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what to do with existing landscape cloth  RSS feed

Posts: 142
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama)
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I have a lot of landscape cloth on my flower gardens and have planted some fruit trees there also.  I suspect the landscape cloth is maybe 7 or 8 years old and it has a lot of wood chips that have composted down to dirt.  I find earthworms on top and beneath the cloth.
Should I look at pulling up this cloth when I have new chips available or is it okay to just leave in place and let time do its work?
Posts: 969
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Been there!

I put down that grey landscaping fabric that kind of looks like felt.  I put it all over and then covered it with 8 inches of wood chips about 15 years ago.  And I've regretted it for years.  I still find that stuff out in my garden and orchard, only now the tree roots have grown through it and it's impossible to pull up. 

You've just got to get out there and pull it up.  The problem is that it sort breaks down after a while and when you try to pull it up, it turns into a mass of fibers --- almost like a spider web.  The sooner you can pull it up, the easier it is.

What I hate about it is that you can see exactly where the mulch stops and the soil begins:  the broken-down mulch is black and beautiful, while the soil beneath is grey, lifeless clay.  The worms don't even want to go down to the clay soil, and even if they did, the fabric stops them.

It's one of about 500 things I've done over the years that I deeply regretted later.

Hang in there!
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The amount of time it takes for most landscape fabrics to decompose is measured in Decades not Years.
The stuff is a barrier material, it does not let water or much of anything through it.
What it does is tear instead of actually decomposing since I've never seen one of these products that isn't some type of artificial material, I doubt it would ever decompose when under a cover such as mulch or soil.
I know of one commercial building garden that we installed the stuff in 1974 and it is still doing the job (40 years later) we used if for (this is a rock garden, the barrier was put down to stop any weeds from establishing) today with very little wear and tear showing.

I would take the time to get it out of there, your plants will like you for doing so.

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