Preventing Weeds with a Burlap Layer
It’s Springtime again, and that means landscaping and gardening are back in full swing. However, before you lay down new mulch or soil, consider adding extra protection against weeds with a burlap sheet. Weeds can be a nuisance and can get worse as they grow and spread. Mulch and gravel can deter some of the weaker species but they aren’t perfect when it comes to more tenacious plants. A burlap layer can provide a screen that blocks unwanted weeds from robbing the nutrients from your soil. This, in turn, allows your plants to flourish.
“Why burlap?” you might ask. Burlap is a decomposable and inexpensive material made of plant matter. Standard burlap lasts about 7-12 months which means it’ll decompose in just about the same time period that you’d have to worry about weeds. It will also add extra nutrients for your plants in the fall and winter months once it begins disintegrating. Additionally, the weaving of the burlap allows for the free flow of liquids and nutrients, while filtering out unwanted seeds and spores. Together, these factors make burlap an excellent material for the job.
To lay down burlap in your own plant bed, you’ll want to first acquire enough burlap to cover your bed. It’s good to keep in mind though that the more you use, the better protection you’ll have and the less weed pulling you’ll have to do later on. Once you have your burlap rolls and your plants have broken the surface, make sure you have enough depth in your bed so that mulch, soil, or gravel can be laid on top without making the terrain too uneven with the elevation around it. It’s recommended for your bed to be about 3’ deep before adding more material, but you can use your own judgement on this.
Once you have your plant bed ready, you can start unrolling the burlap fabric while making sure to overlap the sheets by about a foot. This overlap prevents weeds from breaking through the cracks between the sheets, and not doing this can create lines of weeds that can be quite annoying. When it comes to avoiding obstacles like your plants, use a utility knife to cut the burlap from the side closest to the plant or obstacle. For thin plants, cut out a slit, while larger plants and rocks require you to either trace out the shape with a knife or create another slit that will allow you to fold the material so that areas around the object are double layered. The same applies for the edges of the flower bed. Folding at the edges helps to keep your bedding in place without exposing any of the burlap.
Once you’ve successfully covered your plant bed with burlap, inspect the layer to make sure that there are no holes. It is not necessary, but it is recommended to utilize specially made metallic pins to pin the fabric in place. This adds additional push against anything that might pop-up and can be useful if your bed is on or near an incline that might make the burlap shift slowly down hill. Once you’re confident that your layer is sturdy and has good coverage, you can now place your mulch or other materials on top of the sheet. Again, make sure there are no holes in this layer as well to make sure the burlap sheet is fully out-of-sight.
And that about covers it. Your burlap layer should go a long way towards preventing weeds further on in the season and will stop them before they even become a problem. This method of weed prevention is an annual process that helps to maintain the health of your soil and ensure as little competition for your plant as possible. We hope this information was useful to you. Happy gardening!