Should I keep plastic sheeting around newly planted shrubs or tear out? - Knowledgebase Question

Question by abennett7
May 26, 2008
I just planted some shrubs (bayburrys, Japanese dwarf junipers, a bird's nest yew and a blue montgomery). I then put plastic sheeting on the ground, all around the plants, as I was having problems with weeds. I am ready to put small rocks down over the plastic, but (as I am new to owning a yard!), I am now reading that plastic sheeting is not a good idea, as it may not allow enough water through to the plant roots. I also have some kind of a pine tree (15 ft tall, with soft needles) that I have also covered in the same area. I gave the tree a collar of dirt around it, with a diameter of 5 feet, with three feet of plastic all around that, but I am afraid I may harm the tree with the plastic. I do not want to mulch it each year, as disposal of old mulch where I live is not easy. What do you recommend? Should I tear the plastic off and start over? Do I need some kind of a sheeting below the rocks- like one that will do a better job of letting water through to the plants? Thank you!

Answer from NGA
May 26, 2008


Experts no longer recommend plastic sheeting. You can read more on the topic at the National Gardening Association's website:

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