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using landscaping fabric in beds?

I've been trying to find some information on what to do if you don't use landscaping fabric. I've always used it, but now that we're starting from scratch (just built a new house) I wondered if it's the way to go. It's expensive, hard to work around, and agrevating to cut if you buy the good stuff. What else can you do besides pull weeds from dawn to dusk?

A. Spruce
Re: using landscaping fabric in beds?

If you don't care about using chemicals, you can scatter pre-emergent before applying mulch. If you'd prefer to not use chemicals, a thick layer of mulch usually will keep most things smothered out. Another technique is to only water at the planted specimens, don't broadcast over the entire area as all that water will promote growth, spot watering reduces the germination of the weeds.

Re: using landscaping fabric in beds?

I agree the landscape fabric doesn't work well in bed that you plant annuals or bulbs in. 2" or so of mulch helps keep the weeds down & the ones that pop up are easy to pull usually if they don't get rooted in the dirt.
Face it, gardens require weeding. You have to get into getting your hands dirty. Weed after a rain. They pull out easier.
I find a boombox ,or ipod for the younger crowd, helps to pass the time.
If at all possible, pass the job off on another family member. I've even payed the kids to do it.

Re: using landscaping fabric in beds?

I've heard of using newspaper under mulch to prevent weed growth, and plan to try this next week,in creating a new 5'by 5' colorful, full sun, garden requiring only scant amounts of H2O, in Rhome, TX.
If anybody has any suggestions for specific low height, year round colorful plants: flowering or non-flowering plants, I'd welcome your suggestions.

Re: using landscaping fabric in beds?

I have used newspaper a few times it really was not very useful. My best luck in the garden is I lay all my grass clippings in the garden where there is not anything growing. It will not stop all the weeds but I would say 75% of them. If you have thistle like I do the grass will not stop thistle.Last year i made paths in my garden with landscape cloth then I put wood chips that we had made ourselves from limbs we had chipped and the thistle grows under that and pushes up in the paths.

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