Landscape Fabric | Weed Membrane A Step-by-Step Buy Guide

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Landscape Fabric
A comprehensive guide for landscape fabric types, fuction, pros and cons, a step by step guide for installion and buy landscape fabrics tips.

I. What is landscape fabric? What does it do?

Landscape fabric, also called weed fabric or garden fabric, is a kind of non-woven or woven fabric that prevents weeds from growing. It prevents sunlight from shining through the ground to the weeds below, controlling the photosynthesis of weeds, and thus controlling the growth of weeds. Landscape fabric is a weed control fabric and widely used for weed barriers in garden seedlings, flowers, orchards (strawberry, fig, dragon fruit, etc.), herbal planting, greenhouses and other fields.

Gardeners laying anti weed membrane on fruit trees
P1 - Gardeners laying anti weed membrane on fruit trees

Weed barrier fabric plays an important role in gardening work and is the best way to deal with tricky dandelions and blackberries.

1. Landscape fabric is recognized as the most effective method of weed control, laying it around bushes and trees to block sunlight and prevent weeds from photosynthesizing, thus achieving the purpose of weed control. The woven structure makes him permeable and breathable, which maintains the moisture of the soil and allows efficient absorption of nutrients from the roots of plants without the use of harmful pesticides such as herbicides.

2. In nursery cultivation, the landscape cloth can prevent the root system of crops in pots from penetrating the bottom of the pots and burrowing into the ground, thus ensuring the quality of potted flowers. The landscape fabric is woven with marker lines, so when placing pots or arranging cultivation substrate, it can be arranged accurately according to the marker lines, which is beneficial to cultivation management.

Weed block fabric for nursery
P2 - Weed block fabric for nursery

3. When it has been used in greenhouses, weed cloth keeps the ground clean and reduces moisture inside. It also prevents weeds and diseases.

In addition, the weed control membrane can be further perforated and processed, and the aperture, plant spacing and row spacing can be customized to make plant cultivation more time-saving and labor-saving.

II. Why is landscape fabric becoming popular? And its Pros and Cons.

Along with the increasing cost of manual labor and the modern society’s emphasis on green and organic, in such an environmental background, anti-weed fabric is put into use subsequently. Landscape fabrics have a once-investment, multi-year payback feature which made it becoming more and more popular.

Pros:

i. Environmentally Friendly.

This physical barrier is simpler and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods of weed control using chemicals or sprays. Even pesticides that claim to be harmless can be harmful to the crops you grow and the land in the area where it is sprayed. In addition, pesticides can run into rivers or seep into the ground with rainwater, which further endangers the ecological health of the area.

Stop chemicals or sprays
P3 - Stop chemicals or sprays

ii. Efficient.

You may have chosen to pull weeds by hand, or weed with the help of a machine. But usually after a few weeks, you will have to repeat the process because of the vigorous growth of the weeds. With landscape fabric mulching, this concern will no longer exist for a few years.

iii. Erosion Control.

After mulching with landscape fabric, the soil will remain under it, isolating it from the washout of heavy rainfall and making it difficult to form sheet flow. It also blocks erosion from high winds, keeping the soil firmly underneath it.

iv. Excellent Permeability.

You never have to worry about water collecting on the top of the material, for impermeable mulch that can cause fungus or mold during the rainy season. Breathable and moisturizing, good for crop roots. The woven structure of the landscape fabric keeps some air circulation in the mulched soil while blocking out sunlight and maintaining soil moisture, which is very beneficial for crop root growth.

The best landscape fabric permeability
P4 - The best landscape fabric permeability

Cons:

i. Fertilizer Applications are Difficult.

It is more difficult to apply fertilizer after the landscape fabric is laid.

ii. Non-biodegradable.

Landscape fabrics made of PP and PE do not degrade easily, and the life span of landscape fabrics with anti-aging and UV is up to 4-6 years, after which the fabrics will become brittle and fragile. The crumbly landscape fabric is difficult to degrade in the soil, and will cause environmental and soil pollution.

III. Types of landscape fabrics

Choosing the right landscape fabric for your garden or lawn is critical, and our plastic weed barrier is a low-cost, high quality option.

Below you will find a comparison of the characteristics of various landscape fabrics to help you make a more informed decision about the right landscape structure for your needs. There are several common types of landscape fabrics.

i. PP Woven Fabric

PP woven fabric is the most common type of landscape fabric. It is typically made from polypropylene filaments attached to a web weave, which is a durable material that is UV stabilized and stays in the sun for up to 5 years (longevity depends on many factors including temperature, application, exposure and moisture specific to the area of installation). It is typically black or green and is marked every 12 inches on the product for easy potting plant liner and large installations. It is so strong that a person can walk on it without tearing it.

