As we find ourselves in summer, many garden flowers are in full bloom. Colour and scent fill our outdoor spaces, and it’s the time of the year where landscape gardeners and domestic gardeners alike are reaping the benefits of weeks and months of preparation. Yet summer is prime weed-growth time too. And when gardeners are looking to eradicate these uninvited guests, they may weigh up the best weed control methods.
It’s well-known that weed control fabrics offer excellent protection against weeds. But when considering the pros and cons of landscape fabrics, some gardeners may look for alternatives. Here we look at potential alternatives to using landscape fabric to prevent weeds.
- Cardboard and newspaper In the quest for achieving an eco-friendly garden, some gardeners may look for plastic-free alternatives. Good quality weed control fabrics, such as Weedtex and Landtex, are made from polypropylene, making them a strong and long-lasting solution. Cardboard and newspaper are biodegradable options that will slowly break down and add nutrients to the soil. It’s a cheap option too. However, it can become a food source for unwelcome visitors, and because it breaks down, it will need replacing frequently. With that in mind, cardboard and newspaper are best used in beds that are often changed, such as vegetable patches. In other situations, a longer-lasting weed control fabric may prove the best option.
- Ground cover planting Ground cover planting, or close planting, involves introducing plants that form a low-level and dense cover to a plant bed. It prevents weeds (and other plants) from getting the light they need to grow by stealing their sunlight. Ground cover planting can be a good option for a low maintenance garden, as many ground cover plants, such as creeping juniper, don’t require much TLC to thrive. However, if you’re designing more elaborate planting schemes and don’t want your choices limited, a weed control fabric will defend against weed growth by depriving them of the light they need to grow but leaves gardeners free to make creative choices.
- Weed killers If you’re considering eco-friendly gardening options, then chemical weed killers are not a good alternative to weed control fabric. Not only can some of the chemicals be harmful to the environment, but they may also inadvertently kill off your cultivated plants and cause unintended damage to your garden. Natural herbicides can sometimes provide some protection against weed growth – although regular applications may be required.
- Plastic sheets
Those looking for a cheap alternative to landscaping fabrics might be tempted to lay sheets of plastic, or even bin bags, as a weed control method in plant beds. Plastic sheeting isn’t designed for weed control and will therefore never be a landscape fabric, meaning there’s no way for nutrients, water and air to maintain the goodness of the soil beneath. While common weeds won’t thrive, neither will your cultivated plants. Furthermore, plastic sheets may not provide the flexibility or strength of a specially designed landscape fabric . Professional landscape fabrics, such as Groundtex, also offer tear-resistance and are a heavier-duty option specially designed to control weeds.
- Burlap Natural burlap is a plastic-free alternative to a woven weed control fabric. Like professional landscape fabrics, burlap is porous, so it allows water into the soil. Eventually though, it will decompose, and so it isn’t as long-lasting a weed control solution as a purpose-made weed control fabric. When a heavy-duty landscape fabric is needed, burlap doesn’t make a good alternative as it simply doesn’t have the same strength.
With 20 years of experience in the landscape industry, Growtivation understands the needs of landscaping professionals and has concentrated on providing high-performance solutions with our Product That Works range.
Growtivation’s wide range of professional landscaping systems means we have the right solution for all common landscaping problems.
Find out more about the Growtivation Product That Works range by downloading our Product Guide and your free copy of our Landscaping That Works guide to weed control and geotextile fabrics. Our PledgeMark warranty certifies that our products are suitable for their intended use for your peace of mind and quality assurance.