The Q&A Archives: Use Of Landscape Fabric

Question: I am starting a new bed, under a locust tree with several bird feeders, using a few low bushes for bird shelter, some perennials and a small, pre-formed pond. I would like to know if landscape fabric would be a good choice under bark mulch. I am concerned with the sprouting of the fallen birdseed, wanting to control that as easily as possible.

Answer: In my experience, landscape fabric is only partly effective when used with an organic mulch. The seeds sprout and root across the top of the fabric just as they would along plastic. (The mulch helps keep the area moist and as it breaks down makes a perfect germination bed.) You might find that it is better to put the bird feeders on posts out in a nearby lawn area; this way squirrels and other animals will not be able to climb the tree and get into the feeders, the seed will drop onto an inhospitable area for germination and if it manages to germinate will be overcome by the lawn grass and the mower, and the birds will be safer from cats who might hide in the tree. Last but not least, this would let you put a bench under the tree where you could sit quietly in the shade and enjoy the view of the pond and the birds.

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