What is landscape cloth?
To a gardener, landscape cloth is the most wonderful invention since sliced bread. Wow! That’s a powerful statement. And to a landscaper or a gardener, landscape cloth is a powerful yard tool. Installing landscape cloth, when doing any landscaping project, helps to eliminate the prospect of weeds growing up among the plants.
I love gardening, but I do not love pulling weeds. In order to protect the health of my family and the environment, I will not use any type of weed-killing sprays and/or herbicides on my property. Using landscape cloth allows me to enjoy gardening without the burden of pulling weeds.
There are many different manufacturers of landscape cloth. When shopping for landscape cloth, take into consideration the reputation of the maker of the product, and the number of years for which the landscape cloth is guaranteed to block weeds. For example, typically, a landscape cloth guaranteed for thirty years should outlast one that is only guaranteed for ten years. Landscape cloth is prepackaged and sold by the roll. Depending on the different brands, these rolls come in a variety of widths and lengths. Some are three foot wide, and some are four foot wide. Lengths of rolls vary from fifty-foot rolls to over two hundred-foot rolls. Guesstimate the amount you will need before purchasing, so you will have enough to complete the job.
When using landscape cloth, you must cover it with something, which is dense enough to block sunlight, since it will deteriorate if exposed to this light. Many landscapers use mulch. There are many different types of mulch available.
The most popular types of mulch used today tend to be the natural wood mulches, such as those derived from hardwood and cedar. Many homeowners, including myself, tend to shy away from using wood based mulches out of fear of termites. These products promise not to attract the pest, but I’ve never really been eager to take that chance.
So, if you are not ready to go the wood route, either, but you still want something natural in your yard, there are other natural mulch items available to you, such as lava rocks and gravel.
If you want an option that's really green, check out rubber mulch, which is made from recycled old tires.
I, personally, chose brick chips, as they were affordable, they matched the foundation on my home, they are environmentally friendly, they won’t decompose, they won’t fade in color, and they look nice.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to yard mulch. Do you own research, and choose what works best for you and your family in terms of cost, appearance, lifestyle, etc. Just make sure you have enough of some type of mulch to cover the landscape cloth after it has been installed.
How to Install Landscape Cloth
Before I install landscape cloth, I clean up the area by pulling any weeds or grass. Next, I lay out newspapers (use multiple sheets) to cover the area to further eliminate the growth of future weeds and grass. Now, it is time for the landscape cloth. When installing the landscape cloth, it is a good idea to overlap the edges for further protection against weeds. (Weeds are an ornery species, and if there is even a fraction of a space for them to stick their heads out, they will grow!) To keep the landscape cloth in place while working with it, use some type of heavy object, or specially designed anchor pegs/pins that you can purchase when you buy the landscape cloth. While installing the landscape cloth be careful not to tear it. If you do damage it, be sure to make a patch to cover the torn area.
Occasionally, you will find a weed trying to grow in the landscape cloth. No problem! Just gently pull on the weed, and it will come right out. Recently, some weeds spread into one of my border beds, and I was amazed when I went to pull them. They were growing in some grass clippings I was using for mulch in that bed, and when I pulled them, they were growing entirely on top of the landscape cloth. None of the roots had been able to invade the landscape cloth.
I have shrub beds surrounding my home, where I installed landscape cloth around the shrubs when they were planted. They have been in place for several years, and I have only had to pull the occasional weed from these beds. While it is extra work, doing the installation of the landscape cloth, it has been paying me big rewards over the years by not having to pull weeds. Also, I want to thank whoever invented this great product – thanks to you, I can enjoy gardening.
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Come back again soon to visit; read about the new products I have tried and my experiences with them. For years to come, you will be glad you installed a landscape cloth in your garden this year.
Photos courtesy of: Amazon.com