Daylilies forum: Nursery Cloth Question. Help needed

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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 8, 2014 9:29 AM CST
Nursery cloth question

Several months ago, we purchased some nursery cloth from Home Depot, and placed a four foot wide strip of it over the new pathway to our front door. After which, I placed several layers of pine straw on top of it.

That section of the yard happens to have an infestation of nutgrass, so I was curious to see what would happen. Sure enough, a few (very few, in fact) bits of nutgrass began to make their way through it.

I learned that if you pull them up quickly, they come up easily, but if you wait too long, they try to pull the nursery cloth with them.

I looked up nursery cloth and found a site that sells four ft wide strips a hundred feet long, complete with markings every foot - just like some of the hybridizers us.

Question: does this cloth come in different grades, in terms of weed control, and if so, how does that work?

A sincere thank you to any expert help I can get. We’re going to completely re-do about three hundred feet of beds this fall, and the first thing to go down will be nursery cloth, so I want to get the best I can afford.

John

PS I started to enter this rather long post live on the board, but just when the time came to hit the ‘preview’ button, I lost every thing. Bill Gates has a LOT to answer for, in my not so humble opinion.
John
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Jul 8, 2014 9:55 AM CST
I'm not an expert, but I'm interested in hearing responses to this question as well. I've had no luck with weed barriers, at all...ever. I'm almost convinced they're just pathway surfaces, and that the nurseries use an herbicide over top to effectively control weed growth and sprouts.

I'm all ears!
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jul 8, 2014 10:03 AM CST
I used a commercial grade weed barrier several years ago and still got weeds. Once the weeds put roots through the barrier it is very hard to pull them out.
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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 8, 2014 10:55 AM CST
Hemlady said:I used a commercial grade weed barrier several years ago and still got weeds. Once the weeds put roots through the barrier it is very hard to pull them out.


Excuse me for being picky, but your wording implies that the weeds were on top of the barrier, growing down, as opposed to growing up through them. Or did I read you incorrectly.

It's been about six months for our test path, and so far only the nut grass and come through it from underneath.

During this year's Daylily Mecca here in central Florida, I took a very careful look at several gardens that used nursery cloth. Especially, Ted Petit, John Peat, and Ladybug Nursery.

the only weeds I saw were those that peeked up around the edges of the cloth, or in places where two strips of cloth weren't overlapped.
John
Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Jul 8, 2014 11:03 AM CST
The commercial grade nursery cloth only comes in one grade that I know of. There are grasses that will make it's way through it. Any bit of mulch, sand, dirt, etc will allow weed seeds that get on the cloth to grow and those roots will weave it's way down into the cloth as well. It really helps a lot but you still have to keep an eye out for things coming through and growing on top of the cloth.
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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 8, 2014 11:19 AM CST
tink3472 said:The commercial grade nursery cloth only comes in one grade that I know of. There are grasses that will make it's way through it. Any bit of mulch, sand, dirt, etc will allow weed seeds that get on the cloth to grow and those roots will weave it's way down into the cloth as well. It really helps a lot but you still have to keep an eye out for things coming through and growing on top of the cloth.


Which is why I used pine straw - there's nothing in it that will help seeds germinate.

