Return to the Weeds Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Posted by nodivisions PA (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 12, 14 at 21:07


We have a side hill that's really overgrown with weeds. It's about 10 feet tall by 100 feet long and maybe 30 degrees steep. About twice a year I go and pull out or cut down all the trees that have sprouted, usually a dozen or two, between 1 and 4 feet tall. But this is really a hassle because the entire hill is overgrown with poison ivy; even when I go and cut/pull trees at the very end of winter, long before the poison starts growing, I still get the rash on my skin.

I've had a couple landscaping companies tell me it would be thousands of dollars to clear the hill and get something like ground cover planted... but even then they say the weeds will probably still come back.

At this point my primary goal is just to stop having to cut out trees all the time. Aside from the fact that we don't have thousands of dollars to spend on this, we're also not terribly concerned about having "weeds" (i.e. native vegetation) there; we just don't want to spend so much time and effort maintaining the weeds.

So what's the cheapest, easiest way to stop or at least greatly slow the weed growth? I'm thinking of just covering the whole hill in landscaping fabric. Lowe's sells this gray woven landscape fabric (Tyvar brand, I think?), the kind that lets air and water through, with a 15-year warranty, which I could cover the whole hill with for about $100. But the issue is, the hill is too steep to cover with mulch; it would all just slide to the bottom. My question is, if I just install the landscaping fabric (pinned down) with nothing on top of it, how effective would that be?

Or what about thick black plastic sheeting instead? But I think the sun will destroy that quicker than the fabric, right?

I did spray an entire large (~2 gallon?) pump full of Round-Up onto the hill last year; it took forever and had virtually no effect on the weeds. I think they briefly turned yellow like they were dying, but came back just as strong a week or two later. And I'd rather avoid herbicides if possible.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Landscape fabrics and/or plastic won't work. An instant method for sheets of water moving down the hill and causing severe erosion at the foot of the slope.

For Roundup to be effective, you must apply it at the correct time -- when the photosynthetically produced sugars are moving into the roots. Generally that's at or just prior to bloom.
If applied during the growing season, the stuff moves upward in the plant, turning it yellow -- the plant survives.

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Why not let the trees grow? What kind are they?

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Well, the foot of the slope is a street. I can see how plastic sheeting would result in lots of runoff, but wouldn't the fabric (which is porous and designed to allow water to pass through) be much better in this regard?

I didn't know Round-Up had to be applied at a certain time like that -- thanks.

I don't want to let the trees grow because they're about 3 feet from the street, in a steep rocky hill, which seems like a liability at best, if not a disaster waiting to happen. Plus they'd be shading the south side of our yard where our garden is. I don't know what kind of trees they are.

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

The label tells the dose and timing.

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Touted to allow water and air through, landscape fabrics do - but not as much as soil covered by mulch or turf. They still create more runoff when by themselves.

But, the other concern is that most of them are black - creating much more heat when hit by the sun, drying soil beneath more quickly and creating more heat for foliage of wanted plants to deal with.

Not to mention the visual effect.

Maybe an alternative would be a "weed torch" used on the trees? Seems like either that or concrete...

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Torching the weeds isn't an option due to local ordinances, plus from what I understand, burning poison ivy is a bad idea.

The landscape fabric I mentioned here is actually gray, not black, so it should generate somewhat less heat. And there won't be any wanted plants in the vicinity, so I'm not really worried about that, nor am I especially worried about the appearance -- plain gray landscape fabric probably won't look amazing, but it already doesn't look amazing since it's just a weed-overgrown hill.

The problem that I had in mind, but no one has brought up, is the efficacy of the landscape fabric for actually killing the weeds or preventing their growth. Would landscape fabric accomplish that with no mulch on top? Or would the weeds just grow straight through it?

RE: Landscaping fabric without mulch?

Do NOT use landscape fabric, no matter what the color is! My grandson and I spent 2 days pulling up the 3 rolls I had a landscaper put down 1 1/2 years ago because of severe weeds growing right thru it. My sister used an old rug, cutting it in pieces, and hasn't had a weed since. The only downside is if you plan on putting in new plants, you will have to cut the carpet for a space to plant. Cardboard is another alternative, but I've heard newspaper breaks down easier.

If you think you might want to try rugs, there's plenty of them at thrift stores~use one of those sharp blade tools for cutting. Probably less money than the landscaping fabric and a lot less frustrating.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Weeds Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here