View Full Version : Install fabric first....or plants?

07-02-2000, 10:17 AM
<br>I rarely use decorative gravel as mulch cover, but this time I am. This job is a new install, and the specs call for a typar type fabric under the rocks.<p>Is it better to install plants, then fabric around them? Or install fabric, cut notches for plant installation?<br>

07-02-2000, 11:33 AM
Install fabric first, then cut holes for plants. Use 6&quot; staples to hold fabric down. You then can layout the plants on the fabric and adjust them easy, also makes for less holes in fabric.<p>----------<br>paul<br>

07-02-2000, 11:48 AM
buy digginf holes in the fabric and putting the dirt on the fabric.... dosnt that defeat the whole purpose of the fabric? If there dirt on the fabric weeds will have something to germinate in...

07-02-2000, 02:19 PM
<p>Paul, Thanks. Do you mean to cut an X in the fabric, peel back, then install, or do you cut a circle out of the fabric and leave it out?

07-02-2000, 03:46 PM
Hello,<p>All I know is I've done it both ways. Fabric first then plants, and also plants first then fabric. <p>Either way, there's no way to avoid the problem of the fabric just being a pain in the @#$^. <p>but, if I had to chose one way, I would install plants first and then the fabric. I hate trying to dig the holes in a &quot;cut out&quot; section of fabric, and you always end up getting dirt on the fabric, with does defeat the purpose somewhat. <p>If I had to say one way, I would plant first and then fabric, but its really one of those &quot;6 one way and a half a dozen the other way&quot; situations. <p>steveair

07-02-2000, 05:50 PM
heres my 2 cents worth:<p>I've also done it both ways and I think its easier to lay the fabric first because you just roll it out and pin it. I hated having to stop and cut notches around plants, and I think you leave too many hole in the fabric too. When you cut out for a plant, cut an x, peel it back and carry a piece of tarp or a ive gallon pail or whatever to throw your soil in as you take it out so your not putting it on the fabric, cause yes, it does defeat the purpose!!<p>I'm suprised no body has brought this up before. I had a lady that wanted her money back 2 years after I did an install becuase their were weeds growing threw the fabric......or so she claimed. The truth was she would plant flowers and dig a bunch of new holes every season, and thats where the weeds would come up!! Yeah, my fault right??<p>To solve this problem, If The customer told me they would want to plant flowers in the bed eventually, I would bury five gallon pails or old pots staggered around the bed wherever they anted them, and then marked them with posicle sticks when there weren't flowers in them. This way you used the same hole every year for the flowers instead of ripping up all the fabric.<p>But then you got the guys that swear you don't need fabric with mulch, and I agree and disagree with that too. The mulch seems to keep weeds down a lot more than rock products do, but not 100% Now, I do understand where their coming from, cause I've found over time, the mulch will decompose on top of the fabric and will start growing from there, especially if you get a lot of grass clippings in the beds!<p>Its a no win situation! (unless you have stock in round-up!!!)<p><p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti

07-02-2000, 08:09 PM
I enjoyed reading these posts - I'm surprised the opinions are as varied as they are. 1X I planted after putting down fabric (and stone - customer/friend cuoldn't afford beds and plants at same time). Though we were as careful as could be, we left more dirt in the stones than desired, and of course, weeds resulted.<p>Our typical install has plants first, fabric second. But I like the idea of pinning - what do you use, &quot;U&quot; shaped pins like those for Curlex, or those green plastic thumbtack-looking things? We've just used bits of stone to hold it in place - invariable it moves when tipping your barrel of stone in the bed.

07-02-2000, 10:59 PM
Our choice has always been to do the fabric first, then plants. Our feeling is that fabric will only make the weeds easier to pull out - they are going to grow anyway, and fabric will help keep the stones cleaner; less splash through, etc. The pinning is a good idea. We stumbled on that by accident during a job requiring drip tubes.

