For years, landscapers had few tools to fight weeds and control the growth of other undesirable plants, and the only real reliable solution was the use of harsh chemical pesticides. However, those have some significant downsides, and nobody was happy with their continued use.
Then, landscapers took a page from the world of agriculture and started to use landscaping fabric as a multipurpose solution, and it’s now a go-to tool in every modern landscaper – and homeowner’s – arsenal. To explain why, here are seven benefits of using heavy-duty fabric in landscaping.
1. Preventing Weed Growth
Stopping weeds was the main reason that landscapers started using heavy-duty fabric in the first place. By robbing weed seeds of the light they need to grow, heavy-duty fabric acts as a long-term solution to halt weed growth in its tracks. Installing heavy-duty fabric can serve as a weed control measure for years with little to no additional intervention.
2. Minimizing Pesticide Use
Although modern pesticides are engineered with safety in mind – they’re still chemicals that humans should be wary of. Using heavy-duty fabric to control weeds makes it possible to minimize pesticide use, and in many cases, it removes the need for pesticides at all.
3. Improving Moisture Retention
Heavy-duty fabric also prevents moisture from evaporating out of the soil it covers. This reduces the need for excess watering of plants and helps desirable plantings to grow healthy and extensive root systems that will help them grow and thrive for years. In an era when water conservation is essential, this is one of the most critical benefits of heavy-duty fabric use in landscaping.
4. Preventing Erosion
Even though heavy-duty fabric made for landscaping is semi-permeable and will allow moisture through to the soil below, it also acts as a check on excessive soil erosion. Especially when installed on slopes and where runoff is common, heavy-duty fabric prevents soil from being carried away by flowing water. There are even heavy-duty fabrics made for use in construction that offer erosion protection as a primary benefit.
5. Keeps Rocks and Inorganic Mulch out of Soil
Another benefit of heavy-duty fabric is that it prevents rocks and other inorganic matter (like rubber and synthetic mulch products) from mixing with soil. That helps to keep the soil healthier and more suitable for whatever ornamental plants the landscaper chooses. It also mitigates some of the potential long-term hazards of using inorganic materials in otherwise organic landscapes.
6. Stabilizes Soil Temperature
Using heavy-duty fabric for landscaping also helps to stabilize soil temperatures, allowing for optimized plant growth. For example, black fabric can increase soil temperatures and retain heat, while lighter colored fabrics can reduce heat island effects.
7. Simplifying Hardscaping
These days, backyards and gardens aren’t just made of grass and ornamental plants. They also tend to include a variety of hardscaping – which is the incorporation of things like bricks, stone, and pavers into the landscape, and heavy-duty fabric both enables and simplifies the process of hardscaping. It simultaneously forms and underlayment for such additions, and serves as a pattern to follow when adding those materials.