PP woven landscape fabric
P5 - PP woven landscape fabric

The landscape weave is covered with tiny holes that allow water, air and some nutrients to flow into the soil to nourish the desired plants. But at the same time, it prevents weed seeds from germinating in the soil or taking root from above the soil because it blocks sunlight and fits snugly into the ground.

Perforated landscape fabric, often used in vegetable gardens. This is an inexpensive and lightweight design with pre-cut holes or holes designed where plants need to be placed. Perforated landscape fabrics do not suffocate the roots and are easily replaced, so they are often used in gardens where plants are placed evenly and replaced frequently.

Weed barrier with precut holes
P6 - Weed barrier with precut holes

Perforated landscape fabric have a smooth touch on one side and a fuzzy felt on the other. The glossy lines are used to help measure and line up the planting, and the felt on the bottom helps inhibit weed penetration through the fabric. Therefore, the fuzzy felt side should be down to touch and grip the soil and hold the landscape fabric in place.

Wide range of applications. PP woven fabric can be used as artificial grass, vegetable beds, flower beds, ground covers and gardens in heavier dynamic and static load hardscape projects, such as the base of a driveway, by spreading the load over a larger area to add additional separation, filtration and reinforcement strength to the base.

White landscape fabric for soilless cultivation and crops with-reflective requirements
P7 - White landscape fabric for soilless cultivation and crops with-reflective requirements

DIY size. It is usually sold in rolls, so it is easy to cut to the desired length and is not easily wrinkle-free. Regular sizes are shown below.

Item No. Size Weight Weight Color Package
PN-LF1350 1.3 ft. x 50 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 3 packs/case or rolls
PN-LF0324 3 ft. x 24 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 2 packs/case or rolls
PN-LF0350 3 ft. x 50 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 2 packs/case or rolls
PN-LF03100 3 ft. x 100 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black Rolls
PN-LF03250 3 ft. x 250 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF03300 3 ft. x 300 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF0410 4 ft. x 10 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 3 packs/case or rolls
PN-LF0450 4 ft. x 50 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 2 packs/case or rolls
PN-LF04100 4 ft. x 100 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF04200 4 ft. x 200 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF04250 4 ft. x 250 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF04300 4 ft. x 300 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF05100 5 ft. x 100 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF05250 5 ft. x 250 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF0650 6 ft. x 50 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 2 packs/case or rolls
PN-LF06100 6 ft. x 100 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF06300 6 ft. x 300 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF065300 6.5 ft. x 300 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz, 5.8oz, 6.3oz 90g, 140g, 165g, 180g Black, White, Orange Rolls
PN-LF12530 12.5 ft. x 30 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 1 pack/case or rolls
PN-LF12554 12.5 ft. x 54 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 1 pack/case or rolls
PN-LF12560 12.5 ft. x 60 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 1 pack/case or rolls
PN-LF8225 8.2 ft. x 25 ft. 3.2oz, 5oz 90g, 140g Black 2 packs/case or rolls

ii. Burlap Woven Fabric

Burlap is a tightly woven fabric made of 100% percent jute. It has been around for a long time and it is very unique. Burlap fabric is strong and biodegradable, so it is environmentally friendly.

Burlap Woven Fabric
P8 - Burlap Woven Fabric

Burlap fabric is highly permeable, so air and water can easily reach the soil beneath the covered area. It retains moisture to nourish plants and lawns, but it also nourishes weeds. Rough linen does not do a very good job of controlling weeds, which can still grow due to the large mesh of the jute weave structure. So, the common practice is to use straws to work together. A deep mulch of straw is placed over the landscape area and then coarse burlap is used to hold it in place.

Over time, Burlap woven fabric has a shorter life span compared to PP woven fabric, usually 1-2 years, due to its biodegradability. PP woven fabric, on the other hand, is a synthetic material and can last up to 4-6 years by adding UV stabilizers.

iii. Nonwoven Fabric

Nonwoven landscape fabric is usually made of polyester or polypropylene fibers that are randomly connected through a web. It is best suited for preventing weed growth in rock or gravel paths or flower beds. This geotextile will provide separation, filtration and drainage when installed. It is typically used in commercial grade landscape fabrics rather than weed barrier fabrics. It is useful in hardscape installations under interlocking and retaining wall projects, as well as other landscape drainage projects.

Nonwoven landscape fabric under gravel
P9 - Nonwoven landscape fabric under gravel

Woven vs Non Woven Landscape Fabric
Non-woven landscape fabrics are less permeable than woven products, so they prevent water and nutrients from entering the soil below.

