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Eliminate Weeds for Good with Landscape Fabric

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

If you've been losing your battle against weeds in your planting beds, or are simply tired of fighting, consider installing landscape fabric around and in between your bushes, trees, and flowers. Landscape fabric can provide a barrier between weed seeds and the soil underneath to prevent them from sprouting, destroying the root network of existing weeds by keeping them under cover, away from sunlight.
How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Quality Counts

Landscape fabrics are rated to last anywhere from 10 to 25 years. These ratings tend to be optimistic, but higher rated fabric typically lasts longer, and is less susceptible to tearing during installation. You should also buy anchor pins to hold the fabric in place. A good rule of thumb is one pin for every three feet of fabric length (e.g., 33 pins per 100-foot roll). When in doubt, err on the high side.

Lay it Down, Cover it Up

Begin laying the fabric on the longest, straightest edge of your planting bed. Hammer in an anchor pin every four feet an about two inches from the edge of the fabric touching the edge of the planting bed. When the first piece of fabric is laid out and anchored on one side, begin laying the second piece next to it, overlapping the two edges by four inches. Install the anchor pins every four feet in the center of the overlap, making sure the pin goes through both layers of fabric.

For small plants, cut an "X" in the fabric to let them poke through, then use pins to anchor the fabric around the base. For larger plants and trees, cut the fabric so it's just long enough to reach past the plant, cut a u-shaped notch to accommodate the plant, and then start again on the other side, overlapping the two pieces of fabric. Repeat these steps until done, cover the fabric with mulch, and forget about weeding for the next decade.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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