girbeaud
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:25 pm

Ground cover and weed fabric

I have an area that contains blue pacific juniper. It is not doing that well, plus my spouse isn't crazy about it. To top it off, the weeds are taking over. We are going to pull it up and replace it with something else. So... I am looking for a ground cover. But I have a question. Can I put down a weed block fabric AND have a ground cover ? Can ground covers spread on top of the fabric or are the two mutually exclusive ? (I guess that's two questions, but you get the drift...) This area is inside a large, low retaining wall and gets no real foot traffic to speak of, except when I have to go in there for maintenance... Full sun, south Louisiana. Thanks!

femlow
Senior Member
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:37 am
Location: 5a - Maine

It depends a lot on what kind of ground cover you get. Some will grow from one central root cluster and just send out vines (which may or may not root if they come into contact with the dirt), where others will grow more straight up and will not do well with a weed block. One thing you could do if you really want to put weed block down, is get the kind that will decompose on its own within a year or so. This way, it will give your ground cover some time to develope while keeping the weeds down, but when the cover sends out runners, they will eventually be able to root themselves, leaving you with a nice full ground cover.

fem

peachguy
Senior Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:01 am
Location: Ontario

i advise you not to use the fabic as we did and the dirt underneath became so compacted that it took a lot of back breaking work to loosen the dirt up. also since the ground was so compacted a lilac bush in the bed almost died because the roots couldn't grow in those conditions

femlow
Senior Member
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:37 am
Location: 5a - Maine

Fabric shouldnt cause that unless you put things on top of it. The fabric will only bloock light from reaching the ground. If it became super compacted, that is more likely due to the soil type and/or water that reached the ground (or if you put things on top of it like stones for a pathway).

fem

peachguy
Senior Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:01 am
Location: Ontario

we only put a little bit of mulch on top, no stones at all and no one walked on it. our soil is clay but it is like maybe40% clay 60% soil so i am just saying that in our case and if you have clay based soil that it isn't a good idea.

opabinia51
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Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I personally don't like laying down synthetic ground covers like that but, it is commonly practised in organic circles. Permaculturists tend to like to use black and white newspaper. I always caution people against using any sort of plastics because polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics contain plasticizers that leak into the environment. Anyway, just ask what the plastic is made of.

I have found that what works best with invasive weeds is to:

1) pull all weeds out before they have gone to seed and place in hot compost

2) dig up any roots and hot compost or burn these as well

3) cover area with mulch or (newspaper) and then with mulch (Leaves, manure, leaves, coffee grinds and so on).

4) Finally plant as you will

Soem good ground covers include:

Clover ( a legume so, N fixing bacteria associate with the roots)
Vetch (another legume)
Kannickanick
etc

These three have fairly shallow root systems and will grow above a plastic but, it is best for your plants to work with what you have in the soil already, including all the wonderful worms, insects, fungi and bacteria.

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mdvaden
Full Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:56 am

Some groundcovers like the carpet style junipers would cover a fabric.

But you would have a nasty, nasty job on your hands if you ever had to pull it out.

I find fabrics relatively pointless.

If you add mulch, seeds are still going to germinate above the fabric.

Under gravel is the only place I use the fabrics.

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