Question about weed killing plastic.

Dirtmechanic

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In between my raised beds down here I put down landscaping cloth and will cover that with wood chips to keep the grass and weeds down and provide me a place I can walk when it is wet without getting muddy. I'm waiting on a call to go get the wood chips. They said they would call when they got a clean load of live oak chips but it may be time for a wheel to squeak some.

In Arkansas with a more traditional in-the-ground garden I'd spread wheat straw over several layers of newspaper or cardboard in between the rows to keep weeds down, give me a better pace to walk in wet weather, and to keep the dirt from splashing up on the plants. That dirt splashing up can carry blight and other diseases with it. The paper, straw, and cardboard would mostly compost in place and could just be tilled in the next year. An added advantage was that the areas I actually mulched between the rows like this usually kept enough mulch to stop new weeds and grass from growing until I was ready to till it in the next spring. That made preparing that area the next year much easier since I did not turn it under using a plow but instead used a shovel or mattock if I turned it.

In Arkansas I used wood chips over landscaping cloth in landscaping beds as mulch. Those wood chips were typically whatever utility companies ground up when trimming around utility lines. Those could be pine, oak, elm, maple, vines, or all kinds of trash trees. The chips would rot in place and make a good compost, though sometimes I would get some trash tree seeds. That compost made a great place for my Bermuda grass to spread to and grow in. So every year I'd pull up the landscaping cloth and clean it off, replacing with new chips. I'd use the rotted wood chips as mulch in my rows as the good woods were still in chip form. The following year they were tilled into the garden.
I have used both sawdust and woodchips in the walks also. Being hillrows, they would soak. I dug them out as compost and spread them about the yard. It is a great way to break chips and dust down fast!
 

catjac1975

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Back out a ways and look at it through the 1 inch per week rule. Here we are probably past 60" for the year. 52 weeks in a year also gives the nominal number for watering. One day last year we got 4.75" in one day. And...drum roll...we have clay. While splash is an issue, an oxidizing soil surface combined with a thyme oil spray has done pretty well for early blight and other garden nasties. I am on hill rows which helps also.

At this point I would like to introduce you to my problem of an average temperature of 90f for the summer, with evening temps in the 70s at a minimum. Its a fungus party mixture.
Wow!
 

ducks4you

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The idea of inhibiting surface moisture is so foreign to me. No such troubles in my northern garden.
OMG, in IL we have SO MUCH HUMIDITY that last summer I never filled up my horse's 100 gallon water tank more than once bc it was a super wet year! They were getting all the water they needed from pasture grass. Go figure! We get Lots of mold, mostly I see it on the north side of all my buildings's siding.
 

catjac1975

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OMG, in IL we have SO MUCH HUMIDITY that last summer I never filled up my horse's 100 gallon water tank more than once bc it was a super wet year! They were getting all the water they needed from pasture grass. Go figure! We get Lots of mold, mostly I see it on the north side of all my buildings's siding.
Live and learn.
 

ducks4you

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I wanted to do an update on this thread. Sorry, out of state, so no pictures. Last Spring, I mowed AND dug AND sawed down saplings that were growing underneath the canoe rack. I have ENOUGH to do to have to keep up with the weeds there, which are hard to get to. I also sprayed it completely with 2D-4 and then covered the whole area with plastic.
Here's the deal. NOTHING has grown underneath the plastic, which included old, plastic tablecloths and plastic shower curtains. I have put metal poles that I will sometime recycle to keep the plastic down. No sharp edges and no animals go there. As long as I leave the plastic there, Nothing will grow.
I love my tiller, BUT, in my studies when you till you Will bring up old seeds. Some common weed seeds will survive for decades. The only advice that I have seen (on a gardening show) is the Solarize your garden patch for 4-6 weeks prior to planting.
So, while most of us are growing very little, but planning a great deal, here are a few articles, just some "Food for Thought":
 

YourRabbitGirl

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I got a roll of heavy duty plastic to kill off the weeds in part of my garden. My question is, have you had better results with the ground wet or dry before putting it down?
Can plastic really kill those unneeded weeds? teach me how. I would really love to know.
 

ducks4you

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I would suggest cardboard and dumping compost on top of it. I have used plastic and it seems to create a nice greenhouse. ALSO, I read an article that said black plastic works best in zones 8 and above, but takes an entire season to sorta work if you live colder than there.
You could also put cardboard down, buy some straw for strawbale gardening and put That on top. End of season you can break apart the bales and let them decompose for 2021.
 
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flowerbug

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I would suggest cardboard and dumping compost on top of it. I have used plastic and it seems to create a nice greenhouse. ALSO, I read an article that said black plastic works best in zones 8 and above, but takes an entire season to sorta work if you live colder than there.
You could also put cardboard down, buy some straw for strawbale gardening and put That on top. End of season your can break apart the bales and let them decompose for 2021.
the problem i have with black plastic or any plastic is that eventually it starts crumbling and breaking down so you have to then remove it before it becomes a horrible mess to clean up. or you just resign yourself to leaving it there to continue breaking down, but i can't do that. i pick out pieces of plastic enough as it is to have to deal with yet more that is brought in and put down by the hundreds of square feet at a time. i shudder to think of what it is going to be like to have to clean this crud up in the future.
 

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