone 5 (I can see spring!!)
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persephone wrote:

Your gardener is right. A few years down the road, you'll have a worse time removing grass or weeds. They become hopelessly entangled, and you'll need a really sharp knife, or a lot of muscle to remove the mess.
Last summer my daughter moved into a home where the grass was starting to grow into the flower bed. You couldn't tell the previous owners had used the fabric in the bed. I pulled out my trusty shovel from the back of the truck, and tried to edge it. A few days later, with the help of my grown son, we were able to edge the small flower bed, after removing most of the rose bushes and plants from the tangled mess.
Good Luck!
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If that is so would a biodegradable weed mat prove sufficient? Grass, cardboard or even old carpet should do the trick to surpress weeds but slowly rot and avoid the root problem. My wife used layers of newspaper and some old carpet to surpess oxalis and it has worked very nicely. A week or 2 when I dug some mulch into that garden I pulled up the odd mix of root and old carpet however the carpet had significantly degraded. Had I left it in a year or 2 more it would be gone.
rob
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