Use of plastic as a weed barrier

jskeyes2(Z10 San Diego)July 29, 2005

I am sure this has been posted a lot, but I am having trouble finding a good thread.

I am updating my kids play area with chips, and also am gonig to remove some sod and add some gravel for parking. I am trying to decide whether to use landscape fabric or some plastic to help keep back weeds. If I use plastic, I was going to poke many holes in it to help with drainage.

Anyone got pros / cons / real life experience that can help me? Thanks.

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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

I don't like either. However plastic is the lesser of two evils. First it does nothing to let the soil breathe and poking holes will let the weeds come thru. If you have to go with anything then go with the fabric. But be prepared for dirt to blow in with weed seed and weeds will still creep under the edges and sonetimes poke thru the fabric. Both degrade after a time, although the plastic will sooner than the fabric. Neither is fun to cleanup at this stage.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 5:33PM
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The_Mohave__Kid(Nevada)

"Anyone got pros / cons / real life experience that can help me?"

My real life experiences as a full time landscaper tell me it's a waste of time and money. It will not keep weeds out and in time the plastic / fabric works it's way to the surface and makes a big mess.

Good Day ...

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 5:35PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Meant to say that the *fabric* is the lesser of two evils.....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 5:35PM
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ilovetobasco(west texas)

I agree with the mohave kid. Maybe instead of fabric you should consider using a pre emergent herbicide. Pre emergent will keep seeds from germinating and keep the mess of fabric and plastic from even becoming an issue.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 11:56AM
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oldherb(z8 Oregon)

I vote for the fabrics over the pre-emergents as at least you can eventually get rid of the fabric and you will probably only have to buy it once. THe weeds that do sprout are very easy to pull up and it would be a good task for the kidlets. We keep finding chemical companies are hiding all kinds of stuff from us or just finding out that some of what we once thought to be safe are not...I vote for chemical free whenever possible due to this.

I used to work in the Plant Nursery industry and we used a heavy duty woven fabric that I know if you look you should be able to find somewhere. I would look at horticultural supply houses (wholesale) first but if I were doing what you are. This heavy duty stuff lasts a lifetime. Nurseries use is under crushed rock in fields where they have thier container plants and in driveways, so your application would be great. It does let air and water through but not weeds which is always best for the soils and the critters that keep our soils healthy.

I wouldn't even be too ashamed to ask a local nursery if they have extra on hand you could buy off them if you cannot find anyone to sell it to you otherwise.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 12:16PM
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jhunter(Z5 NE)

Do you want your child playing in the residue of something that can kill a dandelion? Before you decide, read the MSDS for what ever product you are considering.

Plastic will trap water and could encourage the growth of molds.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:40AM
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jskeyes2(Z10 San Diego)

Let's not get carried away here about having my kids around chemicals, I never mentioned that. Having said that, it is a gravel parking area, I don't see them likely to play in that area when I have an acre of lawn.

Thanks for all the replied. I think that I am going to skip the plastic and fabric and just put down a lot of gravel and pull / sray the weeds when they come up. My kids will live.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:56AM
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jhunter(Z5 NE)

Hey, I'm sorry; I did not mean to sound accusatory. Really. It's just that there are a lot of people who still think any chemical sold to the general public can't be all that dangerous.

I misunderstood and thought you were considering using the herbicide in the kids' play area. Some kind of barrier under that could be a good idea to contain the chips, if you think you'll want to remove them some day.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:15PM
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NikkoBlue(8b GA)

We used plastic for our daughters sand box, after one rain we had a pool..... we had to dig out all the sand, take the plastic out and dry the sand on tarps for weeks....we dug out the grass, 2" down and put down a little 'round up' on the edges, put the sand back in (about 4" deep), and we've only seen a few (4-5) weeds in 4 months. Pretty good odds in my opinon.

What we used:

What Happened:

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 2:44PM
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