How to use Landscape Fabric
The Landscape Fabric Myth
Everyone wants the low maintenance landscape, where they get to enjoy it with very little upkeep.
Many people claim that landscape fabric is the answer to your prayers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Whilst initially this is the case, in the long term, landscape fabric will fail to keep your landscape weed free.
What is the reason for this?
Landscape Fabric was originally designed for use in agriculture. The farmers lay the fabric down in the spring, plant in it for one growing season, and then remove it in the fall. This process is repeated every year.
Homeowners saw this fabric and decided it was the answer to preventing weeds etc.
Why doesn’t Fabric work in a landscape?
Fabric will keep weeds down for a while, but not forever. The reason for this is because there are two types of weeds; ones that grow on fabric and others that grow through fabric. That is why Landscape fabric eventually fails as a weed barrier.
Unfortunately more and more landscapers are adding it all the wrong places.
Landscape Fabric under Mulch
Mulch is good as it helps to add nutrients back into the soil over time. You can also turn the mulch into the soil before re-applying fresh mulch every year or two. Many landscapes I have been to over the years I have come across have fabric under mulch
Whats wrong with Fabric under Mulch?
When watering mulch, nutrients from the mulch are taken into the soil, if fabric is put down, the water is unable to get directly into the soil or to the plants and the `nutrients are washed away.
Fabric often has a smooth shiny texture to it, even with several inches of mulch on top, eventually the mulch moves around leaving patches of fabric showing and your bed looking a mess.
Once weeds set in to your planting bed, the fabric can add strength to the roots making weeding a nightmare and weeds able to grow back quicker as you are unable to remove the entire weed successfully.
Landscape Fabric under brick pavers
I have found that usually fabric is only installed under brick as a means to dig out less soil. Some installers claim that laying fabric down under the brick will prevent weeds and settling. Through many years of paver installation and repair, I can honestly say this does not work on any level.
Why Fabric under Brick wont work.
If brick is being installed correctly then all organic matter, soil etc needs to be removed. Organics don’t compact will and over time will compromise any patio, driveway etc. Landscape fabric wont stop this from happening. What it will do, is once your patio/walkway starts to fall apart, make repairing it ten times harder. The reason for this is that to fix the problem you have remove the fabric etc and compact the area properly. This is almost impossible to without lifting the entire brick area and installing properly with out soil and fabric.