When it comes to putting wood chip mulch down in your garden or around your flowering plants and shrubs, should you use a weed barrier such as fabric or plastic? Is there another substance that should be used? We've researched what the pros say.
Should you use landscape fabric? There are pros and cons.
In and article from Davey Tree, we found a great list of the benefits and problems that come with using a landscape fabric weed barrier.
- Discourages weeds.
- Environmentally friendly - no chemicals or harsh substances.
- Allows water to drain through.
- Conserves moisture by reducing evaporation.
- Not easy for planting where you need to dig new holes.
- Organic mulches, such as grass clippings or shredded leaves, can't reach the soil.
- Restricts movement beneficial earthworms, insects and fungi.
- Soil packed underneath loses breathability, which is hard on plants.
- Weeds can eventual grow.
Are there alternatives for a weed barrier that I can put under my wood mulch shavings?
Newspaper or cardboard can provide a barrier than will eventually biodegrade into the soil. This is is also cost-effective, because it can be found for free. Use paper without the colored ads. See this video on how to mulch with newspaper or cardboard and wood shavings. It explains how thick to have the newspaper, what type of paper to use, how to prep the garden and more.
A dark brown mulch like one of the options we make at Hay Creek Companies can look like a really rich soil, but it is a clean, weed-free option. The video also gives a handy tip for keeping the paper from blowing around while you're mulching.
What Happens if I Change My Mind?
Weed barrier can be a problem if you put it down and then change your mind. It's easy to deal with paper, because it biodgrades, but what about plastic or cloth?
This article from Mike's Backyard Nursery shows how challenging it can be if you don't keep up with adding mulch over the weed barrier. Mulch should be added every year! This video shows how weeds can grow anywhere! Mike explains how as the mulch breaks down, weeds can seed down in it.
Find out where you can get your mulch for fall garden prep by checking our list of mulch distributors in Wisconsin. They carry Hay Creek mulch in three custom colors. Some have it in bags and many have it in bulk, which is perfect for whole-yard projects! If you'd like to carry Hay Creek mulch at your store, garden center, landscape business, or building supply center, contact us, your Wisconsin mulch supplier.