The hard work of gardening can be rewarding — if the weeds don’t get you first.
One Reddit user found out the hard way that landscape fabric can be more trouble than it’s worth.
In a r/landscaping post a year ago, the Redditor provided before-and-after photos of a small area between a fence and the side of a structure. The first photo showed a pristine walkway of large stones in a bed of pebbles; the next featured weeds everywhere, as they had overtaken the plot.
The headline? “Landscape fabric is a joke.”
Landscape fabric is touted for its ability to block weeds and other benefits, but Mother Nature is undefeated.
“It prevents weeds from growing up from below. Weed seeds drift down and grow in the rocks. Nothing will prevent that,” one user noted. “However, i’ve found raking the gravel every couple weeks keeps the weeds from establishing. I also will spray some white vinegar and it kills off the little weeds.”
Another said: “I’ve had similar experience. Neighbor told me not to bother laying it, but unfortunately I think landscape fabric is one of those mistakes you just have to learn on your own.”
Landscape fabric can be particularly difficult to remove as well.
As some users pointed out, cardboard or newspaper are effective alternatives. A thick layer of mulch can also work wonders.
“Landscape fabric is a geotextile which is a product that was originally conceived of to control erosion during construction projects in mountainous, and thus rocky terrain,” one commenter said. “It allowed water to pass through, but not rocks, thereby helping to control landslides/erosion and so forth.
“Landscapers use it because it lets water through, but calling it weed-block is a marketing ploy. [Its] best function in the residential landscape, is ensuring that stone materials like paver base or gravel, don’t mix with the sub graded soil below.”
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