Functioning weed blocker material can eliminate the need for herbicides.

What Side Goes Down on Weed Blocker Material?

by Angela Ryczkowski

Weed blocker material, also known as geotextile, landscape fabric or weed barrier fabric, is prized for its ability to suppress weeds. Unlike clear or black plastic, it permits the movement of air and water into the soil. Proper installation is crucial to achieve the maximum benefits this material offers and prolong its effective life.

1. Orienting Weed Blocker Fabric

The fuzzy side of weed blocker fabric should be against the ground and the shiny or smooth side should face up. The side that faces up may have writing and one or more lines on it. These lines are used to align multiple sections of fabric where they overlap. The fuzzy side helps to hold the material in place against the ground. One exception is if the material is installed on a steep slope. In this case, installing the material with the fuzzy side up helps hold any mulch materials that will go atop the fabric in place.

2. Preparing for Landscape Fabric

Prior to laying weed blocker fabric, clear the site of rocks, sticks, weeds and other debris. Move soil around to fill in any low spots and level out high spots so the weed barrier fabric will be solidly in contact with the ground.

3. Laying and Securing Fabric

The fabric is laid in strips, with ends and sides of the fabric tucked securely against or buried under any edging, so there are no gaps between the fabric and edging. Overlap multiple sections of fabric by at least 6 inches and ideally by about 12 inches to eliminate the possibility that weeds will grow between sections. If there are desirable plants already growing in the site, use a utility knife to cut an "X" in the fabric and fit the opening over the plant. Push or pound pins or stakes for use with landscape fabric through the material into the ground at least every 3 feet, focusing along the material edges. Keep any pins or stakes and any cutting tools out of the reach of children.

4. Maintenance

Weed barrier fabric can break down quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. Spreading a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch like wood chips or decorative stones atop the material protects the fabric from degradation in the light while also improving the site's appearance. Promptly remove any weeds that grow through or on top of the fabric, addressing them before they grow large enough to create significant holes in the material. If possible, limit foot traffic and pet or children activity in areas with fabric to prevent wear and tearing in the material that can greatly decrease its effectiveness.

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