There are a lot of products you can buy to help with gardening and landscaping. But not all of them are worth the money, and some can actually do more harm than good. One gardening and native plants content creator recently took to TikTok to warn their 30,000 followers about a product that they should avoid: landscape fabric.
What is landscape fabric?
Also known as plastic mulch, synthetic mulch, weed control fabric, and other such monikers, landscape fabric is a covering that is placed under a layer of mulch in an attempt to block weed growth. It is typically made out of polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene — all types of plastic.
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How does landscape fabric hurt your garden?
“Don’t get landscape fabric,” @nativeplants4life informed their followers. “Weeds grow through it. They grow ON it. It does not bring joy. It’s a mistake. You’ll regret it. You’ll end up with bits of plastic and fabric in your garden bed.”
Below the video, they expanded their advice a bit more, writing, “I use cardboard & mulch instead of landscape fabric. Many ppl get it without realizing it’ll need to be ripped out in future.”
Later, replying to a commenter, they wrote, “Cardboard is what I’ve used, but sometimes you don’t need a barrier. Just mulch will do. Depends on your space.”
Not only is using cardboard as a weed barrier cheaper than landscape fabric — especially if you consider that many people just have spare cardboard sitting around from packages — it does not involve getting bits of plastic in your garden. As plastic breaks down over time, it creates microplastics, which never truly go away.
“If we care about the contamination from the microplastics and nanoplastics, we must be very cautious about the use of plastic items in our garden,” one study on the topic concluded.
What is everybody saying?
“I can vouch,” one commenter agreed. “We put it down 4 years ago for a sandpit … it’s shredded and flies everywhere.”
“Mine is disintegrating when I try to pull it out, but it’s hard as a rock if I try to pierce it with a shovel,” wrote another.
“I try to warn everyone in my life to not use this stuff,” a third said. “It makes things SO difficult.”
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