Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Plants that punch through landscape fabric

 
Posts: 18
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
1
cat fungi trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Previous owner of my place had 3 areas she covered in landscape fabric.  I don't mind weeds at all, but am not a fan of bare ground or soil barriers.  4 years of living here, and while some pioneer weeds are moving in, the fabric still has a strong impact.  I don't really want to pull it up because that would reset the recovering plant, fungi, and invertebrate community back to square one.  Does anyone know of anything I could plant with agressive taproots that might rip a lot of holes through it? Preferrably an annual, so I could seed it like a cover crop, then mow it back before seed set.
 
gardener
Posts: 1457
Location: Los Angeles, CA
333
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nothing.  That stuff is nasty.

Do yourself a favor and pull it out now.  The longer you wait, the tougher it gets, particularly if it's that grey stuff that kind of looks like felt when it goes down.  Over time, it will deteriorate and turn into big stringy mess, with roots and such tangled up in it.

Don't worry -- your fungi will recover quickly enough.
 
Jonathan Baldwerm
Posts: 18
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
1
cat fungi trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the reply.  Not the answer I was hoping to hear, but kind of what I was expecting.  The fabric is definitely starting to decay, but still intact enough that I could get it out before that stringy mess phase you mentioned. Sounds like a weekend project.
 
Posts: 686
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
61
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Around here, quackgrass punches through that stuff no problem. It takes about 2 years to make an appearance.  Dandelion seeds also settle on top, and if there is any type of organic matter on top of the weed mat for them to grow in, they will punch through from the other side.

 
pollinator
Posts: 3112
Location: Toronto, Ontario
381
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm with Marco on this one. Rip it up while it's structurally sound enough to come up in large pieces.

If you want to boost your soil microbiome after that, I suggest aerated compost extract applications and fungal slurries, a soaker hose, and mulch.

-CK
 
gardener
Posts: 6256
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1016
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My best use for landscape fabric is to keep it above ground as a summer shade cloth, works great for that purpose.

In my area (Arkansas) not even Bermuda grass will penetrate landscape cloth, and once covered with soil it can stay whole for at least 4 years.
I have used some under one of our strawbale gardens but we removed it once the bales were decomposed (2 years) and that cloth was almost like new except for a slight case of the fuzzies.

Redhawk
 
gardener
Posts: 1112
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
317
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've used the cloth vertically when trying to keep dirt inside a porous container for some reason, but I've generally regretted any time I've put it horizontally on the ground, and so have people I know who've inherited that situation from others. I not only agree with the pull it up and have compost tea waiting, this is a time when having some seeds started and ready for transplant could be helpful. Certainly having cover-crop mix ready (I used extra lettuce seeds this spring so you can think outside the box for that job) for spreading will also help. It's time-consuming, but I sometimes start peas in 3" deep paper pots that don't disturb the roots when transplanted. It gives them a bit of a head start compared to seeds and is valuable if you're not sure the weather will cooperate.
 
Jonathan Baldwerm
Posts: 18
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
1
cat fungi trees
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As per recommendations, I ripped up the most afflicted area of landscaping fabric.  It was amazing how many roots were in the 4 inches of organic matter above the fabric, and how dead and lifeless things looked below it.  It's also incredibly compacted below, maybe some of the most compacted clay I've seen.  Any recommendations on things to plant in the summer that might start breaking things up? If not, I was thinking of throwing some daikons in there in a few months.
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 1112
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
317
duck books chicken cooking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What you do is partly based on what you want the area to look like/be planted with in the long term.
My first comment: plant any cheap seeds (grocery store dried beans for example) that will give you biomass to chop and drop. Anything's better than nothing!
2. Consider: I've got minimal soil depth in the north end of the main veggie garden. I've started digging "potholes" 12-18" deep (because that's as deep as I can get) and dumping anything compostable in layers alternating with thin twigs and soil. My goal is to invite local worms to set up shop and see if they will deepen and break up the mineral soil. If the area starts to sink, I can dig out the top layers of soil and twigs and add more fresh greens stuff for the worms then cover it up again. If it's really dry, try to save laundry/shower water to add to the holes.
3. I definitely agree with adding diakon in the fall to help.


 
gardener
Posts: 813
Location: Galicia, Spain zone 9a
184
dog duck chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts pig bike bee solar ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Angler wrote:What you do is partly based on what you want the area to look like/be planted with in the long term.
My first comment: plant any cheap seeds (grocery store dried beans for example) that will give you biomass to chop and drop. Anything's better than nothing!


