What is the best weed barrier?
Ask any gardener, or home landscaper, and they will tell you one thing they dislike about maintaining a garden or landscape is dealing with the pesky weeds! Following the same mantra as with other garden pests, prevention is key! It’s easier to spend a little bit of time preventing weed germination than having to pull weeds after they sprout.
For that reason I have put together this post to talk about a few options when it comes to preventing those pesky weeds from showing up in our gardens. Let’s begin…
What is the best weed barrier?
Here is a quick preview of my top 5 options, for a more in-depth look at each one, please keep reading.
- Agfabric Easy-Plant Weed Block
- Berry Plastics Film-Guard Plastic Polyethylene Sheeting
- Red Mulch Garden Plastic
- White Plastic Mulch
- Dewitt Sunbelt Ground Cover
What is a weed barrier anyway?
Before we take a closer look at my top 5 options, let’s first define what a weed barrier is and why it is so important. Many people choose to lay down a weed barrier of some sorts to minimize weed growth. The barrier covers the soil surface and blocks sunlight from reaching it, and inhibiting the germination of weed seeds. If by chance weeds do germinate they won’t receive the sunlight they won’t penetrate and grow up through the barrier.
Most of the time weed barriers are a thin, plastic based material woven together to create a fabric. Water and air can permeate through the fabric, moving down to the root zone of the plants, but UV rays are blocked.
Now that we understand what a we mean by weed barrier, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular options for weed barriers in your flowerbeds and gardens.
Agfabric Easy-Plant Weed Block
This is an environmentally safe polyethylene and polypropylene yarn is woven tightly together to create this UV resistant weed block fabric. Its characteristic dark color prevents direct sunlight from reaching the soil and in turn inhibits the germination of pesky weed seeds. The strong structure of the resulting woven fabric prevents weeds or grass from growing up through the material, effectively inhibiting their growth; the gap created between the weave of the yarn allows for some water and air permeability minimizing root rot but allowing for some surface drainage.
Agfabric Easy-Plant Weed Block comes in rolls of fabric in 3’ widths. Planting holes 6” in diameter are spaced at varied intervals (6”, 8” or 12”) to make it easy to plant seedlings since no extra tools are needed to create holes in the fabric.
One feature that I particularly like especially when gardening are the premade planting holes. Simply, lay the weed barrier down and plant in the premade planting holes at the desired plant spacing, it is that easy. The heavy, 3oz weed block fabric will withstand many years before experiencing UV deterioration. Easy to clean up with water and store away for the next season.
Berry Plastics Film-Guard Plastic Polyethylene Sheeting
This is 4MIL black plastic, polyethylene sheeting stops weeds without the use of any potentially dangerous chemical methods. Available in 3’ widths the black plastic can be used as a weed barrier under mulch in flowerbeds or gardens, or under landscape rocks, gravel, pea stone, or pavers. The ecologically safe, heavy black plastic prevents sunlight from reaching the soil surface and allowing weeds to sprout. It also helps to warm the soil surface, helping to speed up the growth of flowers and vegetables resulting in better quality and sometimes higher yields.
The soil beneath the black plastic sheeting will retain moisture more efficiently too, preventing nutrients from leaching out of the root zone quickly and into groundwater sources. Berry Plastics Film-Guard Polyethylene sheeting is environmentally safe and easy to lay down in flower and garden beds.
Red Mulch Garden Plastic
Are you looking to get more tomatoes from your plants this season? If so, Red mulch garden plastic might just be the best weed barrier for you and your plants.
While acting as an environmentally safe weed barrier that reduces the need to apply synthetic chemicals to the garden, Red Mulch Garden Plastic is also proven to increase yields in tomato and eggplant crops. The environmentally safe red plastic reflects intensified red light back up towards plant leaves, increasing their photosynthetic capability and in turn increasing growth. Plants grown with Red Mulch Garden Plastic are known to have higher yields, stronger stems, and the tomatoes and eggplant ripen sooner.
This high-quality durable plastic is easy to work with in flat or raised beds – roll it out and cut to length — and will easily stand up to the environment for the entire growing season. Like the other weed barriers, it works to keep weeds at a minimum due to germination inhibition from lack of sunlight on the soil surface.
White Plastic Mulch
This white plastic, ecologically safe weed barrier is known to work well in many vegetable gardens including peas, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. It can help to improve yields by up to 20% while retaining soil moisture and reducing weeds. Plastic weed barriers are incredibly common in commercial vegetable production because of their known benefits. White Plastic Mulch provides the same positive effects as the darker colors – reducing weed growth, retaining soil moisture, minimizing fertilizer leaching, improving crop quality and yields – while contributing a unique feature to the garden.
The white plastic sheeting reflects heat instead of absorbing it. So unlike the darker colored plastic weed barriers, white plastic will help prevent the soil temperatures from rising, keeping it cooler. This is beneficial for some kind of vegetables that don’t do well in the heat and prefer a cooler soil temperature.
Dewitt Sunbelt Ground Cover
Designed for either outdoor or greenhouse use, Dewitt Sunbelt Ground Cover is UV stabilized and permeable to air and water. Guaranteed to last 5 years in direct sunlight the darkly colored plastic polypropylene fabric is woven tightly to prevent weed seed germination from lack of sunlight. This results in a low-cost, ecologically safe alternative to herbicide use in the garden.
One great feature that I like about this particular weed barrier are the yellow guide strips. These visible strips run the length of the weed barrier helping to align plants in rows with ease. Roll the DeWitt Sunbelt Ground Cover out to the desired length, and cut it with scissors or a utility knife. Water permeability means no worry about implementing special irrigation techniques; water makes its way through the fabric without causing soil erosion or nutrient leaching. For added measure, Dewitt Sunbelt Ground Cover is resistant to tearing or puncturing.
Now that you have chosen the right weed barrier, it is important to install it properly. Let’s take a look at the following video to see how to properly install your weed fabric.
Weed barriers make an excellent addition to any garden or flower bed. Their dark fabric construction keeps sunlight from striking the soil and germinating intrusive weed seeds. Even if germination does occur by chance, weeds cannot penetrate through the material, stopping them in their tracks. Having a weed free garden or flowerbed is well worth a few ounces of prevention early in the spring if it means not having to pull those pesky intruders!
Now it’s your turn, what do you think is the best weed barrier? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.