When we start our new beds, they'll be totally clear of weeds etc, and at least half filled with Black Kow, which is promoted as 97% seed free. Several years' observation leads me to believe that claim is accurate.
John
Name: Larry
Augusta, GA area (Zone 8a)
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LarryW
Jul 8, 2014 3:17 PM CST
I’ve used three different types of weed cloth (none that have been called “commercial” grade) for under walkway applications. The four types of weeds that I fight are wild violet, wild onion, crab grass and clover. My first attempt was with a woven cloth and that was a complete failure. Weeds, particularly pointy ones like wild onion grew up through it and weed seed was also able to work down to it though the mulch and germinate on top of the cloth. The second type was with a perforated plastic material. This cloth was relatively successful with only a few weeds showing up at the edges of the cloth where I didn’t do a good enough job of stretching it out all the way to the edge of the area covered. There was a problem, however. Apparently the perforations were so small that little moisture actually went through the cloth and into the ground. When I used it on an area where there was a slope, rain water ran to the low side and in some of our southern thunder storms where a huge amount of rain hit the ground in a short length of time, some of the mulch (ground wood mulch) floated away. The third type of weed cloth I used for the first time this year, so only short term effectiveness can be judged. This cloth is not a plastic sheet and is not woven, but more of what I would call “air laid.” I use this term because there are definitely long fibers in it, but they are in the fabric randomly, so it is not formed like paper were fibers are more aligned. There use to be some larger envelopes which used plastic fibers made through air-laid technology that looked something like this but were non-porous – and extremely tough. You could cut that material with a scissors or a knife, but you could not tear it. This weed cloth is also a bit thicker than the other two types. Anyway, so far this has worked very well for keeping weeds down and allows water to pass though it quite easily. Sorry, I don’t have brand names or manufacturer names to offer.
I have used pine straw in the past, but it does not hold up well for me in walkway applications. It breaks down into short pieces and compacts. By the second year, there is definitely a build-up of fine material on the surface of the cloth where roots can take hold. I imagine if you use enough pine straw on the walkway and add more every year as the older straw decomposes, it will build up a tight layer that would not support seed growth.
Larry
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Jul 8, 2014 4:15 PM CST
I use cardboard boxes cut open and laid down flat on the ground and then lay weed cloth over that and then wood mulch as the final touch for my paths. Seems to work well except where 2 pieces of cardboard meet if I don't overlap them. Weed seeds DO however grow on TOP in the mulch. Weeds are tough and many can grow in just about ANY kind of situation. I find my biggest problem is the seeds blowing around and landing in areas I want to keep weed free and then sprouting. For those, I just do regular pulling before the roots get too deep to actually get out.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Jul 8, 2014 7:50 PM CST
Weeds grow in the barrier from the top and the bottom John. Weed seeds are constantly being transported by the wind and once they fall on the barrier they do start growing. Not much one can do about it. Once they get in the barrier their roots dig in below it and they are really hard to get out.
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Name: Arlene
Ponce Inlet, FL (Zone 9a)
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florange
Jul 9, 2014 6:28 AM CST
I use the commercial weed cloth around the daylily boxes and cover it with bark. It lasts about 4 yr and then needs to be replaced. Never any weeds in that area. The commercial stuff is much heavier than anything the big box stores sell, and it is the same product that the hybridizers use in their gardens.
Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 9, 2014 7:11 AM CST
florange said:I use the commercial weed cloth around the daylily boxes and cover it with bark. It lasts about 4 yr and then needs to be replaced. Never any weeds in that area. The commercial stuff is much heavier than anything the big box stores sell, and it is the same product that the hybridizers use in their gardens.


Thank you.


Do you use a local source or buy it on line?
John
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Jul 9, 2014 7:41 AM CST
I get mine on line from Growers Supply.

contactusat@GrowersSupply.com

May be cheaper places, but this is a good place to deal with. Order the catalogue, anyway, neat stuff.
[Last edited by PollyK - Jul 9, 2014 7:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
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Hemlady
Jul 9, 2014 9:33 AM CST
I got my weed barrier at Lowe's and it was very heavy but still got weeds.
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Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
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tink3472
Jul 9, 2014 9:49 AM CST
I buy mine from BWI locally. If you have places like feed and seed or even local nurseries you could see if they sell it or can order it in for you. I have bought mine from the feed and seed place but now buy it from where they buy it so I cut out the middle man. I use the commercial grade but still have to fight with certain grasses growing through and weeds just not like if I didn't have it laid down.
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Name: John
Marion County, Florida (Zone 9a)
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farawayfarmer
Jul 9, 2014 9:57 AM CST
tink3472 said:I buy mine from BWI locally. If you have places like feed and seed or even local nurseries you could see if they sell it or can order it in for you. I have bought mine from the feed and seed place but now buy it from where they buy it so I cut out the middle man. I use the commercial grade but still have to fight with certain grasses growing through and weeds just not like if I didn't have it laid down.


BWI?
John
Name: Michele
Cantonment, FL zone 8b
Seller of Garden Stuff Region: United States of America Pollen collector Dragonflies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Florida
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tink3472
Jul 9, 2014 10:15 AM CST
John, BWI sells professional products like fertilizer, chemicals, nursery pots, etc. you don't have to be a professional or have a nursery license to buy from them. Here is the link to their locations http://www.bwicompanies.com/ContactUs.aspx
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Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Xenacrockett
Jul 9, 2014 10:21 AM CST

If I were to invest in nursery cloth, and wanted nothing to come through it, I would put down newspaper, about 6 sheets deep and overlapping over the area to be covered.
This would be after any vegetation in that area had been cut short.

Then I'd put down the cloth, anchor and cover with any mulch or stepping stones.



Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
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Hemlady
Jul 9, 2014 10:23 AM CST
I did very similar to that Pat. I put cardboard though instead of newspaper, then the cloth, and then wood chips on top. Still got weeds. I gave up and just hand pull now. It's a lot of work but at least I know I am getting them out.
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Jul 9, 2014 10:49 AM CST
When I use the cardboard and weed cloth, it does cut down considerably on the grass/weeds that now come up. But I have never been able to get a weed-free path .... ever. But what I do get only takes a few moments to pull any weeds that may have emerged through the cardboard cracks and the weed barrier. I do that weed pulling about once a week. My hope is that eventually those weeds will die after being pulled so many times! Confused Thumbs up
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Xenacrockett
Jul 9, 2014 10:56 AM CST

Forgot to mention, you wet the newspaper so it makes a dense mat, then cover it with the cloth or mulch.
Here, not much if anything will come through the newspaper for a long time.

I've gotten free mulch from the companies trimming along the power line...not the fanciest, but it has worked in the past.
Have also used that free mulch to slow erosion or lighten clay soil.

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