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Weed fabric when planting new hedging

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Bfm, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Bfm

    Bfm Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi everyone. I'm planning on planting some hedging soon. It's going to span approx 30 feet.

    My understanding is that once the trench is dug and soil prepared it's simply a matter of planting. Is there any need to lay some weed control fabric and mulch? A friend has told me he done this before planting then added a top layer of mulch (wood chip).

    Many thanks for any help
     
  2. Verdun

    Verdun Passionate gardener

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    Hiya Bfm :)
    I hate weed fabric with a vengeance....soil is deprived of air, wildlife and creates a stagnant soil in my opinion. Looks awful too when the fabric shows through as it often does:sad:
    Far better is to use the money to add as much organic material as possible and then to apply a thick organic mulch. This will suppress weeds, feed the plants and look good:)
     
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    • Redwing

      Redwing Wild Gardener

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      No to the fabric for reasons @Verdun has stated but a big YES to mulch, whatever you have and the more the better. We've planted a lot of hedging over the years and mulched it to keep in moisture while the plants are small and to feed and suppress weeds. Manure is best but grass cuttings will do too.
       
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      • noisette47

        noisette47 Total Gardener

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        Isn't it funny how experiences and opinions differ?:) I've used membrane on some borders and always to plant hedges through, and found the results to be far better than where it wasn't used. Maybe soil type has some bearing on the benefits and drawbacks. It certainly reduces the need to water, and suppresses weeds entirely. As for the aesthetics, well the exuberant plant growth soon disguises the membrane.
        I use tons of extremely well-rotted cow-manure to improve my clay soil, and as a mulch too, but the result is a healthy crop of weeds every time it rains.
        The only genuine reason that I can see for not using membrane is in a mixed border where bulbs are grown and annuals self-sow.
         
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        • Redwing

          Redwing Wild Gardener

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          Also the Robins and Blackbirds and others can't scratch around for worms and other invertebrates because they are below the membrane. The worms cannot work in the dead leaves and other organic matter. Membrane is really bad for wildlife, plus it is plastic and will eventually end up in the watercourse and the seas. Don't use membrane, it is so bad.
           
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          • Tetters

            Tetters Gardener

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            I made a huge mistake using membrane and have now almost got rid of it. Everywhere it has been removed from was dead underneath - no worms, no life at all - like a big slab of congealed lard. Mother nature never did need plastic.
             
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            • Dave W

              Dave W Total Gardener

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              I do use membrane and bark chippings in some areas of our garden and have found that blackbirds DO dig for worms as the chippings break down. Worms do seem to manage to live there. If I look under our fruit trees I'll find craters in the decomposing bark where the blackies have been excavating.
              I'm not convinced that all membranes are 'plastic'.
               
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              • Tetters

                Tetters Gardener

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                [​IMG]don`t be sad liddle worm, you may survive :sad:
                 
              • Bfm

                Bfm Apprentice Gardener

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                Thanks everyone for your replies. I'd happily avoid the membrane if mulching alone would avoid the weeds. The area I'm planning on planting has already been overrun with weeds even though I put a few tons of topsoil down after removing a row of Leylandii. The recent hot and wet spells on the West Coast of Ireland probably hasn't helped?

                I see manure and grass mentioned as mulch. I collect a fair bit of grass each week from mowing. Please excuse my naivety but are you saying I can place grass clippings around the base of plants to act as mulch? Would this be in place of something like bark or in addition to? That would certainly be a handy way of using my grass clippings. I used to take my grass clippings to the dump on a trailer before I caught on and started using them for compost.

                I'm planning on removing the weeds before planting. Would manual removal be best or would it be ok to use a herbicide which I'd prefer to avoid? What would you recommend I add to the soil in preparation for planting? I have a large compost pile which is teaming with life ready to go but not sure what else to add.

                Thanks again folks
                 
              • Verdun

                Verdun Passionate gardener

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                Grass clippings as a mulch are a big no for me. I made a mistake of using clippings in my veg patch a few years ago and it introduced lots of grass weeds ....even now.

                I would skim off the weeds and bury them when you add manure etc. Your compost would be ideal and I would add granular fertiliser like fish blood and bone :)
                 
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                • Jiffy

                  Jiffy The Match is on Fire

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                  No fabric, a friend planted a hedge 100 foot and it didn't stop the weeds (bindweed :biggrin:) the bindweed just found the hole where he planted and up they come, looked a right mess
                   
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                  • noisette47

                    noisette47 Total Gardener

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                    Quite, Jiffy. How can you advise someone to 'skim off weeds and bury them' without knowing what they are? Bindweed?, couch grass?, field thistle? Then feed them too? You'd certainly have some impressive weeds
                     
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                    • Redwing

                      Redwing Wild Gardener

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                      Yes, grass clippings are a satisfactory mulch for keeping the moisture in while the young plants grow. You will need to do less watering in the first couple of years. The worms will work it in, improving the soil fertility and structure. The cuttings will suppress the weeds giving the plants a chance to grow better too. But grass cuttings, particularly late in the year will contain some grass seed too. IMO the benefit from mulching outweighs the germination of some grass seedlings. Grass cuttings aren't the best looking mulch but they are effective.
                       
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                      • Verdun

                        Verdun Passionate gardener

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                        Good point about bindweed.....I have lifted membrane to find enormously long stems of bindweed looking for the edges of it. Weeds also grow into the membrane and are difficult to remove. It is not an ideal solution by any means !!

                        Grass cuttings now are always put in the compost bins here ....mixed with other materials they produce excellent compost there without creating grass weeds :)

                        Isnt nature mischievous? Patches on the lawn remain patches yet grass cuttings applied elsewhere produce grass! :noidea:

                        "Skimming off the weeds".........is a practice I carry out here successfully but perennial weeds are removed. We need to be sensible! Bottom line is I dont really have too many perennial weeds at all so testament to a system working:)
                         
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                          Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
                        • noisette47

                          noisette47 Total Gardener

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                          You and I know the difference between annual and perennial weeds, Verdun, but newer gardeners perhaps don't. Equally, should it be mentioned that you don't pile grass clippings or any other mulch too closely around the stems/trunks of plants? Especially grass which generates a lot of heat and moisture!
                           
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