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Removing Weed Matting

 
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I have an area of my UK, zone 8/9 garden of around 200sqm. The area was used for a swing set for kids, a bunch of ornamentals and a gravel path. Underneath all of this is weed matting that is now, disintegrating or is very weedy with soil now accruing on the surface. Weed matting in this context, just seems to be one of the most idiotic time wasters I could think to apply. I didn't lay it but now I have to remove it...

The material on top is all between 3" and 6" deep. I plan on repurposing the area anyway as - in another act of genius by the previous occupier - this is the south side of the garden and accordingly, tall evergreen plants cast alot of shade to its north. My hope is to remove the taller shrubs / small trees and use for mulch and use the cleaner soil elsewhere. The gravel will go to fill potholes in the drive - although I'm having to build a sieve to separate the gravel from the soil its now in... Then, once the matting is lifted, I am thinking to lay grass seed / clover seed down for paths, and plant in between with perennial fruits / shrubs.

My question at the end of this ramble though - is there a better way for me to remove 3-6" of various materials on the matting, than just with hard graft and a spade? It feels like ALOT of back breaking work, but I'm not sure there is any better way - a digger for example would surely just tear up the matting at the same time?
 
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Oh my, I had this same problem. I put down weed matting (landscape cloth) thinking it would control weeds and ended up with a terrible mess. Because it covered such a large area, my husband ended up taking a tiller to it to cut through the mass of grasses and weeds growing through it. That was a mistake! It ended up shredding the cloth, resulting in hundreds of tiny bits of the stuff everywhere. I tried to rake up as much as I could, but so much of it had to be picked up by hand.



Years later, I still find pieces of it! I learned my lesson and will never use it again. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the best way to remove it, other than to encourage you to use whatever method shreds it the least. Even if it seems to take more time it will save the backbreaking work of hunting and pecking to find and pick up a bunch of little shreds and pieces.

Please let us know what you end up doing and how it works. I'll be curious.
 
Mj Lacey
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Leigh Tate wrote:Oh my, I had this same problem. I put down weed matting (landscape cloth) thinking it would control weeds and ended up with a terrible mess. Because it covered such a large area, my husband ended up taking a tiller to it to cut through the mass of grasses and weeds growing through it. That was a mistake! It ended up shredding the cloth, resulting in hundreds of tiny bits of the stuff everywhere. I tried to rake up as much as I could, but so much of it had to be picked up by hand.



Years later, I still find pieces of it! I learned my lesson and will never use it again. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the best way to remove it, other than to encourage you to use whatever method shreds it the least. Even if it seems to take more time it will save the backbreaking work of hunting and pecking to find and pick up a bunch of little shreds and pieces.

Please let us know what you end up doing and how it works. I'll be curious.



Thank you Leigh. Great to hear some direct experience.

Shovelling is my plan only to avoid this issue best I can, but what alot of work!

Hopefully someone has a magic bullet answer...
 
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We pulled some out at our last house it hadn't fallen apart because it was under wood chips, but the chips had grown a lot of weeds and some of their roots had grown through it. We found one end and started to roll it up moving as much of the lose stuff off it as possible, but not bothering with the roots etc that were stuck through it (mainly grass) we rolled the entire lot into a large ball/heap and left it there under a tarp to rot. after a year all the weeds had turned into compost and it was a fairly easy job to pull out the strips of fabric.
 
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