Weed Cloth Fail

One of the few, in my opinion, indisputable truisms in gardening is covered this week on Emily Green’s blog Chance of Rain. Green’s warning to the novice gardener: weed cloth always fails.

There’s considerable controversy about this subject but I reached the same conclusion as Green. I’m still picking bits of plastic weed cloth out of our backyard from a ill fated decomposed granite project dating from nearly fifteen years ago.

It’s time to declare a truce with the weeds. As Gerard Manly Hopkins says in his poem “Inversnaid,”

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wilderness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

A programming note: my mom is still in the hospital. I’m putting the podcast on hold temporarily and posts will be light for the foreseeable future. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

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  1. I must have missed out on updates about your mother. I will be sending warm vibes her way.

    Thanks. I have never used weed barrier. I bought my first to put over the tops of five gallon buckets for food crops. I did put black plastic because I had it. I put an X slit and put the plant through that. Hopefully, the week cloth will work for one season. Otherwise I can peek under and rip out the weeds that make it.

  2. My deepest consolations.

    I’m afraid that mulching with plastic is one of those mistakes that everyone must make for themselves. I’ve never managed to convince someone to just use cardboard instead (which works great and is free if you salvage the cardboard).

    But watching folks sifting the bits of plastic out of the ground cover, soil, etc. after a few years of watching weeds sneer at that shredding plastic is heartbreaking.

  3. I’m convinced this stuff is made from the skin of Satan. I sure swore trying to fig it out!

  4. Preaching to the choir here. Like you, still picking weed barrier out after nearly twenty years. All it did was give weeds a hiding place, especially bermuda grass, which thrived underneath.

    Hugs and prayers for your mom. We’ve been up and back to LA from San Diego the last few weeks because my Dad has been in and out of hospital. It is so hard to be this far away.

  5. Weed barrier plus two inches of river rock equals the bane of anyone who has ever spend a summer removing a builder’s landscaping efforts. Ugh.

    My neighbors wondered why I spent two years switching to deeply mulched beds until a drought year when my plants survived. My neighbors’ plants withered under the heat and lack of moisture in the soil.

  6. I’ve written here a couple of times about the rock-covered fabric I inherited with my house.

    It takes me about an hour per foot to remove it. I have injured my back a couple of times pulling on it. At this point, I’m just covering it with mulch and planting it with some creeping thyme and hoping for the best.

    Landscape fabric should be illegal.

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