New Landscape Fabric in a Tree Lawn

Homeowners are being sold acres and acres of landscape fabric in our area this spring. Maybe they are looking for an easy way to cover their landscape in a year with watering restrictions, figuring that a no-water-needed configuration of landscape fabric and mulch is the best alternative to turf. Or maybe they’ve just been fighting weeds in an area for so long that just covering it with something seems the ideal solution.

Landscape fabric comes in a seemingly endless variety of weights, thicknesses, and synthetic materials (mostly plastic). Sometimes it is called weed barrier or weed blocking fabric. After moving into my house over twenty years ago, I discovered what was probably the original “weed-blocking” fabric, a layer of black plastic bags under river rock in my tree lawn (the area between the sidewalk and street). Edges of the plastic showed between rocks, and big tall weeds thrived! Once we decided to remove the rock-and-plastic landscaping, just under the plastic we found a layer of roots from the green ash tree that lives in the tree lawn. The soil was bone dry, and the roots were doing their best to search for needed water. (more…)