The quick answer is no! Landscape fabric should only be used in certain situations. The cons of landscape fabric outweighs the pros which is why for most cases we do not recommend the use of landscape fabric under mulch.
First of all, you might be wondering, what is landscape fabric? Landscape fabric can be found at your local lawn & garden store in rolls that are at least 3 feet wide and up to 200 feet long. The fabric is made either as a solid sheet with holes or woven fibers. The purpose of landscape fabric is to create a barrier between the soil and mulch and prevents weeds. It is also used to retain moisture. Sounds great, right?
Ultimately, landscape fabric ends up causing more harm than good. Landscape fabric retains moisture, which sounds great, but it actually encourages poor drainage and creates a perfect environment for mold & other disease to thrive. The barrier can cause earthworms to die. Earthworms aerate & keep soil healthy, but when they are unable to reach the surface for air to survive, they die & that causes the soil under the fabric to become unhealthy. Also, because of the barrier, the nutrients from mulch, pine needles & leaves are unable to reach the soil below. Weeds can also still grow. Instead of growing to the surface, they root onto the landscape fabric. Also, a big con of landscape fabric is how hard it is to remove. Especially if it has been there for a long amount of time and weeds have rooted to the fabric. Because it isn’t made from an organic material, it will never decompose so it will need to be physically removed.
However, there are two instances where we do approve of the use of landscape fabric. River Rocks & Septic Tanks. While the fabric should never be placed OVER your septic system, it can be placed AROUND your septic system. If you cover over, it could reduce air exchange & cause retention of excess moisture. The other exception is when laying river rocks. Weeds are less likely to grow in rocks and the landscape fabric provides a barrier. However, if you’re planting anything amongst the rocks, make sure to leave plenty of space around the plants landscape fabric free so that nutrients & earthworms can still reach the soil!
If you have any questions, we are always happy to help! Give us a call at (864) 275-2039!
By: Hannah Raines
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