Should You Remove Old Mulch Before Putting New Mulch On Landscaping Weed Barrier Fabric – How to Install Landscape Fabric

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Landscaping Weed Barrier Fabric – How to Install Landscape Fabric

When using landscaping fabric, the preparation of the area is just as important as the quality of the materials you use. While many people will apply weed barrier directly to an existing or barely prepared area, the best performance and longest lasting results are more likely with good preparation.

Start

Measure and mark out the area. Most professionals use upside-down paint to mark, but you can also use string, sticks, rocks, hose, or whatever else you have handy. Buy or order landscape fabric to make sure it’s on hand when you start your project.

Remove all vegetation

Once the project areas are measured and marked, remove all vegetation. Depending on the area you are working on, there are several ways to remove plants and vegetation.

On lawns that are to be covered and/or become planting areas, we most often do a double application of a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup. Make sure the area is actively growing, spray the herbicide as directed, then let it do its job. 5-7 days after application, begin watering the area to encourage the growth of what may have survived and any seeds that may be viable. Repeat herbicide application. You can also repeat again if necessary.

In some cases, we use a sod cutter to remove the top few inches of the lawn. This is usually done after we have killed all the weeds and is mainly done to deepen the area and make room for mulch, rocks or other ground cover.

I have seen other professionals install landscaping fabric in areas that have only been mowed but not killed by herbicide. I don’t recommend it. Turf cutters only cut the top surface of the grass and do not actually kill the roots. This can be a problem in the future if you have deep-rooted aggressive weeds or grasses like Bermuda grass.

For areas without a lawn and old flower beds, the herbicide mentioned above can be used. And for all areas, including lawns, you can use the herbicide or solarization method.

Solarization is basically baking the soil and exposing it to extremely high temperatures that kill weed seeds and vegetation. This process is very simple and works very well, but it takes the most time.

Prepare the soil

If you plan to plant in the areas where you are installing the fabric, you will need to work with soil amendments and nutrients prior to installation. If possible, and I recommend it, use slow release organic nutrients and compost. You should also check the Ph of the soil and if necessary add lime or sulfur in the right amounts.

After installing the weed barrier, you will only be able to apply chemical fertilizers to the top surface and will not be able to till the soil. Of course, you can add corrections to each hole as you plant. However, it is time-consuming, messy, and does not extend beyond the plant’s root zone.

Use a rotary hoe or spade to apply amendments and nutrients 4 to 6 inches into the soil surface. Remove rocks, sticks, trash and break the lumps. Smooth the surface with a rake.

Installation of the irrigation system

If you have an idea of ​​where your plants will be located and you are planning to install an automatic drip irrigation system, now is the time to place it. Position the main supply hose and route the drip tube and emitters to where your plants will be. If you are planning a bubbler system, it should have been installed before the area was maintained.

Installing Fabric

The easiest way to do this is to lay out the barrier first before planting the plants. Some people recommend using pins to fix the material. This is an option. However, if you prefer to save money, you can press the edges with the ground cover that you intend to use. We usually just put bags or piles of mulch, rock or other ground cover around the edges and spread it out after we’re done planting.

I’ve also seen several people plant plants first and then set them on top of the plants. This is usually harmful to vegetation, breaks branches and is very time consuming.

You can use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut the fabric, but the best and easiest way we’ve found to cut long sections is to use sharp scissors. And instead of working with scissors, keep them half open where the blades form a “V”. Hold the material where both blades meet in a “V” and slide them through the fabric.

Landing

Mark the area of ​​plants or space the plants out to get a visual representation. Using a sharp knife, razor, or scissors, cut an “x” on the fabric the size of your pot or root ball. Do not reduce the size of the pot. Just cut the “x” and fold the flaps. Make a hole. Place and plant the plant correctly. Carefully place the flaps up next to the plant.

Now place 2 to 4 inches of your chosen mulch over the area, holding the cut flaps and holding them in place.

Trim the excess landscape fabric around the edges, making sure it stays tight around the edges.

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