Many gardeners use landscape fabric to make maintenance tasks easier. On the other hand, professional gardeners as well as several landscaping companies say that installing the fabric may do more harm than good. Here are some reasons why:
1. The material compacts the soil. Healthy soil is characterized by a crumbly and loose texture. This type of soil helps plants spread their roots and grow without too much work from the gardener. Under a landscape fabric, the soil becomes hard and compact which could make digging rather difficult.
2. Makes de-weeding harder. While landscape fabric could reduce the number of weeds in a garden, it won’t entirely get rid of them. Those that do manage to get through the fabric get tangled with the material and are harder to remove since this could mean removing the entire landscape fabric.
3. Landscape fabric contains chemicals. A common chemical found in landscape fabrics is petroleum. Most gardeners avoid using the products with petroleum and other chemicals around plants especially if these are edible. This is to keep the chemicals from seeping into the plants.
4. It is expensive. To properly install the fabric, there are materials like pins in order to keep the fabric down. This further increases the cost since it may be necessary to patch the fabric or install additional pins throughout the year. Plus, doing so takes a considerable amount of time.
5. The process takes precision. There’s not a lot of room for error in using landscape fabric. But gardeners are known for changing their minds. One season, they may want to plant a particular plant at a particular place and could change over time. Planting could become harder with landscaping fabric present.
6. Re-seeding can become troublesome. One of the joys in gardening is seeing which plants have re-seeded themselves year after year. When using a landscape fabric, it would be difficult for the plants to reseed themselves.
An alternative to use rather than landscape fabric is by installing a thick layer of wood chips or mulch in the garden to combat weeds. This solution is relatively inexpensive, attractive, and will not negatively affect soil quality.