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Homeowner warned against using common landscaping material to eradicate invasive plant: 'It really should be banned'

"I'm not even sure why I see this ever recommended."

"I'm not even sure why I see this ever recommended."

Photo Credit: iStock

It's never ideal to resort to herbicide, but when facing the wrath of an invasive species, sometimes you have to pick your poison — literally. 

One Redditor took their inquiry about eradicating some overgrown knotweed to the r/invasivespecies subreddit in a post titled, "Landscape fabric for knotweed." The user mentioned that they had just moved into a wooded, five-acre property in Catskill, New York, and that the plant had already covered 2,700 square feet. 

"I'm planning to try choking it this winter after everything dies and will leave it covered for years. I'll probably overlap the fabric to make sure it's fully covered and more difficult to poke through (and tackle any persistent ones with herbicide). I'll use stakes and large stones to hold it down," they wrote. "Any suggestions on landscape fabric to use? Thicker the better?"

The response from the comment section was fairly unanimous: Avoid landscape fabric at all costs.

"You'll never kill it this way. I'm not even sure why I see this ever recommended in blogs about knotweed. It'll drive right through and the roots will send shoots beyond the perimeter," wrote one commenter, who also suggested Roundup, which may be effective in killing plants but is also linked with causing cancer in humans.

Another commenter shared a 2018 study that found that landscape fabric was the least effective method in managing Japanese knotweed between other tactics like physical removal and herbicide.

"Landscape fabric is the world's s******** sham ever. If you've ever tried to remove it, you would understand how awful it is. It really should be banned," another Redditor said. "It's a fabric, so it breaks down very very quickly into microplastics and uncleanable plastic fragments. And on top of all of that, it doesn't even work to stop the growth of weeds!"

Several other Redditors have had similar issues, as weeds will always find a way to grow through the material. That makes them more difficult to remove and facilitates the breakdown of the fabric into microplastics, which can cause even more problems. 

Herbicides like Roundup can also be harmful since they are toxic and can endanger the local ecosystem and any individuals who come into contact with them. Unfortunately, the original poster inherited the overgrown knotweed and didn't have the chance to manually remove it or use natural solutions like boiling water before it grew out of control.

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