The process of laying weed block over an existing flower bed is an acquired skill that needs to be fine-tuned over the years. Once capable of such as task the benefits outweigh the alternative – I.e. planting into freshly laid weed block fabric
The main reason why laying the weed block after planting is that once the fabric is laid its will be clean of any top soil, which is essential to ensure that there is no weed growth. If you plant into already laid weed block then it is highly likely that the surface of the weed fabric will be covered in topsoil. Also when planting into weed fabric it can be very difficult to properly prepare the soil and planting hole
So, how to lay weed block over existing plants:
- Ideally do this on a calm day and ideally have a helper with you. However as you improve you can do it alone and in all weather!
- Use a narrow roll of weed block, rolls of 1m or 1.5m are most suitable as these widths will allow you to weave in between the plants
- Start along one edge of the bed, and start at the end where the wind is coming from. This will ensure that if the wind does blow, it will only blow the weed block further along the bed – rather than undo the work you have already done
- Work with short lengths at a time; I would suggest laying 10m long strips at a time, anything longer and you will effectively be creating a giant sail that will quickly catch the wind
- Have either gravel, bark or large rock close by at all times to hold down the sections of weed block the moment it has been positioned. You will be surprised to find how good mulch is at keep weed block in place, even in a strong gale wind
- Roll out a length of weed block until you have reached the first plant, ensure that the fabric is straight along the edge of the bed and is fully laid flat with no creases.
- Push the weed block right up to the base of each shrub and then cut out a cross in the fabric, the width of the cross is determined by the size of the shrub
- Next you will need to carefully feed the plant through the weed block. For soft plants & grass it is best to bundle al the stems together and bring them through the fabric together
- For large trees or brittle plants it is best to cut the fabric right to its edge and feed the fabric around the plants
- Next barrow out a heap of bark or gravel to hold the weed block in place. You should keep the mulch in the centre of the weed block and along the finished edge only. But don’t drop mulch along the ‘working edge’ as you will need to lay more fabric over this edge
- Continue the process over the entire flower bed. Ensure your knife or blade is sharp at all times for best results
- Once all the weed block has been laid you can go back over and spread out the mulch and add additional mulch as required
- A 4 inch layer of mulch is most ideal to give good weed control