Landscaping Question

GGardner

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I put landscape fabric down and covered it with an obscene amount of mulch. It looked great for a season or two. But the weeds eventually came back with a vengeance (presumably over the fabric). But then again, I'm a complete amateur.
 

Masmus

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Are you? If you have serious gopher problems, particularly if you're backed onto undeveloped land (not that it's likely that your neighbors will be doing anything about them anyway) that's not that farfetched. Better to use porous pavers, though.
I used to do some professional gardening; I remember one job where the client said that there was a beautiful garden in back when she bought the house, which she then covered with concrete. Got tired of that and built a fence to fence deck over the concrete. Got tired of that- hired me to build a bunch of planter boxes so she could garden on top of the deck. Lord knows what she ended up putting over that- an aviary, perhaps
The best answer to gophers I have ever used is breaking up dry ice and putting it down all the holes. Cover them over and see if any survive. I’ve never had to repeat. Keep the windows down in your car when you bring it home!

I’ve seen old time Gardners here use newspaper and even cardboard. I would use anything other than plastic including nothing at all.

Putting decking over concrete over soil and then planters to have soil to plant in is hysterical.
 

oldunc

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The best answer to gophers I have ever used is breaking up dry ice and putting it down all the holes. Cover them over and see if any survive. I’ve never had to repeat. Keep the windows down in your car when you bring it home!

I’ve seen old time Gardners here use newspaper and even cardboard. I would use anything other than plastic including nothing at all.

Putting decking over concrete over soil and then planters to have soil to plant in is hysterical.
Cardboard is excellent for new plantings- it lasts long enough to eliminate most of the existing weeds, rots away after a year or so when it's no longer needed. Ruth Stout, in her "Gardening Without Work", advocated heavy hay mulches for most plants, used newspaper (many layers) for lower growing plants. I frequently use newspaper to cover drainage holes in pots, particularly nursery types with several drainage holes; once again it rots away when no longer needed.
CO2 is an interesting approach to gophers- I can't say I've had much luck with putting stuff (including a lot of smoke bombs) down gopher holes; at most they generally plug up the section of tunnel and dig a new one, but perhaps they wouldn't detect the CO2 in time. I do back oonto an open space, and I've found that if a gopher does die, if you don't destroy the tunnel system (difficult to do in a way that it's not easily rebuilt) a new gopher soon takes over the tunnels.
 

ale.istotle

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What plastic is good for is when you are trying to kill everything in a bed or a patch of lawn so you can start over. Black plastic in the sun will heat the soil a bit so you can start without the weeds.
 

boris bubbanov

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Unless I was trying to sequester Hazardous Waste or something, I would never use sheet plastic. All the worst looking, failed landscape projects I see involved sheet plastic. I guess if you wanted to kill all the young plants, you could lay out a sheet of plastic on a sunny day and kill everything underneath in short order, but then what will you use this plastic for afterwards?
 

1955

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We’ve used landscape fabric, sometimes with preen, mostly in mulch beds at public gathering spaces. Also works inside playground borders, under decks if you want to lay down pea gravel, etc.

We’ve redone and dealt with other’s previous attempts with plastic, and it is somewhat of a nuisance.

In common areas, debris is handled in a variety of ways. Some communities use PTO turbine blowers, or a Billygoat to get surface debris off the top of the beds. What happens, even with a team on backpack blowers, is someone will accidentally point the blower downward too much and the mulch will blow off the plastic and cause a ripple effect over time, especially if the beds aren’t remulched or fluffed up often. It creates an unsightly and cascading problem. A lot of beds are too shallow, and communities are often cheap with the grade of mulch they buy, so it degrades quickly.

Grounds crews are oftentimes unscrupulous in their string trimming and edging around the beds, not understanding the directional implications of where their trimmings end up depending on which way they are moving with the trimmer. Also, clippings that invariably end up in the beds are not lightly blown out afterwards by cut-and-run outfits, so more weeds.

Lastly, weeds do not require much depth to grow. Many crew members are lazy, and do not want to take the time to pull them out by hand to keep them under control, and the Round-Up type guys are playing with future physiological fire regarding their health.

It is like stringing and tuning a guitar. You take care of it often at first by paying attention to initial fluctuations using proper practices, and once you have your baseline established, you maintain it.

6 mil can be used effectively as a vapor and moisture barrier in crawl spaces.

It can also be used under, say, a crush and run or 57 stone walkway, but fabric is preferable imo, or just a properly dug (deep) sub layer that has been sufficiently compacted with a vibratory roller and even proofed with a hauler with a heavy load.

The way I learned to dig out the edge of mulch beds was with a spade shovel, from a gardener who did rooftop gardens in Manhattan. He cut his teeth on a Jersey crew and taught me how to edge with a weed eater and plant, etc. I mostly hate doing any of it now, after pitch forking and wheelbarrowing many dump truck loads of mulch over the last few years.

We always got down on our hands and knees in neglected beds with plant debris bags and just yanked the weeds up until they were gone. I didn’t like messing with beds if other guys had gone through and sprayed them with Round Up, or even Aquasafe, because I’ve seen first hand what it does to people over time.
 

oldunc

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What plastic is good for is when you are trying to kill everything in a bed or a patch of lawn so you can start over. Black plastic in the sun will heat the soil a bit so you can start without the weeds.
This process (called solarization) is usually done with clear plastic. It can be quite effective in climates with extended periods of hot weather. The patch should be watered thoroughly, then the plastic placed over the area; should be fairly well sealed around the edges. Long time since I've done this, and it's dependent on the weather anyway, but best I remember it takes several weeks at least.
 

StoneH

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The best answer to gophers I have ever used is breaking up dry ice and putting it down all the holes.

Ha! I remember my Dad taping a vacuum cleaner hose to the the car exhaust and sticking the other end in the gopher hole. We didn't get to find out if it was going to work because the gopher started moving, and my Dad just slammed a shovel though the dirt and killed it.

I get gophers occasionally. I'll see a gopher tunnel run from the forest into my yard, but it will terminate at a hole where a fox got his dinner.
 

GeneB

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Our HOA requires stone or bark for mulch. I use bark and Roundup to control the weeks.

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oldunc

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Ha! I remember my Dad taping a vacuum cleaner hose to the the car exhaust and sticking the other end in the gopher hole. We didn't get to find out if it was going to work because the gopher started moving, and my Dad just slammed a shovel though the dirt and killed it.

I get gophers occasionally. I'll see a gopher tunnel run from the forest into my yard, but it will terminate at a hole where a fox got his dinner.
My grandfather had considerable success with the exhaust in the gopher hole method, but emission standards on farm trucks in the 1930's were pretty lax. I've seen kits sold for doing that now, but how well it would work with modern cars I couldn't say.
 




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