What Is A Weed Barrier?
A weed barrier is a type of plastic sheeting used to keep weeds from growing around plants. There are two types of these barriers; plastic and metal mesh. Plastic barriers are generally less expensive than metal ones, but they do not last forever (in fact some have been known to break down). Metal mesh barriers are usually cheaper, but they tend to rust over time if left exposed too long. They will still work fine for now though!
Plastic barriers are available in many different sizes and thicknesses. You can buy them in rolls of 2’x2′ or 4’x4′, which makes it easy to cover several square feet at once. If you’re looking for something that’s cheap enough to get started with, consider buying a roll of 2″ plastic sheeting from your local hardware store. These come in packs of 100 sheets so there’s no need to worry about running out!
Metal mesh barriers are typically made of galvanized steel, which is very strong and durable. However, they can rust over time if left exposed to sunlight. Since they are metal, they may scratch easily when planted in soil or rocks. They also don’t hold up well against wind erosion because their shape doesn’t allow them to move freely. For best results, choose one of these materials over plastic since it won’t rust like galvanized steel will.
You will also need something to cut the sheeting with. While it is possible to use a scissors, you can also use a utility knife or specialized landscape fabric scissors if you want to make the process easier.
Once you have everything you need, then you’re ready to begin. Just follow these steps for a simple barrier that prevents most weeds from growing:
Measure and cut your sheeting. You’ll need to measure the area where you’ll be placing the barrier. Remember that you want about a 2-3″ allowance on each side for overlap (more on angled areas). Also consider the height of the barrier, which should be at least a few inches taller than the tallest anticipated plants or grass. Cut the barrier to size and set aside.
Add a layer of landscape fabric. This step is optional, but it’s recommended if you have heavy soil or a lot of rocks on the surface. The fabric should be placed over the entire area before the barrier so that it’s held in place. If you’re using a roll of 2″ barrier, two strips about 4′ x 25′ will do.
Add your soil or growing medium. This is where the plastic or metal mesh will be placed. Simply spread your growing medium over the entire area and make sure it’s packed down firmly before placing the barrier.
Add your plants or seeds. When your barrier is in place, add your desired plants or seeds. If using seedlings, make a small hole large enough to accommodate the roots when you place it in the ground. If using seeds, simply spread them over the surface and lightly press them into the soil so they make contact. Keep in mind that if your barrier is 2″ or less in height, plants with large root systems won’t be able to grow under it.
Finish by watering the area thoroughly. Be sure to create a system to keep the soil wet, such as a soaker hose.
The important thing to remember is that the barrier needs to stay in place for at least 6 months to a year before most common weeds start to grow through it and up into your growing area. Once this happens, you can simply lift out the plastic and any weeds that come with it by hand. You can also leave them in place and plant through them if you prefer. Either way, your growing area will be free of weeds!
If at any time you need to remove plants for any reason, such as to replace, simply cut around the base of the plant with a knife and lift it out. This won’t disturb the soil or damage the barrier in any way since only the plants are in direct contact with it.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about sheet mulch gardening. It’s a very simple method that produces great results in minimal time. It’s also the perfect solution for anyone who wants to grow their own food, but doesn’t want all the work or upkeep that usually comes with it.
If you want to find out more about sheet mulch or other gardening methods, then I encourage you to seek out the resources in your area. There are many communities, both online and offline that can help you learn more. Gardening isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, but it’s also not something that you necessarily need training for either. It’s up to you to do the research and find out what works best for you. Happy gardening!
Sources & references used in this article:
Gaia’s garden: a guide to home-scale permaculture by T Hemenway – 2009 – books.google.com
… Vegetable Garden Problem Solver: The Best and Latest Advice for Beating Pests, Diseases, and Weeds and Staying a Step Ahead of Trouble in the Garden by FM Bradley – 2007 – books.google.com
Increased resistance to copper‐induced damage of the root cell plasmalemma in copper tolerant Silene cucubalus by CHR De Vos, H Schat, MAM De Waal… – Physiologia …, 1991 – Wiley Online Library