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How to Put Down a Weed Mat?

Weeding is to gardeners as cleaning dirty dishes is to cooks -- a never ending, tedious, but necessary, chore. Reduce the need for weeding by laying down a weed mat, also known as a landscape fabric. Weeds have a difficult time penetrating the barrier, but water does not. Put down a weed mat on a calm day after you have prepared your soil for planting as necessary.

1.Clear the garden area of debris and mulch. Pull as many weeds as possible. Leave plants in place. If you have not yet planted your plants, do not do so until after laying the weed mat.

2.Unroll the weed mat on top of the garden area. Lay it right over top of your plants. For large plants, such as bushes and trees, stop unrolling once you reach the trunks or stems. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the fabric off from the roll at these points, and at the end of each row.

3.Cut an X over top of the smaller plants and fold back the triangles. Carefully slip the weed mat down to the ground, around each plant. Make the X's larger as necessary.

4.Set the weed mat on the other side of a large plant and continue unrolling. Repeat for each row needed until you cover the entire bed. Then go back and custom fit pieces of fabric on the sides of large plants. Overlap edges by one-half inch, if possible. Cut the weed mat to shape around curves.

5Secure the weed mat at each corner with landscape anchors, weed mat pins or 4.5-inch wire staples, inserting them into the ground through the fabric using a hammer. For large pieces, secure at the corners and every 3 to 5 feet.

6.Cut X's and fold back the triangles to reveal the soil when planting additional plants. Then cover the mat with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

Things You Will Need
Landscape anchors, weed mat pins or 4.5-inch wire staples

You can leave the folded triangles in place around the base each plant, or you can cut them off.
Use biodegradable weed mats if you are growing annuals. If you use a permanent weed mat with annuals, it will become ineffective in a year or two as you cut through it repeatedly to replant your plants every year.