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HomeHomes
Published: 6/5/2007

The Key to Maintenance-Free Landscaping

(ARA) - Soon the barren landscape we've been looking at for months will once again give way to green grass, flowering bulbs, and budding trees and shrubs.

While most people look forward to the return of all the greenery, it's something a large portion of the population dreads. Why? Because it will also mean the return of weeds.

A weed is defined as any plant you don't want in your garden or landscape. Some common ones are dandelions, thistle and dollar weed. Once established, they are almost impossible to get rid of, which is why early in the season, you should take steps to eradicate them for good.

There are three effective means of achieving this goal. You can use herbicide, pull them by hand or put down landscape fabric. A lot of people shy away from the idea of using chemicals in their gardens, which leaves just two options.

If you dread the idea of spending hours on your hands and knees on a weekly basis pulling these undesirable plants, make this the year you put down landscape fabric.

"The great thing about landscape fabric is it's pretty much a permanent solution to your weed problems if you use the right product. It's installed on top of the soil and is permeable to air and water so your desirable plants still get everything they need to thrive," says Neal Caldwell of Dalen Products, Inc., makers of the Weed-X and Weed Shield brands of landscape fabric.

In addition to being an effective weed barrier that prevents the undesirable plants from setting down roots in the soil, landscape fabric also conserves moisture close to the roots, which in turn helps reduce stress on the plants' root system growing beneath it. Some landscape fabric brands are designed for erosion control, but also claim to control weeds. The fabric needs to be very porous for erosion control which is something you do NOT want in a weed control fabric (too many openings for weeds to penetrate), so it's important to use a material designed specifically for controlling weeds.

When installed on top of a new plot, all you have to do is roll out the fabric, cut an 'x' and plant, then put down a 1-to-2-inch layer of mulch over the fabric. If you'll be installing it in an existing bed, you'll need to cut slits or holes to fit around the plants already in the ground.

Because of its permanent nature, landscape fabric is intended for use in beds that don't change from year to year (under shrubs, around trees, etc). It is also effective at stopping weeds under decks and patios; under walkways and paths; around swimming pools and hot tubs; and under sandboxes and backyard children's play sets. Courtesy of ARA Content



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