Zone 5 (Southern New England).
While renovating a flower bed a previous owner had put in, but it's my
first time, so and I'm wondering whether to use landscape fabric to
prevent weeds, or just go with mulch instead. Any opinions?
If I put landscape fabric I'd probably put a layer of much to hide the
How does one go about fertilizing and amending the soil if fabric is
used? I've read it's beneficial to lay down a few inches of shredded
leaves before winter sets in and I'm wondering if that means landscape
fabric would be more trouble than it's worth? Is it supposed to be
removed and replaced every so often?
FWIW, the lawn that's near this flower bed has weeds -- all kinds, I can
identify only dandelion, clover and maybe creeping charlie.
My cousin lived here before I bought the house from my Mother. He had a
landscaping business and put landscape fabric everywhere. Darn near
impossible to plant anything as the stuff is impossible to put a shovel
through and a pain to get down on hands and knees to cut with a knife.
Besides, the weeds and grass grow on top of the stuff, anyway. It was
popular in Arizona where I lived for a while and it only kept the weeds away
for a year or two and then they grew in the dirt that had settled on top of
the stuff. I would never use it and wish I could figure some way to remove
Landscape fabric has small pin holes that allow water & nutrients to
pass through but too small for roots. It does a good job to prevent
weeds from sprouting underneath, but does not stop running weeds/
grasses from coming over the top. However those are easy to pull out
since they cannot take root in the fabric. A thin layer of pine straw
over the fabric hides it, holds it in place, and takes longer to
compost into soil.
I'd vote for mulch, which will not only keep down the number of weeds but
also make any that come up very easy to remove. My problem with landscape
cloth is as someone else has written, once it's down it's not that easy to
add new plants, transplant out of the bed, etc., plus you still have to
mulch over it.
You'll want to have several inches of mulch, and you'll have to renew it
occasionally. I have a fairly extensive garden area, so I have the electric
company, tree trimmers, etc., dump their good wood chips at my place -- I
get the free mulch and they don't have to take them to the dump or pay for
Thanks TomG, Red and JimR.
This time I did go with the landscape fabric (I had already bought it
and cut it out...). It certainly made placing plants a little difficult
although, it may have been my inexperience in using it.
For some sections (e.g. where the annuals are) I had to cut out chunks
for the fabric to get the bunch in easily. Next year I plan to add some
bulbs and I think the fabric would just make it more difficult than
I've done both, and generally regret everywhere I used landscape
fabric. It makes any changes a pain, I think it makes a lot of water
run off rather than soak in, and ends up costing $$$. I used it in a
bed or two up front that basically had 3 big hostas all by themselves,
and I didn't want anything else. The edges poke up after freezing, and
the bark mulch slides around.
The other beds I just used a couple of inches of mulch, and they look
just as good. And if I decide to add plants, I just brush the mulch
aside, plant, and brush back.
Unless you are talking about a *permanent* bed for a couple of large
shrubs that will never see anything else, skip the fabric.
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