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Weeds? BLOCKED!!!!

As many of you may remember, our very first project here at Rental House Rules was putting in a flower bed…

And in so doing, that I tried a weed-blocking fabric I’ve never used before…

And that when I did, I promised you, loyal readers, an update about how well the stuff actually works…


It is my great pleasure to report that weed-blocking fabric works!!!

For the most part.

I mean, it’s not impervious or anything.

But, it has greatly reduced our “need to weed” which, in Western PA, is worth its environmental footprint. (It’s made of petroleum products = not biodegradable, etc.)

Here’s a pre-weeding-session shot:

Not too bad!

Especially considering that a similarly cleared area without weed-blocking fabric in our backyard looked like this:

Same property. Same process (minus one step).

Here’s a few shots of what I found in the front flower bed:



And the occasional clump of “prickers.” (I don’t know what they’re really called, but they hurt like heck if you step on them barefoot.)

That’s about it… really.

The stuff toward the back is not weeds, but rather climbing flowers — namely Nasturnium & Morning Glory — that hadn’t really flowered at the time this pic was taken.

See how they’re beginning to climb the lattice? Squee! They’re going to look SO pretty!!!

By contrast, here are a couple of pics of what I pulled out of the backyard un-weedblocked area…

Big difference.

To further illustrate, here’s the body count from the front flower bed…

And from the bench area:

Weed-blocked flower bed weeding = 1 person/4 minutes

Non weed-blocked “flower bed” weeding = 2 people/30 minutes

Yeah. We’re sold on the evil petroleum fabric.

If you’re still on the fence, here are a few other points of interest:

1) The flower bed in front is filled with nutrient-rich garden soil and had almost no weeds; The flower bed in back is plain old Pennsylvania dirt, yet had tons of weeds.

2) This has been one of the rainiest Spring/Summer seasons in recorded PA history. Which means the flowers are growing like crazy… but in our front flower bed (where we used the fabric), the weeds are not.

3) I will definitely harbor a little eco-guilt for using the petroleum-based stuff instead of trying the same technique using biodegradable paper bags. However, I doubt the paper would work as well, considering how rainy it is here. I’m pretty sure they would have decomposed already.

4) I don’t think we would have had even that many weeds in the front bed had I not gone all crazy & decided to poke tiny holes in the weedblocking fabric to plant groundcover seeds.

Tip: Fill your spouse/significant other/roommate in on your landscaping plans so they don’t accidentally pull up all of your ground cover sprouts — because he/she thought they were weeds instead of flowers…


Dan — “I don’t think that weedblock fabric works very well. I had to pull up a ton of little helicopter-blade shaped thingies when I weeded the other day.”

Me — “Helicopter blades? … Oh, you mean my Morning Glories?”

Dan — “D’oh!”

Anyway… the fabric really works. (On veggie gardens, too.) And yes, we will be laying some down underneath that park bench once the weather decides to cooperate for a minute.

Here’s some after shots to seal the “sell you on weed-blocking fabric” deal:


Look, ma! Wood chips!



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