If you are new to gardening and you want a low maintenance garden that still looks good and neat, then it is likely that you will be laying weed fabric at some point. But there is one fundamental question that you should ask yourself before beginning this gardening project. That is; should I lay the fabric before I plant, or should I lay the fabric after I plant? Well, the simple answer is; lay the weed fabric after you have planted your trees, shrubs and flowers. I will explain why this option is the best.
The first reason why laying you weed control fabric after you plant is the best option is because this way is, in the long run the fastest way to get the job done. Of course, before you begin planting you may say to yourself just how easy it would be to lay out the membrane over your flat beds. But once you start planting you would soon find that the weed membrane can really make planting difficult.
If you lay your weed fabric before you start planting then you would have to plant into the fabric. This would mean that you would not be able to dig large enough holes and prepare the soil sufficiently well for your new plants. Instead, you would be cutting the fabric and digging small plant holes and squeezing the plants in, without creating a suitable rooting zone.
Planting into weed fabric can also be a nightmare as the whole process of planting can be a messy affair and your likely to get so much soil on the surface of the weed fabric that you could render it useless before you even got around to adding your mulch
Yet another good reason not to lay your weed fabric before you plant is that you won’t be able to add sufficient plant food, farm yard manure or grow more plant food. Also with the weed membrane around the plants it can be difficult to water them sufficiently. The best way is to plant your shrubs, feed them with a top dressing of plant food, such as 35gm or a handful of grow more around the base of each plant. And then, as always, give each plant a good watering in. This can only be done right if the weed fabric is laid after planting.
The final reason why laying the weed fabric after planting is the best option, is because the plants in the ground can actually help when you’re positioning and trying to hold down the membrane prior to adding your mulch. What you will need to do is to roll out a length of membrane and then being at one end and start cutting out for each shrub. Carefully pull each plant through the hole and level off the fabric. You will find that the plants will hold your fabric in place allowing you to continue cutting out holes, levelling the fabric and working your way across the bed.