Why I don’t use weed mat

After moving into our new house, we spent a couple of hours over the weekend looking around my new garden. What we found was a lot of poor soil and what seems like an acre of weed mat in the garden beds!

My past experiences with weed mat have not been good, and this one is not much better. What I find funny in this situation is that there was quite a collection of weeds growing on top!

– Poor water infiltration / increased runoff
With all of that synthetic material on top of the soil, all it can be doing is blocking water and any added nutrients from reaching the roots of your prized plants.
– Lower oxygen levels in the soil
Funnily enough, healthy soil & plants need oxygen to grow to their potential. A layer of plastic, even woven plastic, prevents the natural passage of oxygen from the air to the soil.
– Discourages worms
The gardeners best friend will be driven from or discouraged from tending your garden for you.
– Strangles trees
When removing the weed mat from the front garden bed it was apparent that the trees had grown significantly since the installation. What was troubling was the difficulty and potential damage being caused by the removal of the weed mat.

Although there are a number of different weed mat products on the market, including organic weed mat, I am a firm believer in a good thick layer of mulch and a little weeding will be better in the ling run.

6 thoughts on “Why I don’t use weed mat”

  1. I just ran across your post on weed mat and had to post my sympathies. Our property was littered with synthetic weed mat when we bought it. We have ripped most it out- out of all garden pathways, lawn that has grown up over it and out of trunks of trees that have grown around it. I have been since growing living mulch in my pathways and love its soil enhancing capabilities and softness under my feet.

  2. Thanks for your comment Sarah. Living mulch such as ground covers makes for an attractive alternative to traditional mulches.
    After some more digging over the weekend I found even more weed mat!

  3. Hi, I’m about a squillion miles away in New Zealand and also inherited a house where weedmat is everywhere. The soil underneath looks like clay and the smell, when the matting is lifted is indescribible, just foul. Am I best to keep digging compost, bark and sand into this to bring it right? or am I heading in the wrong direction.

  4. Ugh, went through the same removal process this year. Can totally relate to your post! I avoid synthetic mulch mats as well. (The doughnut-shaped mats for tree trunks.)

  5. I have a commercial client that is asking for matting to be put under his stone ( pebbles ). I have told him weed seeds travel with the wind and will settle amongst his new stones, meaning minor maintenance. I have also told him that matting will have an adverse affect on his soil. Am I correct in telling him this?

  6. I have just removed the weed mat from under a thick layer of quartz mulch in my front flower bed.The soil underneath is like plasticine and hard clay exists elsewhere in the garden.I intend to leave the quartz mulch and add gypsum and organic matter and build the bed up.My thinking is that the quartz will assist in the drainage of the bed.Or should I remove the quartz as well???

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