Landscape Fabric Sucks

Hey y’all! Today’s blog is an educational RANT! I HATE LANDSCAPE FABRIC UNDER MULCH! Hate, hate, hate it! It’s OK under stone, though.

Look at these epic fails…

Research shows that 90% of people who purchase landscape fabric are dullards! These nimrods believe it will prevent weeds! Sure, it will probably prevent weeds for the first year, but not the following year. Weed seeds will happily germinate atop the decaying mulch. Check out that photo on the right…weeds galore!

Another reason to avoid fabric is that it actually prevents the underlying soil from improving via the incorporation of decayed organic matter. After years of mulching, your clay soil will actually improve dramatically because that organic matter gets blended into the top few inches of soil. Moles and earthworms assist in the process. If you’re not a lousy gardener, the planting activity blends the organic matter into the clay. The topsoil in my garden is outstanding, with 8% organic matter. It’s BLACK, not brown.

Fabric will also prevent rhizomatous perennials from spreading. Daylily clumps won’t enlarge beyond the hole that was cut in the fabric. Groundcovers like pachysandra will languish.

Nothing says, “I’m stupid!” better than the photo below…

Weed Fabric 1

I sure hope you ain’t stupid!




4 thoughts on “Landscape Fabric Sucks

  1. I totally agree. In my many years(40) experience I cannot tell you how often I &/or my landscape crews have removed weed fabrics & black plastic edging from peoples landscapes. These products are a waste of time, money, & resources to manufacture(petroleum). They cheapen the look of your landscape too. Stay away from unnatural plastics in a natural setting. And red mulches, Yuck! You are not a KFC!
    Keep up the good work Jeff on providing the general public common sense, simple, timely, & cost effective information that most people don’t even think about or are aware of.


  2. I forgot to include in my earlier reply that one of the main problems with these weed fabric products is they do not allow for air flow & water evaporation to occur quickly enough thus starving the soil & plant roots of oxygen (anaerobic conditions). The fabric may allow slow percolation of water but during heavy downpours I have seen water sheet across the top, washing away the mulch especially on a slope, and filling up a slit/hole in the fabric where a plant is located thus drowning the plant. As Jeff mentions, the mulch helps add organic matter which improves the clay soils we have in St. Louis. This clay soil never has a chance to dry out underneath these weed barrier fabrics. They were designed only to use under decorative gravel areas as a soil separator to keep gravel cleaner longer. But weed seeds will eventually germinate on top when just a little silt layer accumulates on top in a couple of years.


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