Good idea Jay. We have a similar problem. Because we have high rainfall in winter and live in a caravan, we covered a lot of the ground in one field so we  could move around without trecking mud everywhere. Having taken up the cover to plant, the ground is really compacted, even where there was little to no traffic.  I will try some dried peas and see if they will bust it up a bit.
 
Posts: 263
64
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Johnathan, for your cool growing area, on that clay soil, Annual or Biennial Sweet Clover could be a good option to get biomass and roots down deep in that clay, plus is pollinator friendly. For chop and drop, get a variety thats multi cut. You could also do radishes mixed in, as the Sweet clover tends to let ample light through when planted at proper spacing.

For people in warm areas with calcium rich soil, the Silver River varietie recently released from Texas A&M, will perform well in areas like Southern Texas and Florida. Definitely layer on compost or what ever kind of manures you can get, with a good mulch layer if possible, like old hay straw and or woodchips. The compost tea recomended will help increase soil microb biodiversity, while charging up that high cat ion exchange your benefiting from with your clay soil. If you don't mind perennial ground cover mixed in, use Landino White clover, and mulch mow it for chop and drop, if you don't have any chickens or livestock that will benefit from its 24% protien content.

Hope that helps!
 
Posts: 41
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
8
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jonathan Baldwerm wrote:As per recommendations, I ripped up the most afflicted area of landscaping fabric.  It was amazing how many roots were in the 4 inches of organic matter above the fabric, and how dead and lifeless things looked below it.  It's also incredibly compacted below, maybe some of the most compacted clay I've seen.  



That was the exact situation I had when I started rehabbing our foundation plantings, with just mulch over landscape fabric when we bought the property. No plants at all. The mulch had broken down into fairly nice soil on top of the weed barrier, and it was home to worms and lots of thin roots. Beneath, it was practically pottery.

I used a digging fork to break up the clay and raked the healthy soil into it, then added some compost and a bunch of red clover seed. I gave the clover a couple of months to get established, chopped and dropped, let it recover, chopped and dropped again, then mulched deeply. The beds are absolutely thriving. As the occasional clover peeks through, I just cut the leaves off so the root dies back.

Daniel
0B4951CD-C0A6-46BA-98A8-50747B37C1B8.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 0B4951CD-C0A6-46BA-98A8-50747B37C1B8.jpeg]
 
Jonathan Baldwerm
Posts: 18
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
1
cat fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for all the great ideas.  I had some old corn and bean seeds I was given a few years ago and hadn't gotten rid of, so I spread a bunch of those in there.  Corn doesn't produce much here, but it does at least grow and seems to be doing well so far.  Also threw in some leftover crimson clover and buckwheat from another project, which is also doing pretty well.  Will start getting more wood chips and other organic matter in there as it becomes available.  I multiplied some stropharia spawn in a bed near one of the previously fabric areas earlier this year, and the mycelium are still roaming around in the area, so hopefully they'll assist in there.  Daniel your beds look truly amazing!
 
Daniel Ackerman
Posts: 41
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA zone 6b
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Jonathan. I’m really pleased with my Year 1. Fingers crossed year 2 looks this good.
 
Jay Angler
gardener
Posts: 1112
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
317
duck books chicken cooking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
An author I was reading last year speaks highly of corn because it generates a lot of carbon. People often focus on nitrogen in the soil, but many of our abused soils need carbon as well to break up the soil and the corn roots will make pathways in the soil. I often plant things for the sake of the soil regardless of whether or not I get a crop and consider it a "Gift to the Compost Gods".
 
Power corrupts. Absolute power xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is kinda neat.
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!