A homeowner took to Reddit to share their gardening dilemma after their landscaper installed landscape fabric in their yard.
The homeowner posted in the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit to explain the situation. After receiving yard regrading services, the homeowner was surprised to see that their landscaper had added landscape fabric around their plants.
“He did this while I was away,” the homeowner wrote.
The introduction of landscape fabric sparked a dilemma for the homeowner as to whether or not to remove it, given concern that it would interfere with the growth of native plants in their garden.
“My first thought is to pull up the fabric and then quickly plant some native groundcover, like wild strawberry plugs, to cover the area before the invasives can come up,” the original poster said. “The other thought was to wait until the fall before pulling up the fabric and planting, so that whatever I plant has the winter to get established before the invasives start appearing.”
Although its main function is to suppress weed growth, many gardeners advise against long-term use of landscape fabric, as it may trigger the growth of more weeds that then sprout right up through the fabric, gradually helping it to break apart into a trashy-looking collection of plastic fabric shreds. Research by horticulture experts has also shown that landscape fabric has insufficient permeability, which could negatively impact the desired plants’ water and air intake and make it easier for weeds to encroach.
There are various alternatives to landscape fabric to protect plants and save money, such as cardboard, newspaper, and wood mulch. Other Redditors shared their take on the original poster’s dilemma in the post’s comments.
“Sit down and plan out what you’d like to see there… you could shovel aside the chips, pull the fabric, and put cardboard down instead,” a Reddit user commented. “If the area is exceptionally large or hard to access, then maybe just leave it until you’re ready to do some more extensive work.”
“It’s a trade off at this point,” another said. “If you leave the fabric for a season it will suppress a lot of the weeds, but once the weeds start coming through [their] roots will start to hold the fabric in place, and it gets a lot harder to remove… I’d recommend mixing a few different types of ground cover so the strongest ones can compete with the weeds.”
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