Landscape fabric is a new technology for keeping control of weeds in your flower beds. Unlike landscaping material (like black plastic), the landscaping fabric is porous. This quality allows the water, nutrients, and air to penetrate into the soil feeding the roots of the plants.
For those keeping a garden, or a thriving flower bed, the ability to stop weeds from growing is vital. Landscape fabric is one way to help cut down on weeds that can starve your plants of the nutrients they need. However, it is important to note that while landscaping fabric will help with weeds, it is not 100 percent effective. This can be due, in part, to mistakes during the installation process.
Have Enough Fabric
One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when installing landscape fabric is cutting the fabric too short. To get a perfect measurement, always lay the fabric over the area prior to cutting. Leave a little bit extra to trim after you install the fabric.
There are times when the the landscape fabric is not going to be long enough or wide enough to fit your flower bed. This is alright if you overlap the landscape fabric correctly. The common mistake is that people lay it out with no overlapping, or too small of an overlap overlap. Due to the ground moving, soil settling, and other factors, the fabric will move slightly. Keeping an overlap of 2 to 4 inches will ensure that the ground stays covered.
Not Staking to Ground
When installing your landscape fabric, make it a point to use the plastic fabric stakes to secure it to the ground. Many homeowners are in a rush to get the job done and forget this important step that is needed to keep it in place.
Smooth Ground Before Installing
While you can lay the landscaping fabric on any kind of ground, it is a mistake to think it will stay intact. As the ground freezes and thaws, it moves. Any twigs, rocks, and other debris that is on the ground when you install the landscape fabric will tear it. This gives weeds, slugs, and other things an open door to invade your garden.
To avoid this problem, smooth the ground with a rake and a hoe to get rid of anything that could tear it.
Making Holes For Plants Too Large
Once you have the fabric installed and ready for planting, you will need to cut tiny holes for the plants. A common mistake is to make the hole too large. Again, this is going to allow weeds and other pests to be able to germinate and invade your garden. Make the incision with a sharp utility knife or a pair of scissors, but cut it only a little larger than the stem. You can always cut away more as the plant grows.
Adding Too Much Mulch
Because it is porous, the landscape fabric allows water, air, and nutrients into the soil for the roots to be able to thrive. Having a 6-inch layer of mulch on top of it will severely hinder that. Also, weeds do not need that much of a foothold to get started. If your mulch is too deep, and compacted, weeds will begin to grow. Keep a 2 to 3-inch layer of fresh mulch over the soil.
Using these tips will give you a beautiful flower bed. It will also make your neighbors envious!