• Home Home

Landscaper warned against using 'useless' landscaping products to control weeds: 'You won't escape weeding with this plan'

"I'm still ripping out shreds of weed barrier 18 years after buying this house."

"I'm still ripping out shreds of weed barrier 18 years after buying this house."

Photo Credit: iStock

A desperate landscaper recently took to the r/landscaping subreddit to lament the futility of fighting weeds with plastic weed barriers and rubber mulch.

The Redditor wondered whether rubber mulch could succeed where traditional wood mulch had failed to keep weeds at bay atop a weed barrier.

"Weed barrier under rubber mulch seems pretty useless," the original poster wrote. "After a season weeds pop up. I was wondering if that's from the decomposing mulch turning into dirt on top of the barrier."

The post struck a chord with the Reddit landscaping community, quickly racking up commiserating comments and cautionary advice against relying on artificial interventions to abolish weeds.

One Redditor summed up rubber mulch as "the worst of all worlds," warning it won't stop weeds, will promote mold, and will linger in the environment long after the poster has "moved on."

"You won't escape weeding with this plan," the user explained. "And you will make the world a tiny bit worse for the future."

One analysis from a horticulturist at Washington State University pointed out that "toxic substances leach from rubber as it degrades, contaminating the soil, landscape plants, and associated aquatic systems."

Thankfully, the new landscaper has a myriad of options for replacing their resource-intensive lawn with lower-maintenance, eco-friendly alternatives that can save both time and money.

Ripping out all or part of a grass lawn in favor of native plants, clover, buffalo grass, or xeriscaping can slash water bills, eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and provide vital habitat for struggling pollinator populations.

Even a small native plant garden can have an outsized impact when multiplied across neighborhoods.

As one commenter pointed out, "A landscape consists of a bunch of living organisms and organic materials that change over time and are exposed to the wider world." Fighting that reality with weed barriers and rubber mulch is a losing battle.

Other Redditors concurred, recounting their own frustrating experiences with landscape fabric.

"I'm still ripping out shreds of weed barrier 18 years after buying this house ... A useless pain in the neck," one wrote.

The moral of this Reddit moment? Work with nature, not against it, for a yard that's healthier for the planet and your pocketbook.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider