Can Ground Cover Grow Over Landscape Fabric? Experts Weigh In

Are you tired of constantly battling weeds in your garden? Landscape fabric, also known as weed barrier, can be a helpful solution. But what if you also want to plant ground cover? Can it grow over the fabric?

The answer is yes, but there are some important things to consider. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using landscape fabric and how to successfully plant ground cover on top of it.

Keep reading to learn more!

Can Ground Cover Grow Over Landscape Fabric

Ground cover can grow over landscape fabric, but it’s important to prepare the fabric properly before planting. Most landscape fabrics are porous and allow water and nutrients to pass through, making them an effective way to control weeds in your garden. However, if you don’t prepare the fabric correctly, it can hinder the growth of your ground cover.

To ensure that your ground cover can grow over the landscape fabric, you need to punch holes in it before installation. This will allow the roots of your ground cover to penetrate the soil and establish themselves. You can use a sharp tool like a knife or scissors to make small holes in the fabric, or you can purchase pre-cut landscape fabric with pre-made holes.

It’s also important to choose the right type of ground cover for your garden. Some ground covers, like creeping thyme and creeping phlox, are better suited for growing over landscape fabric than others. These plants have shallow roots and can easily spread over the fabric without damaging it.

The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Landscape Fabric

Landscape fabric can be a useful tool for controlling weeds in your garden, but it also has its drawbacks. One of the benefits of using landscape fabric is that it can prevent weed seeds from sprouting and reduce the need for chemical herbicides. Additionally, it can limit soil erosion and conserve moisture, which can benefit your plants.

However, there are also some drawbacks to using landscape fabric. One of the biggest issues is that it’s only a short-term solution to weed control. Landscape fabric generally works as a weed barrier for a year or less before its usefulness starts declining. Over time, unwanted growth can still emerge despite the weed barrier, and you may end up with soil that isn’t as healthy, which can affect your plants and their health.

Moreover, the long-term use of landscape fabric can negatively affect soil and plant health, according to the University of Florida. It’s best used where ornamental plants aren’t growing like pathways or around mailboxes. Additionally, landscape fabric can be difficult to work with if you plan to do future gardening as every time you cut a new hole into the fabric to plant something new, you are opening up the soil for weeds to invade.

Another drawback is that landscape fabric should be covered with stone or mulch to hide its unappealing appearance. Also, nothing is forever, and eventually, the landscape fabric will degrade, allowing weeds to appear. Many weeds will grow on top of the fabric where dust, grass clippings, and decomposed mulch collect allowing seeds to drift in and take root.

Finally, weeding through landscape fabric can be a nightmare as the weeds that manage to get through the fabric are usually entangled with the fabric itself. Removing the weed entirely means ripping the landscape fabric.

How To Successfully Plant Ground Cover On Top Of Landscape Fabric

Once you have prepared the landscape fabric and selected the appropriate ground cover, you can begin planting. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Lay out the ground cover plants on top of the landscape fabric to determine the spacing and placement. Make sure to space them according to the plant tag instructions.

2. Cut an X-shaped slit in the fabric where you want to plant each ground cover. Be careful not to make the slit too large, as this can cause the fabric to tear.

3. Gently pull back the fabric and dig a hole for each plant, making sure it’s deep enough to cover the roots.

4. Place each plant in its respective hole and backfill with soil, making sure it’s level with the surrounding ground.

5. Firmly press down on the soil around each plant to remove any air pockets.

6. Water the newly planted ground cover thoroughly to help it establish its roots.

7. Cover the area with a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

8. Monitor your ground cover regularly and water as needed until it becomes established.

It’s important to note that while landscape fabric can be an effective way to control weeds, it’s not a foolproof solution. Weeds can still grow through holes or tears in the fabric, so it’s important to stay vigilant and remove any weeds as soon as they appear. Additionally, some ground covers may require more maintenance than others, so be sure to choose one that fits your level of commitment. With proper preparation and care, however, you can successfully grow ground cover over landscape fabric and enjoy a beautiful, low-maintenance garden.

