With weedkiller damaging the environment, we look at five reasons why switching to weed control fabric will improve your garden
Weed suppressant membrane is an incredibly versatile product, helping you keep your garden consistently weed free without any back breaking work. Gardeners use "landscaping fabric" for a huge number of purposes, due to its properties including long-life, UV-stability and moisture control. Major agricultural companies are beginning to turn their back on traditional weedkiller as part of their growing process in favour of the eco-friendly black sheeting.
Here are just five major reasons why we believe weed suppressant membrane is a must-have in your garden.
Weed Free Garden Borders
You can plant out the most spectacular of garden borders, mixing perennial flowers, shrubs and bulbs and annuals, creating a beatiful landscape with the correct planting scheme. The garden immediately looks transformed and instantly improved. However, that first impression will begin to change as the season progresses. Weeds will start to germinate, quickly filling in gaps between your plants. The seedlings will start to grow quickly into plants capable of smothering your planting scheme.
With a good weed control fabric, such as FABREX-100, any germinating seeds are quickly starved of all light necessary to develop second leaves. It is at this stage that perennial weeds would ordinarily start producing starches, storing them in the roots. Without this necessary starch, they cannot develop, grow or survive.
Laying your membrane down before planting is a good first step in developing any garden border. Once laid flat, with enough tension applied to the matting, the membrane can be cut in a X shape at the point you wish to plant out. Folding the cut flaps back, plant out as normal, returning the flaps back to their original position afterwards.
With some soils, moisture can quickly evaporate from the soil taking away the very lifeblood plants depend upon to survive. Weed membranes are permeable enough to let water permeate through into the sub soil, whilst acting as a useful barrier to ground-level water vapour. This creates the ideal moisture micro-climate around your plants.
Unlike other types of plastic sheeting, a fully woven membrane has small pores in its structure which allow for easy, yet regulated watering. Choosing the right thickness of membrane as well as the right material structure is an important step in long term landscape planning.
Warms the soil
Particularly in colder climates, gardeners seek to extend the season by whatever means necessary. Landscaping fabric generally comes in black, which is the perfect colour to absorb and transmit heat to the soil. This is like having a large black waterbutt in your greenhouse - it is heated by the sun in the day and re-emits the heat at night, keeping the base temperature high.
This gives you up to a month extra per year in terms of growing time. With some plants needing more protection over winter, this also helps keep more tender perennials happy for longer.
Prevents nutrient leaching
With certain types of mulch, you can experience soil impoverishment as they decompose. This is because certain types of mulch are broken down by bacteria and fungi that use soil nutrients to break down lignified, woody cell walls. With weed control fabric, the membrane acts as a barrier to these bacteria and fungi, stopping nutrients from being extracted from the soil, whilst also helping preserve the lifespan of the mulch applied. This leads to having to replace the mulch too often to maintain the appearance of the covered area.
No need for weed killer or other herbicides
There are many persistent weeds such as couch grass, horsetail and bindweed that just will not stop coming back. With roots often the length of a small football pitch, constantly digging these out can prove to be tiresome, irritating, even downright futile. Weeds like these are not unlike other such perennials, storing starch in the roots and sending up shoots wherever possible. If you have an area you want to bring under control again, instead of applying potentially toxic weed killers to the area, simply lay the membrane down with no air gaps beneath.
While single use plastic is most definitely enemy #1 of the environment, plastic's long-life makes it suitable for long-term use in the garden. As the best quality membranes are now UV-stable, they will not degrade in the sun and leach chemicals or microfibres into the environment.
Faced with the choice between use of a potentially harmful chemical and a safe, eco-friendly landscape fabric, the choice is simple.
Making the right choice
There are many reasons why gardeners will choose to use weed killer sprays, gels and salts in their garden. Most gardeners at some point have at least tinkered with the idea of applying it in the face of some of the most invincible green invaders. Advocates for weed killer will point to previous unsuccessful use of weed control fabric. The chances are that the wrong type of membrane was used or that it wasn't installed properly. We've already touched on that subject previously in this article.
It is widely known how our wildflower, bee and pollinator populations are dwindling and it cannot simply be that this plummet in population coincides with the increase in availability and domestic and commercial use of herbicides and pesticides. This is not an effort to convert the world's population to organic gardening but given the opportunity to use the right product once, you could save yourself money.
There are two main types of material commonly used:
Non-Woven (Spun-Bonded) Fabric
This is commonly available, at the lower end of the budget but also less long lasting. Like other geo-textles, it allows air, moisture and nutrients to pass freely. It is considerably less dense than other fabrics available, meaning it is liable to fray more easily whilst also letting more light pass through. It makes good plantpot liner and temporary ground coverage.
Woven 100gsm Ground Cover Fabric
The professional's choice, now considerably more budget-friendly and much longer lasting than its non-woven counterpart. Pierce-proof, UV-stable and weather proof, this makes landscape fabrics such as FABREX-100 a long term solution to persistent weeds in garden and landscape design.
Use in hard landscaped areas, such as decking, paths, under sheds or in garden borders, selective vegetable planting schemes. Make the most of weed suppressant membrane's long term, eco-friendly properties for a beautiful garden that lasts.
Given the opportunity to save effort, save the environment and enjoy the long term benefits without breaking the bank, clearly the choice is an easy one to make.
Are you thinking about how to keep your garden weed free? Got any questions regarding using weed control? Send us a message to ask our advice!