The Q&A Archives: Seeds And Landscape Fabric

Question: I have an area that is 12'x95' that is on a slight incline and difficult to mow. I am planning to use half for perennials and annuals and the other half for vegetables. After I prepare the area, I plan to put down landscape fabric then sow the seeds directly in the soil. I know I will have to cut the fabric and maybe fold it under in each spot that I sow seeds. My question is does this sound feasible and is there a specific procedure for sowing seeds with the use of landscape fabric? (I want to use the fabric because the area is too large to weed)

Answer: Lanscape fabric is generally suggested for areas with relatively permanent plantings such as trees and shrubs. When vegetables are planted, the soil is regularly reworked and the planting pattern changes, thus making the fabric impractical. Perennials and annuals also expand dramatically from their original size and tend to widen greatly at the crown, meaning the holes need to be enlarged to accommodate their growth. Both of these types of plantings require a soil that is constantly renewed and enriched by regular additons of organic matter -- aprocess whch is impeded by the fabric. Instead of fabric you should consider using a mulch, possible in combination with a layer of cardboard or newspaper beneath it. In addition to being easily reconfigured as needed, these materials will also break down and feed the soil over time.

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