Don’t Use Landscape Fabric

I hear about folks putting down landscape fabric all the time and then asking me why their garden never seems to grow properly so I thought I’d clear up some of the myths and misconceptions around landscape fabric.


1) Laying landscape fabric down doesn’t stop weeds. Weed seed blows in or birds drop seed. Landscape fabric doesn’t make any difference this way.

2) Stone or bark chips over top of landscape fabric are almost perfect mediums for seed germination. You’ll have tons of weed seeds starting. This is the same in gardens and paved or gravelled pathways. Seriously, I used to use turface (small hard clay particles) to germinate tough to grow perennial seed. Gravel is just like this

3) Weeds germinated above the landscape fabric will have roots that penetrate into the fabric.
This makes them harder to pull out than if they were in wet soil. The trick to easy weeding is to soak your soil before heading out to weed. Try this and it makes pulling the biggest weed much easier.

4) Weed seed below the fabric won’t usually be a problem as it will stay dormant or if it does germinate, will hit the fabric and not be able to penetrate for light.

5) Big, aggressive tree roots push through consumer level landscape fabric. Big trees will eventually find a way through. I’ve had more than a few folks ask how to stop aggressive tree roots and frankly, other than cutting down the darn tree, or constant digging, there isn’t a way.

6) Landscape Fabric stops the normal soil improvement process where decomposing mulch enriches the soil. That barrier stops normal soil improvement. You want rich organic soil? Get rid of the landscape fabric

Have I Used It

Unfortunately yes. I put it under a mulch for a statue for one area but it’s now torn up.


And I tried yet again a few years ago on a gravel walkway. (I’m an optimistic but slow learner sometimes.)

But hope springs eternal that “this time it will work”.

It doesn’t.

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Bottom Line

It doesn’t save weeding time and doesn’t help your soil. Use straight mulch instead and skip the expense of landscape fabric.

Download This Alternatives For Invasive Plants Information

Invasive plants are really the bane of a gardener’s existence and while I’m not sure I agree with every plant on this list (good guys or bad guys) it’s a great starting point for the average gardener.

And finding decent alternatives is harder than it might appear. Many of the alternatives are not readily available at garden centres – and that too must be frustrating for those who’d like to switch.

This pdf is a good starting point.

Click here to download the alternatives to invasive plants pdf.

And when you’re done that – subscribe to never miss another issue of resources to make your garden better.

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