Weed Control – Using Weed Fabric or Newspaper

Q: I have recently removed an area of bermudagrass in order to plant shrubs. I want to put down a weed block to keep the bermudagrass from growing in the area. I was planning on using the fabric type of weed block, but remembered reading that using newspaper is an even better weed block. Is this true, and if so, how many sheets should I use?

A: Both items are somewhat effective weed fighters but neither one is perfect. More importantly, both require annual maintenance. Any Bermudagrass you accidentally leave under the weed fabric will grow up through it eventually, as will also happen with newspaper.

Even if no Bermuda is under the fabric, you’ll need to annually remove the mulch you put on top and replace with fresh material. Otherwise the mulch will decompose into a layer of rich soil in which weed seeds can germinate. Removing the mulch has to be done by hand, because a rake will snag the fabric.

The newspaper, obviously, will need replacement every year. I recommend a layer ten sheets thick for your project.

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