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If you’ve been gardening for a while, you’ve probably dealt with landscape fabric. Maybe you’ve used it to set up your mulch, prevent the growth of weeds, or prepare your garden for planting. If you have been in such a situation, you may wonder whether it’s safe to double-layer the fabric.
You can double-layer landscape fabric. However, it’s generally not safe, especially in your vegetable garden. The extra layer of fabric could adversely affect the soil. Therefore, double layering landscape fabric would be counterproductive and could destroy your garden.
The rest of this article will explain a few topics related to the question, including the effects of double layering your landscape fabric and how to use the gardening equipment. I’ll also shed light on the benefits of using landscape fabric correctly.
Why You Shouldn’t Double Layer Landscape Fabric
One of your first instincts, when you buy an oversized landscape fabric, is to overlap its edges to fit it into your little garden. However, as I mentioned before, taking such action could ruin your garden for many reasons. I’ll go over these reasons below.
The Double Layer Inhibits Water and Air Passage
A key component of healthy soil is to allow for the passage of air and water, which nourishes the plants in your garden.
Conventionally, landscape fabrics are designed with perforations to allow air and water to reach the soil. The fabric allows for this passage ideally when installed in a single layer (source).
However, when you double-layer your landscape fabric, the top layer blocks the openings at the bottom so air and moisture can’t get through. The additional layer creates a desert environment for your plants while you think it’s nourishing them.
The Double Layer Makes Weeding Difficult
One primary concept of landscape fabrics is that installing them will keep weeds from sprouting by blocking sunlight. However, the system is not 100% effective. Weed seeds can blow at the top and sprout on the mulch used to cover the fabric (source).
When this happens, the weeds can flourish and attach their roots to the fabric openings that allow water and air passage.
Dealing with the issue in a single-layer landscape fabric is easy, as all you have to do is simply pull the weeds out. However, in a double layer, the weeds attach themselves to both the layers’ perforations, making weeding a nightmare.
In this case, you may have to remove the whole landscape fabric for effective weeding, and this can be a hassle.
The Double Layer Blocks Nutrients
You may set up two layers of landscape fabric with the notion that it’ll enhance soil protection and inhibit the mulch on top from decaying so you don’t have to change it frequently.
However, that’s not the case. Most mulches are made from wood byproducts, which naturally decay when exposed to water no matter the circumstances. In fact, this is the point of using the products in mulch; they decay and form nutrients that sip into the soil.
Nonetheless, a double layer prevents the nutrients from sipping into the soil due to the blocked perforations. Therefore, the decaying mulch goes to waste rather than making your soil healthier.
How to Use a Landscape Fabric
Now that we’ve explored the dangers of setting a double-layer landscape fabric, let’s see how you should install it correctly. You can set up your landscape fabric and enjoy its full benefits by following these simple steps:
- Measure the garden. Take adequate measurements to ensure you get the correct sized landscape fabric for your garden.
- Pick a professional-grade landscape fabric. The quality of landscape fabric makes all the difference in why some work better than others. If you’re having trouble choosing a suitable fabric, I highly recommend the GDNaidb Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric (link to Amazon). This fabric is affordable, thick, and consists of woven pp fabric that effectively prevents weed growth, but allows air and water passage.
- Add and level amendments. Add soil fertilizers (such as organic matter) to the garden soil before installing the landscape since you can’t add them later. Level the soil and organic matter to form an even terrain.
- Lay out the fabric. Set and roll the fabric across the garden with the rough part facing down. If you use more than one fabric, overlap the edges by a few inches or tuck one over the other to ensure it’s secured.
- Pin fabric. Install landscape pins 8 inches (20 cm) apart along the fabric’s edges. Ensure the pins are attached firmly so they don’t fall loose.
- Cut holes. Cut sizable holes around on the fabric and ensure they’re adequate for the plant you plan on growing.
- Mulch it. Cover the fabric in around 2 inches (5.08 cm) of mulch to hold down the fabric and enhance soil and plant protection. You can use any mulch you please.
Perks of Installing Your Layer Landscape Fabric Correctly
When installed correctly, your layer landscape fabric can serve your garden in various ways.
One of the most prevalent benefits is preventing weed growth. The fabric blocks sun rays from penetrating the soil, preventing weed seeds from germinating. With the proper use, you don’t have to spend much money buying harmful herbicides (source).
The fabric also helps your soil retain moisture by preventing evaporation. When soil is exposed, the sun and wind can evaporate all its water, leaving it dry. This means your garden will require more water than usual to keep the plants hydrated.
Thus, using the fabric protects it from such elements. It breeds a healthier soil for plant growth, and you’ll notice your kitchen garden has become much healthier after installing a landscape fabric.
Double layering your landscape fabric on your garden is never a good idea. It contributes to unhealthy soil by preventing water, air, and nutrients from reaching the soil. Additionally, weeding is tedious and burdensome when the unwanted plants grow from your mulch.
However, correctly installing the landscape fabric is an easy process that yields many benefits. It protects your garden soil and makes it healthier over time. So, don’t stop using landscape fabrics, simply install them correctly!