Throughout history,gardeners have used various materials to hold moisture in the soil and reduceweeding chores. One old-fashioned technique was to layer newspapers around plants, water thoroughly and add a top dressing of mulch or straw. The zinc in the ink was purported to reduce weed seed germination, and at the end of the season, the biodegradable mulch and paper could be turned into the soil.
Times have changed, and today there are a wide variety of landscape fabric options. To choose the right one for your needs, consider these four factors:
Non-woven fabrics provide an effective, long-term solution to weed suppression. Made frompolyester or polypropylene, the material is non-porous, so it restricts oxygen and resists water penetration. These two factors reduce weed growth but they can harm the root systems of trees, shrubs and plants. Non-woven materials can be used to stabilize soil behind retaining walls or as under layments for paver patios or crushed stone walkways. They block weeds, help prevent paving materials from sinking into the soil and discourage ants and other insects from burrowing underneath.