Weed Cloth-Anybody Use It?

baymule

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I have battled weeds since we moved here. I have big, tall, strapping, healthy weeds that take off and grow taller than I am. Plus I have all their smaller cousins that take up space down below, then I was cursed with wild or burr cucumbers that are on a mission to take over the world. I have laid down cardboard, mulched with wood chips, hay, chopped, pulled, and given up when the temps hit 100+ degrees and I lose interest due to impending heat stroke. I turn the sheep in the garden in the fall and they eat it down to nubs-to no avail.

So I am going to try weed cloth. I have studied the pros and cons and decided to spread sheep and chicken compost, till it in, smooth out the soil and roll out weed barrier cloth. I will burn holes in it to put plants in the soil, to prevent raveling. I will not put mulch over it, mulch decomposes, turns to soil, soil catches weed seeds, they sprout, puncture the weed barrier with roots and turns it into a mangled mess. I'll roll it up in the fall and store over the winter. meanwhile, I'll spread out sheep and chicken compost again, sow clover and turn that under the soil the following spring a few weeks before planting.

That is my master plan. I know plans can go awry, so does anybody have any pointers? Anybody ever use weed barrier cloth? Love it or hate it and why? My garden is 100'x70' I won't cover all of it, probable 1/2 to 2/3 to see how it goes.
 

Prairie Rose

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I wanted to use weed cloth last year, ended up using black plastic 'cloth' last year to get the bindweed in the veg bed under control. It was a game changer for me. Bought it and a couple of boxes of ground staples, rolled it out, overlapped the edges a few inches, pinned it down, and off I went! Where I needed to plant I just cut a hole in the plastic, popped in my plants, and mostly let them be.

I did set up drip irrigation because the plastic blocked rainwater from getting into the soil, and once the plants get so big it is a pain to shift them aside to water in their holes. A few minutes of weeding the holes every week, and that was it!

When I pulled it in the fall to clean out the beds and add compost, there were minimal bindweed roots to pull out. I added cardboard and straw to mulch the bed for winter, but this spring I will pin down my plastic right on top of those layers. The only con is that if you change your setup from year to year your plastic will only work one season, unless you can get it up without tearing and move it along your crop rotation. Not a big deal for me, my veg bed is only 4 by 16 and my $5 roll of plastic goes a long way. I also bought recyclable plastic, so I didn't feel guilty about discarding it.
 

baymule

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Weed barrier cloth seems to be a woven plastic. I've read where water goes through it and where it doesn't. Sounds like a crapshoot to me. I am just so sick and tired of weeds that I am going to give it a try. Thank you for your response, it gives me hope!
 

flowerbug

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we use a lot of it in perennial gardens and other places, but i'd rather not use it at all.

i don't use it in the vegetable gardens.

there are different types of it for sure as some seem to not allow much through and others do ok.

what i don't like about it is that it keeps the worms from being able to get to the surface.

i've renovated or turned about a dozen perennial gardens here into vegetable gardens (they were vegetable gardens at one time about 20yrs ago but were turned into flower gardens when Mom got tired of doing all the work herself) and there are rarely any worms in them to be found. in the decomposed wood chips and mulch up top of the weed barrier fabric i might find a few worms if the area is wet enough but in the drier gardens i won't normally find any at all.

in the vegetable gardens i don't use it because i often muliple crop or plant closely that having all those holes in there might be just like having nothing at all and also my desires to have easily rotated plantings without having to work around complications. i also don't like the idea of having yet more stuff to eventually have to throw away. the crumbling black plastic and various other things around here i have to deal with is plenty enough.

i've already had to deal with a lot of old weed barrier fabric that Mom just covered up because she didn't want to take it out as it was too much work. when i went through that space several years later i kept having to use the shovel to chop pieces of it out of the clay it was buried in. the carpetting she buried in there too was fun... arg... :)
 

dickiebird

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I've tried it a couple of times and hated both times.
Hard to plant through, not really reusable.

THANX RICH
 

Prairie Rose

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Yeah, I have cleaned out a few areas my mother thought it would be brilliant to use the landscape fabric type weed cloth in. It's not fun at all, and I don't want to do that to myself again. What I actually use on my veg bed is just plain black plastic. I don't know if it's because I am pinning it down on top of my fall mulch in the spring and taking it off in the fall, but I still had plenty of worms close to the surface.

I want to eventually just be able to use the cardboard and mulch like I do everywhere else, but I hate the bindweed more than I hate the plastic. I may use it one more year just to make a bigger dent in it, then go back to what I was doing before, which worked wonderfully until I let the bindweed get out of hand. I have read about close planting things to smother it out, but I did not go all in on testing it...might have to try that one in one of the flower beds this year.
 

flowerbug

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Yeah, I have cleaned out a few areas my mother thought it would be brilliant to use the landscape fabric type weed cloth in. It's not fun at all, and I don't want to do that to myself again. What I actually use on my veg bed is just plain black plastic. I don't know if it's because I am pinning it down on top of my fall mulch in the spring and taking it off in the fall, but I still had plenty of worms close to the surface.

I want to eventually just be able to use the cardboard and mulch like I do everywhere else, but I hate the bindweed more than I hate the plastic. I may use it one more year just to make a bigger dent in it, then go back to what I was doing before, which worked wonderfully until I let the bindweed get out of hand. I have read about close planting things to smother it out, but I did not go all in on testing it...might have to try that one in one of the flower beds this year.
the areas i'm talking about the fabric was in place for 10-15 years - it was mulched over with wood chips. once i've turned them back into gardens where i've been able to mix in organic materials then the worms eventually recover but it can take several years. i keep my worm farm going and use that to amend gardens so that will eventually get some worms in any gardens that need them.
 

baymule

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I’m not going to leave it down, I’ll roll it up in the fall. I’m not going to mulch over it either. I’ll still cardboard over some areas, I won’t cover the whole garden with weed cloth.
 

Prairie Rose

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the areas i'm talking about the fabric was in place for 10-15 years - it was mulched over with wood chips. once i've turned them back into gardens where i've been able to mix in organic materials then the worms eventually recover but it can take several years. i keep my worm farm going and use that to amend gardens so that will eventually get some worms in any gardens that need them.
Ours weren't that bad...just places where we used to have boardwalk style paths on gravel from the driveway to the back door to the old shed. When the shed finally got torn down and we changed the walkways around the house, they just put some mulch on top of it and left it for about 8 years. It's great that you have a worm farm! My family drew the line at worms...I can have as many bees as I want, but no worms ;)
 

henless

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I have weed cloth, but I use it as a shade cloth for my chicken run. :idunno

I would try the black plastic to help get rid of the weeds. Run some irrigation under and plant through the plastic. Or, try a small section with the black plastic and another section with the weed cloth and see which one works better.
 

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