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Hi i have a very large plot of land what we are slowly makeing into a family garden. Tommorow im going to do one of the borders and we are laying wood chip down around plants and shrubs.My question is do we need to put a membrane down befor putting the wood chip down as i hate weeds and dont want a lot of weeding to do??

Emma Crawforth

Hello Wildflower2,

You'll be doing what professional landscape gardeners do in areas like supermarket carpark plantings if you put down a membrane. It's a great way of reducing weeding, but it will limit your options a bit. You won't be able to change your planting in a hurry, or suddenly decide to sow seeds of annuals to fill spaces. Make sure you water carefully as well, so that the newly-planted shrubs get plenty of water to their roots through the holes you have made for them in the membrane. However, for avoiding weeding it's a great idea - and of course that's why professional landscapers do it!

Let us know how you get on.

Emma' team


Thankyou for the reply will let u no


I would probably say just go for a thick layer of bark as this will massively reduce the number of weeds by itself and in my experience beds with membranes can become a real pain as the plants mature especially if you're planting perennials. Also its good to be able to get to the soil if you want to add fertilisers, compost, etc or as Emma said sow annuals or anything like that. Good luck with what you decide!

To Wildflower2, Please don't buy the cheap membrane, usually brown and looks a bit like brown woven paper, you will be wasting your money as it doesn't last. Get the black woven material which usually has coloured checks across it in big squares. This is the stuff the professionals use (they call it Geotextile fabric but don't let that put you off). You can plant through this by inserting a cross in the material and puting the plant through this. Same applies for perennials. Just ensure you lay the material peeled back from the cross carefully around the plants, then cover with a mulch. Of course you will have to remove every perennial weed before you put down any material, otherwise you will have problems.

If you have a large area to cover it is worthwhile considering buying an entire roll. May be an initial expensive outlay but you won't have to bother with all the irritating joins you would have if you buy it in small sections. There are also pins you can purchase to secure the fabric to the soil. This is worthwhile.

Good luck and happy planting.

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