Landscape Platic to Control Weeds - Knowledgebase Question

Palmetto, Ge
Question by mcole02
May 30, 2010

Someone mentioned that using thick landscape plastic can control weeds in a garden. I'm skeptical because I believe it might impede plant growth. Also, it doesn't seem that water and air can seep through. Plus, it seems that puddles of water can remain under mulch, which can attract pests, mold, etc. I've looked at fabric and thin, porous plastic. What's best?

Answer from NGA
May 30, 2010


I'm really glad you asked! Just as you suspect, the heavy black plastic will impede plant growth, make it difficult to get adequate water to the roots of your plants and because it retains and radiates heat, can kill all the beneficial insects, earthworms and microbes in the soil. There are better products to use. Polyspun or woven landscape weed block fabric looks and feels like lightweight felt. It is porous so water can penetrate and it also encourage good air exchange which will help keep the soil healthy. It will last for many, many years. You can cut holes in it to accommodate your plants and you can cover over it with bark nuggets or shredded bark or some other mulch material to hide it. Another weed blocking product is a lighter weight plastic with thousands of tiny holes. It also suppresses weeds but it allows water and air to penetrate. It's less expensive but its lifespan is shorter than the landscape fabric. I use the fabric weed blocker and I really like it. Mine has been in place for 8 years without problem. Hope this information helps you decide which product best suits your needs.

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