The Q&A Archives: ground cover

Question: i have a garden area in front of my building about 8'x25' and it is full of weeds. i have gotten rid of what i could pull up and want to plant 3 trees in that area evenly spaced (juniper, cypress and a floering plum) they all get good sun, and inbetween the trees i want 2 rose bushes. my question after all that is i have put down a black 4mil visqueen and left openings for the plants, then put bark covering the plastic. do i ned somethin with holes init or what?

Answer: Once you have pulled the weeds, you can keep them from returning if you lay newspaper over the area (3-4 pages thick) and then cover the entire bed with a weed barrier. Weed barries have tiny holes in them which allows water to penetrate and promotes an exchange of air. 4-mil plastic does not allow rainwater to penetrate or air to circulate so it's not as good a material to use. After you've anchored the weed barrier down on all the edges of the bed you can plant by cutting a big "X" and folding the material back, then digging a hole for your tree. Place the soil you remove from the planting hole on a tarp, set your tree into the hole, then backfil with the soil from the tarp. You won't need to amend the soil or add anything to the planting hole. Once everything is planted, water well to exclude any air pockets around the roots and to help settle the soil. After you've finished installing your plants, you can use a decorative mulch such as rocks or bark to cover the weed barrier.

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