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Manzanita 'Dr. Hurd' surface roots and weed barrier

Posted by jenn SoCal 9/19 (My Page) on
Thu, May 24, 12 at 19:35

Our front yard was re-landscaped a few years ago and the whole area covered with a white permeable weed barrier fabric. It does help to control weeds -- however, it is stuck to the surface like sticky shelf paper, and wherever I've peeled some back the soil is hard and doesn't appear that it has benefited at all by the mulch on top of the barrier.

There's a 3-year old Manzanita 'Dr. Hurd' with a mature Salvia leucantha encroaching on it (they were planted too close). I'm planning to remove the Salvia to give Dr. Hurd more space.

I peeled back the weed barrier fabric below Dr. Hurd and saw a layer of roots on the surface, many of them growing up through the fabric. I am planning to remove all the fabric. Should I cover the surface roots with native soil, or just mulch it with wood chips?

The tree is growing beautifully. Will I harm it by tearing up the fabric which may damage some surface roots?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Manzanita 'Dr. Hurd' surface roots and weed barrier

I would remove the fabric and mulch the surface with about four inches of vegetative mulch. I have had weed fabric added over mature shrubs actually kill them. When weed fabric is added over bare ground and then shrubs planted in cut openings they seem to do OK. Al

RE: Manzanita 'Dr. Hurd' surface roots and weed barrier

  • Posted by jenn SoCal 9/19 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 25, 12 at 13:45

Al, all the plants were planted at the same time the fabric was laid down; most were planted through cut openings. The plants seems OK after a few years, but it doesn't seem ideal for the long-term. Natives don't grow in nature with weed fabric up close to them. The fabric is literally stuck to the soil like sticky shelf paper and is very difficult to peel off.

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