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What's the best weed barrier?
You have two good choices for the best weed barrier—organic mulch or high-quality landscape fabric. (Don't use
black plastic. It doesn't allow rain to reach plant roots, and it traps water vapor, which facilitates
the growth of mold and mildew.)
An organic mulch such as shredded bark, in a layer several inches deep, will help control
weeds. It will also decompose over time, which will add organic matter to the soil and make your
tree happier. However, you'll have to add more
organic mulch every couple of years.
Landscape fabric, when protected from sunlight,
decomposes more slowly than organic
mulch and doesn't need to be replaced as
often. However, the type of landscape
fabric makes a difference. Hold
the fabric up to the light
and make sure the pores
in the fabric are small
enough to prevent weeds
from growing through the
barrier. Also, a good-quality
is one you can't tear or
stretch easily. It should feel stiff,
not flimsy and limp.