Any gardener or a person who loves gardening will tell you that most annoying part about maintaining a garden and plants is the prevention of soil erosion and removal of weeds. Several gardeners consider landscape fabric as the solution for this problem, as this gardening tool helps in keeping the weeds and erosion at bay.
Many inventions aren’t perfect and will fall short somewhere, even the best landscape fabric along with its benefits has certain drawbacks too.
To make your task easier, we have listed the pros and cons of using landscape fabric in your garden.
Advantages Of Landscape Fabric
1. Weed Control
Weeds are the primary reason for the installation of landscape fabric as it helps in performing the major labor-intensive task of maintaining a healthy garden. Landscape fabric blocks sunlight to prevent the sprouting of weed seeds while allowing the soil to breathe. This results in healthy and fast-growing fruits and flowers as there won’t be any weeds being a hindrance to their growth.
2. Erosion Control
Another significant advantage is that it helps in controlling soil erosion. Gardeners place the landscape fabric under a layer of mulch, the plant roots reaching under the fabric are shielded from rainwater which otherwise exposes them to damage or injury. Landscape fabric is essential in hilly areas or areas with slopes where erosion is a major problem.
3. Retains Moisture
Using a landscape fabric reduces water evaporation which helps in conserving moisture which keeps the soil cool and wet, assuring that plants won’t stay dry if you skip a day or two of watering. This prevents excessive watering and water wastage.
Using a landscape fabric helps in the prevention of weeds so you won’t need harmful weed controlling chemicals, which bear certain health risks for the plants and environment. The fabric for landscaping is usually made from different materials, including recycled sources. The recycling ensures less greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn safeguards the environment.
Disadvantages of Landscape Fabric
1. Compacts the Soil
The layer of landscape fabric over your soil makes it heavy and compact when it should be crumbly and breathable, so the roots of the plants could spread and grow easily. A landscape fabric becomes a barrier in maintaining healthy soil which affects the steady growth of a plant, a hard soil also makes digging or replanting very difficult.
2. Contains Harmful Elements and Is Not Durable
The landscape fabric material contains several toxic particles and chemicals, as the fabric is placed around the plants it could be very dangerous if the plants are consumed by people.
Moreover, a landscape fabric becomes inefficient if you want to change the position of your plants or plant new ones as you need to dig and puncture holes in the fabric so the new plants could breathe easily, doing so will make it unusable over time. Also, it helps in controlling the weed problem for less than a year then becomes useless and needs to be replaced.
3. Harmful for The Soil
While it prevents the unwanted growth of weeds and other seeds near the main plant, it also restricts the mixing of useful insects into the soil like earthworms which aerate the soil.
Besides that, the fabric acts as a barrier for natural compost too, like dead leaves and other organic substances which further reduces the soil’s nutrient levels. Moreover, the mulch added on top of the fabric won’t decompose into the soil, which leads to a poor soil balance.
4. A little Heavy on Cost
Installation of landscape fabric is expensive and time-consuming. To keep the fabric in place, you need landscape fabric pins too, further increasing the cost. Also, you may need to install additional pins and patch the damaged fabric as and when needed. This results in significant costs and responsibility especially when there’s a possibility that the fabric’s efficiency won’t even last for a year.
In short, it is necessary for you to have enough information about the pros, cons and purposes of a landscape fabric before you install it in your garden so you could prevent any unnecessary problems.