The Q&A Archives: Landscape cloth in a weedy community garden

Question: Hello,

I have a LARGE plot in a community garden. This area is weed heaven. It has been difficult to keep up with the weeding and this year I want to use a landscape cloth to help. I will plant through the cloth, leave it for the growing season and then remove it in fall. Does this sound like it will work? How will the soil drainage be effected?

Answer: The weed cloth should be water and air permeable fabric, so drainage should not change. Another option might be to use several layers of newspaper, overlapped at the edges to exclude light, and covered with a generous layer of organic mulch. This should block weed growth and can be turned under in the fall before planting a winter cover crop or in the spring as a source of additional organic matter. This has the added benefit of increasing the organic matter in your soil. When you use fabric, it slows the breakdown of the mulch so you lose that benefit to using organic mulch. In either case, you will need to fluff and/or refresh the mulch periodically to prevent seedlings from germinating in the mulch.

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