Let this be a lesson — landscape fabric does not prevent weeds.
“The community was right – landscape fabric was WORTHLESS and I spent a total of 23 extra hours over the last 5 days to tear out 750 square feet of fabric and swap in for cardboard to fight an insane nutsedge infestation,” they wrote on Reddit. “Learn from my ignorance.”
The poster said purple nutsedge took over their new drought-tolerant lawn after an “immensely challenging and exhausting yard overhaul” this summer in the San Fernando Valley of California.
The problem is they had not been warned until after they shared their completed project.
“The landscape fabric that many of you criticized and I defended did NOTHING to stop it,” the poster wrote.
One commenter spelled out the issues perfectly in response to that original post.
“Fabric was made specifically to keep rock from migrating into soil,” they said. “The ‘weed prevention’ is just marketing hype to sell more fabric. When used under an organic mulch like bark the fabric has zero purpose and in fact causes issues like reduced soil replenishment a reduction in the replacement of nutrients as well as increased runoff, siltation, and wind scour.”
“Maintaining a 3-4” layer of mulch is all that’s necessary,” they concluded.
That sage advice could’ve saved effort, time, and money — the poster spent 100 hours over one month transforming their yard with 65 drought-tolerant plants. They removed 1,100 square feet of grass, overhauled an irrigation system for drip watering, built a gorgeous fence and pathway, and mulched the area.
“A massive amount of work for one person but couldn’t be more thrilled with results!” they wrote.
Well, not long afterward, they had to put in even more work: 23 hours to move the mulch and tear out “the worthless plastic fabric” and replace it with overlapping cardboard.
Another user sympathized, writing, “Yeah, as a newer homeowner, I bought the exp stuff too, the ones claiming 2-3 years of weed-free areas… installed at the beginning of summer and had weeds poking through by the end of summer. Completely useless and a waste of money. Lesson learned.”
Someone else pointed out when the textile could be used.
“Fabric under rocks is fine,” they said. “Your rock in that case is there for drainage purposes, and the fabric will help prevent them from sinking into the soil over time. Stone is pretty much the only time that fabric should be used with anything related to soils. It’s not going to really do anything for you otherwise.”
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