Compared to the woven structure of PP woven fabrics, nonwoven fabrics have less stabilizing strength. Drainage is a more prominent feature of non-woven geotextiles, which is more attractive to projects that require drainage capacity.

IV. How to install landscape fabric around existing plants?

Why do I need to lay landscape fabric around existing shrubs? The main reason is to control soil erosion or to reduce weeds. 

Landscape fabric is key for many gardeners. Many of us don’t have the time to weed, especially on large landscape jobs, which is why we put the barriers down.

When you choose a landscape fabric, read the instructions carefully as to which side is in contact with the soil. Generally both sides of landscape fabric are pretty much the same, but some manufacturers have furry stuff on one side, and that is the side that needs to be in contact with the soil.

installing landscape fabric around existing plants
P10 - Installing landscape fabric around existing plants

V. Install Landscape Fabric Step by Step

Of all the weed control methods, landscape fabric is the most controversial and popular in the minds of professional gardeners and amateur gardeners alike. Want to install your own landscape fabric? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how.

i. Remove Existing Weeds

Use a gardening tool, such as a garden hoe. Remove the surface and root system of existing vegetation, you must remain careful to avoid hurting it when working near your crop.

It is not recommended to use any herbicides, any chemical can be harmful to the soil. Crops that have absorbed chemicals will also have pesticide residues in the fruit. Even spraying the safest herbicides can be harmful to the crop and the surrounding land.

ii. Level the Soil Ground

A pitted, bumpy land surface makes your crop not only look unattractive, but has a potential safety hazard that could lead to tripping, or sprained ankles. An uneven land surface can cause drainage problems and water can collect in potholes.

Using a steel garden rake, remove small rocks, tree limbs and residual rooted weeds from the area. Rake the area until the soil surface is level, smooth and clean.

It is not recommended to use any herbicides, any chemical can be harmful to the soil. Crops that have absorbed chemicals will also have pesticide residues in the fruit. Even spraying the safest herbicides can be harmful to the crop and the surrounding land.

iii. Measure Size

Measure and buy the right size of landscape fabric and landscape staples

Using a steel garden rake, remove small rocks, tree limbs and residual rooted weeds from the area. Rake the area until the soil surface is level, smooth and clean.

It is not recommended to use any herbicides, any chemical can be harmful to the soil. Crops that have absorbed chemicals will also have pesticide residues in the fruit. Even spraying the safest herbicides can be harmful to the crop and the surrounding land.

iv. Soil Preparation

Crops need good soil to grow and harvest healthily. Carefully prepared soil is the foundation of the entire garden – and gives you a jump start to the seasons.

Adding organic compost, such as aged manure, coconut coir and wood ash, to the soil can improve its texture, nutrient content or pH. Add it one day when the soil is moist but not wet. Now is the best time to add soil amendments, because once the landscape fabric is laid, access will become difficult.

v. Lay and fix the Landscape Fabric

When you get the landscape fabric, read the instructions carefully as to which side is in contact with the soil. Because generally both sides of the fabric are more or less the same. Some manufacturers have furry things on one side, and that is the side that needs to be in contact with the soil.

Next prepare a sharp pair of scissors. Do not use a utility knife or trimmer as it is not suitable. Place rolls of landscape fabric, flat on the prepared soil surface and leave 2-4 inches at the edges. Keep the overlapping area at least 6 inches to ensure weeds do not pass through the seams.

Don’t skimp on the landscape staple; too wide a staple spacing will make the material less secure and the fabric may move or come loose.

VI. Important Tips

Once the landscape fabric is laid, try to keep the surface of the fabric free of soil, because this in which small weeds can germinate.

VII. Other Applications

The ground cloth can also be used in water conservancy, dams, road building, airports, construction, and engineering, which can play a role in filtration, drainage, and isolation.

VIII. FAQ

i. Should I use landscape fabric?

If you are tired of hand weeding or being repeatedly bothered by weeds, then you had better learn about landscape fabric. Using landscape fabric to control weeds can make a gardener’s life easier. It’s an effective physical barrier rather than repeatedly using potentially toxic chemicals to keep garden invaders out.

ii. What is the best weed barrier?

The choice of landscape fabric depends on your application scenario, there is no best choice just the right fit. Woven landscape fabrics are more suitable for weed barriers around flower beds, trees, shrubs and low maintenance beds. For stability and weed blocking in gardens and trails under rocky or gravel surfaces, a non-woven landscape fabric is more suitable.

IX. Buy Landscape Fabrics

Determine what type of fabric to choose by comparing the categories of landscape fabrics and then refer to the step-by-step guide for installing landscape fabrics to determine the amount you need to buy.

Pnbos™ have a variety of landscape fabric products for weed prevention. For more information on our landscape products, please contact us today by email.

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