Landscape – Plastic Covering the Soil

Q: My new house has landscape areas covered with black plastic that is beginning to show through. Should I have the plastic removed and just use pine straw?

A: By all means remove the plastic. Solid plastic sheet prevents water and oxygen from penetrating to tree and shrub roots. Even if you have the permeable landscape fabric I ‘d recommend its removal too. The weed control fabrics demand yearly removal of the mulch that covers them, to avoid getting weed seeds that germinate and root through the fabric. Most people find that covering the area under shrubs and trees with straw or chips is much less trouble than using landscape fabric.

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