Preventing Weeds From Growing Between The White Marble Chips - Knowledgebase Question

Washington, MD
Avatar for mlochte95
Question by mlochte95
April 3, 2001
I have a small garden with white marble chip rocks separating the plants...I chose this for easthetics rather than using mulch...I understand there is something which can be put down on the ground before laying the marble chips to prevent weeds from growing up between the rocks. I plan on removing the marble chips if necessary to do whatever it takes to keep the weeds out...weeding through the stoones is a difficult process. I have also conversely considered just putting down whatever and then another layer of marble chips.

I had heard that laying newspaper or plastic bags down will keep weeds from growing but with plastic bags I would be concerned about water absorption and run off.

Can you provide advise?

PS..There is no DC in your state drop down list.

Answer from NGA
April 3, 2001
Black plastic is not recommended around plants because it keeps both air and water from reaching into the soil.

Newspaper or a layer of cardboard will work for a certain period of time to prevent weeds from germinating, but eventually it will rot away and need to be replaced.

Some gardeners use a weed barrier fabric under gravel, it is specially made to be porous. While it will stop weeds from growing up through it, it will not stop seeds from germinating in the surface gravel. (Neither will newspaper.)

The gravel combined with bits of leaves and so on that work their way into the gravel make a perfect germination bed. The gravel can be raked periodically to disturb the seeds that land in it, or the area can be treated with a pre-emergent herbicide. Corn gluten or a commercially formulated product may be used.

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