Copyright © 2005 Tammy Clayton
"I don’t want any weeds to have to deal with."
The infamous statement uttered by millions. That is a pretty tall order to attempt to fill. Over years, I have discovered that many people believe fallacy that rock mulch over plastic or landscape cloth will render their planting free of weeds forever and ever. Covering up soil equals no weeds?
In truth this is an absolutely not possible. After fighting weeds on hundreds of acres over decades of weeks, I can assure you it is just not possible. Nothing is sure in life but weeds and taxes. It is best to Accept fact that one will have to deal with them after a while.
That plastic will begin to deteriorate and poke up through mulch looking very unsightly. Don’t try to remove it after a few years either, it will fall all apart and be partly under dirt and partly stuck in root systems of maturing shrubs. You’ll not be able to till up parts of bed for a new look without angst over rototiller being all bound up with strips of plastic and rocks wedged tightly between tines.
Landscape plastic will only delay weeds and cause another series of problems. It is commonly known that plastic repels water. That little hole left in plastic sheeting around base of your shrub or tree is not going to allow enough water to pass through to roots at all. The fuller leaf canopy, less water will drip down through to center instead majority of moisture will run off around drip line. Plastic does not breathe either and healthy roots need air along with their water for plants to be healthy and flourish.
Stone mulch will either make roots hotter or colder, depending on weather as stone radiates heat and cold. The reason for mulch to be applied is to insulate root system from extremes and help retain moisture longer to promote health of plants. Those plants that need air to roots will not thrive under plastic and stone where insufficient air makes them weak and sickly.