Why Landscape Fabric Does More Harm Than Good in Your Garden
Let's face it: gardens are as high-maintenance as they are beautiful. That's why gardeners are always looking for ways to cut down on the level of care needed to keep a garden looking great.
Landscape fabric is one popular way to achieve a low-maintenance garden. Yet the truth is that landscape fabric could be doing more harm than good and actively inhibiting your maintenance efforts.
Here's why using landscape fabric could be worse than useless in your garden.
Weak on Weeds
One of the basic functions of landscape fabric is to block the growth of weeds in your garden. So what if we told you that it's not even great at doing that?
Although we think of weeds as emerging from deep in the soil, the truth is that many species disperse their seeds via the wind. That means many weeds begin to grow despite simply resting on the surface of the soil.
Landscape fabric does little to stop these wind-blown seeds from finding purchase and blooming in your garden as the barrier ages, acquiring its own thin soil in which your weeds will have a field day.
Day of the Triffids
Paradoxically, using landscape fabric can also make the weeding process harder.
In a slight twist on the "survival of the fittest" concept, those weeds that make it through your landscape fabric are going to be the stubborn and strong ones, and many will have become intertwined with the fabric in ways that make them a hassle to remove—particularly as you'll lose easy access to their roots. Most weed species are robust enough to simply grow back if they're tackled only on the surface.
If you want your garden to look fresh and green with a minimum of work, then you want a garden that can re-seed itself. That's where landscape fabric gets in the way, yet again.
When your flowers bloom, pollinate and develop seeds, they'll often drop them in the same general area. That's a great, inexpensive source of flowers for the next growing season. That's if your landscape fabric doesn't block their way to the dirt, ensuring they die off without ever regrowing, of course.
The only type of plant that will manage to succeed in these conditions is tenacious wind-blown weeds like we talked about above.
Less Eco, Less System
Nature loves a cycle. That fact highlights the systemic problems caused by landscape fabric. A landscape fabric garden closes off aspects of an ecosystem that usually sits in a balance between soil, plants, and the elements.
By using landscape fabric, you trap water underground, inhibit the interface between air and soil (and thus, evaporation), and generally stop the ecosystem from operating as it should. This damages natural drainage, evaporation, soil quality, and a whole host of other processes that could otherwise look after themselves.
The Pitfalls of Using Landscape Fabric
These are just a few ways that using landscape fabric could be doing more harm than good in your garden. While it may have its place in some specific scenarios, it's often a better idea to opt for alternative (and more natural) options.
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