Choosing The Right Ground Cover For Your Garden

When selecting a ground cover for your garden, it’s important to consider the amount of sunlight the area receives. Read the plant tag before you buy to determine how much light a particular species requires. As a general rule, sun-loving ground covers require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine a day. If the area you want to plant ground covers in receives less than 6 hours of sun a day, go with a shade-loving option.

Ground covers come in a variety of sizes, including 4-inch pots, 6-inch pots, full flats, and quart-sized pots. Buying smaller pots can save you money, but keep in mind that smaller plants may take longer to establish and fill in the area. If you want instant impact, go with a larger size.

When planting ground covers over landscape fabric, choose plants with shallow roots that can easily spread over the fabric without damaging it. Creeping thyme and creeping phlox are good options for this purpose. Avoid plants with deep roots or those that require a lot of space to spread out.

Before planting your ground cover, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or turf grasses and adding organic matter like compost or rotted manure. Rake the area smooth and read the label to find out the correct spacing for your plants. Use a cardboard triangle as a template to ensure proper spacing and create a natural look.

Once you’ve planted your ground cover, mulch right away to reduce weed competition and maintain consistent soil moisture. Keep the area slightly moist for the first week or so and then water only when the soil feels dry. With proper care and preparation, your ground cover will thrive over landscape fabric and transform bare spots in your garden into a carpet of color.

Maintenance Tips For A Healthy Ground Cover-Landscape Fabric Combination

Once you’ve installed your landscape fabric and planted your ground cover, it’s important to maintain the combination to ensure its health and longevity. Here are some maintenance tips for a healthy ground cover-landscape fabric combination:

1. Regularly check for holes or tears in the fabric: Over time, landscape fabrics can break down or tear, which can allow weeds to grow through. Check your fabric regularly and repair any holes or tears as soon as possible to prevent weed growth.

2. Replace metal pins if needed: If the metal pins that hold the fabric in place rust away or break, replace them immediately to keep the fabric secure.

3. Remove decomposed organic mulch: As organic mulches decompose, they should be removed and replaced to prevent weeds from growing on top of them.

4. Clean out debris: Regularly clean out leaves and debris that collect on top of inorganic mulches to prevent them from giving weeds a spot to grow.

5. Replace worn-out landscape fabric: Eventually, your landscape fabric will wear out to the point it no longer stops weeds. If this happens, you’ll need to remove and replace it if desired.

6. Limit mulch depth: When covering the landscape fabric with mulch, limit the depth to about 2 inches. This will prevent buildup of dirt and debris that could settle into the soil and promote weed growth.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your ground cover-landscape fabric combination remains healthy and effective in controlling weed growth in your garden.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Landscape Fabric And Ground Cover

When using landscape fabric and ground cover, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid to ensure the success of your garden. Here are some of the most important ones:

1. Not securing the landscape fabric properly: One of the biggest mistakes people make when using landscape fabric is not securing it in place with anything other than mulch. This can cause the fabric to slide out of place and become an eyesore. To avoid this, use landscape pins or garden staples to secure the fabric to the soil. About one foot between pins is sufficient to hold the fabric in place.

2. Using the wrong size for Central Open Shape: The Central Open Shape is the key feature of a Localscape that sets it apart from all other landscape design styles. The most common mistake with a Central Open Shape is making it the wrong size. Too small or too large won’t create the contrast needed and it won’t act as a planned, designed element in the yard. The Central Open Shape must be large enough to create contrast and visual open space, but not so large that it overwhelms everything else.

3. Using the wrong type of landscape fabric: There are different kinds of landscape fabric, and it’s important to choose the right one for your specific situation. Some landscape fabrics contain petroleum and other chemicals, which can be harmful to edible plants. Additionally, some fabrics are not porous enough to allow water and nutrients to pass through, which can hinder plant growth.

4. Not preparing the fabric properly: To ensure that your ground cover can grow over the landscape fabric, you need to punch holes in it before installation. This will allow the roots of your ground cover to penetrate the soil and establish themselves. It’s also important to choose the right type of ground cover for your garden.

5. Installing fabric too early: Gardeners are known for changing their minds, and if you install landscape fabric too early in the process, it can make it difficult to shift plant locations or re-seed in the future.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be able to successfully use landscape fabric and ground cover in your garden and enjoy a beautiful and thriving outdoor space.

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