The Q&A Archives: Garden Ground Cover

Question: I recently bought a house, and the garden was over ran with weeds, I pulled them out and trim the plants. It looks like there is black plastic lining the garden and some kind of mulch looks like tree bark. I wish to improve the soil and ground cover. Do I remove the old mulch, to replace with new mulch,or should I add new mulch on top of old. And can I remove the plastic and replace with landscapers fabric.

Answer: You're certainly on the right track with your thoughts about removing the plastic and replacing it with weed barrier (landscape fabric)! Black plastic does suppress weeds, but it can also sterilize the soil because no water or air can move through the plastic. It isn't a healthy product at all. I'd rake the mulch into a big pile and remove the black plastic. Lay some weed barrier over the soil and top with the mulch. Then you can add a fresh topping of mulch material to make it look fresh and new. Best wishes with your new landscape!

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