Plastic, burlap, screen to prevent weeds

I have used that black cloth looking stuff to lay down before I add mulch. THis works for about a month before weeds start growing through it. Last time, I used heavy plastic and the weeds did not penetrate for nearly 8 months. I concerned this is not good for my landscaped area - I think the ground should be allowed to breathe. Is there anything good and safe I can lay down before I add my mulch?
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mulch will kill or prevent growth from seeds. it sounds like you need ot kill already living *plants* before covering the area.
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Forget the landscape fabric of whatever description. It doesn't really deter the weeds and it only makes them tougher to remove.
Manually remove all the weeds you can see - a hula or circle hoe works well or one of those long pick things for dandelions and other taprooted pests. Apply corn gluten meal according to package directions - it's a natural pre-emergent herbicide - and then top with a 2-3 inch layer of mulch. The corn gluten/mulch combo should keep weeds under control for about 6 months, which is about the best you can expect. Annual weeds which may seed themselves into the mulch are easily pulled out. Unless your garden is so heavily planted that weeds are choked out, you should be prepared to do seasonal weeding - there really aren't too many other ways around it.
pam - gardengal
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Newspaper. 5-6 sheets per layer, overlap them well. Keep a hose handy to wet them down so they don't blow away as you are applying. It works well to suppress most weeds, and over time decomposes into the soil. Also has the advantage of being free.
Cheers, Sue
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Zone 6, South-central PA
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I've had wonderful success with newspapers and mulch. I used at least 7 to 9 layers of newspapers and 2 to 3 inches of mulch. I live in zone 10 in Florida and I just have to pick an occasional weed once in a while. I've used the black stuff and also thick white plastic (which the snails seem to love for some reason) and the newspaper method is the only that actually works.
Barb C.

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