Landscape fabric is a common item sold at many gardening and hardware stores. But that doesn’t mean you should be rushing out to stock up on it for your garden. In this tip, we’ll cover the things you should be looking for and when you should and shouldn’t consider using it.

First off, if you do decide to use landscape fabric, look for a thick, woven professional grade material so that it will last for many years. Avoid plastic or non woven fabric which can suppress air and water penetration into the soil and your plants.

The main times when you’ll want to use landscape fabric is if you have a brand new garden that will be primarily composed of woody shrubs, ornamental grasses, and tough perennials. Ensure you have enough space to add 3 inches of wood mulch on top of it. This, and to keep digging dogs out of your garden will be the primary reasons to use landscape fabric in your garden.

Otherwise, there aren’t too many reasons to be using landscape fabric in your garden. It doesn’t make for an appealing environment for earthworms, plant roots grow on top of the fabric rather than anchoring deep into the soil, and it can be expensive and time consuming to install.

Instead of landscape fabric, we suggest using a thick layer of wood chip mulch with regular weeding especially in the first year.

Cover Image by Brian Rock, used under its Creative Commons license.

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