07-02-2000, 11:25 PM
We use 6&quot; staples for pinning. I like to buy a couple of cases at a time allways have a use for them, holding up fabric on walls rolling out grid material, pinning fabric for beds, erosion control products, holding hoses on hill sides, can't remember all the uses for them, just handy to have around :)<p>----------<br>paul<br>

07-03-2000, 01:35 AM
I agree that fabric first is usually the best. Another reason is that when putting fabric down after the plants are in usually results in the fabric getting wrapped around the base of the plant. That looks so ugly after the mulch settles a little. Also a question about the 6&quot; staples/pins---are these the same as sod staples? Sounds like the type we use. They are supposed to rust away fairly quickly.<p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

07-03-2000, 07:09 AM
I never had read too much on those 6&quot; pins we used, but I'll vouch for the rotting away part!! I did a job once for an old man who wanted to put this &quot;homemade&quot; mulch into new beds I would make. Of course I didn't approve, but he signed myliability release for ants and weeds, etc, SO MONEY TALKS!!. Now I put the paper down, used the staples, etc. All said and done. 3 years later he moved and the new owner &quot;inherited&quot; my grounds maintenance service. They decided it was ugly so the wanted a chipped brick stone (Off the subject, but that stuff is real classy and good lookin but its serious $$) installed. I figured since I only put the weedblock down a couple years ago, I could get away with keeping it.<p>Heres what I found 3 years later:<p>90% of the fabric was still in great shape<br>10% that was damaged was becasue of animals pawing through the mulch looking for food or whatever. (thats another + of using rock!!)<p>NO PINS?????<p>Unless those animals stole them, they were gone. Not a piece to be found??? It was always really damp and wet in the beds so maybe this speeded it up.<p>This would've been something I needed to see to believe. If that had not happened to me then, I would have told you you were full of $hit if you told me they rot away.<p>I never thought of that, but I guess those stupid little pins are good for a lot of things.<p>Lanelle, where would you use these with sod? I'd imagine on a steep incline or high traffic area, but I could be wrong.<p><p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti

07-03-2000, 04:32 PM
Guido,<br>You're right about the use of sod staples. We use them on slopes, high traffic areas, yards with pets and anywhere that the sod looks as though it might separate as it establishes. I have seen others'jobs a year or two after installation that should have been stapled. There will be 1-2&quot; gaps in the sod strips. Might not be noticible to the casual observer but I see it and feel it as I walk.<p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

07-06-2000, 12:50 PM
My opinion on fabric: I think it's a waste of time and money. An example: Four years ago I excavated a large area next to a building where there was a drainage problem and installed river rock. Another contractor came along and told me it was a shame that I didn't install fabric under the rock.<br>That doesn't make sense to me, since the major source of weed germination comes from seed that is carried in from surrounding areas. I get very few weeds in the rock. What few appear I simply spot with Roundup on my weekly visits. I trail Lobelia out through the rock as a continuation of one of the surrounding beds. Looks great. Pansies also volunteer in the river rock and echo what is happening in surrounding beds. I simply spray what I don't want and leave what I do want. It's a great-looking design and very low maintenance.<br>Another plus: I don't have the fabric rearing its ugly head and poking out from under the rock.

07-06-2000, 08:43 PM
I noticed you mentioned weekly visits. Many of my customers don't weed/spray monthly. Also, I thought part of the reason for the fabric was to prevent those weeds that come from seed from above, can't get much of a foothold, because the fabric prevents their roots from getting into the soil. Therefore, very easy to pull.<p>I can understand where you're coming from - I get asked all the time about putting weed fabric under the base of my brick patios. But I always thought the efficacy was better for plantings.<p>Hey, I used the staples today - liked 'em. Will start keeping a box handy.

07-07-2000, 12:12 AM
Ok quick note here, North American Green sells a plastic peg that lasts one year, it comes in two sizes a 4&quot; and a 6&quot; it's biodegradable, it's faster to use in hard ground than the wire staples, you can pound them in with a hammer. I forgot to mention that most time we use the staples for installation of sod on steep banks and slopes where there might be alot of traffic.<p>----------<br>paul<br>

07-07-2000, 06:17 PM
paul, do they have a website or phone #, drop me an e-mail with it when you get a chance. Thanks!<p>***Okay found it, nagreen.com. Sorry!<br>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: guido

07-08-2000, 10:30 PM
<p>Well, <p>Today we installed the first round of plants at the job I had initially sought advice for. After considering all the responses to that post, and my own planting 'style', I elected to install plants first, then fabric and stone.<p>It worked out pretty good actually. I like to make last minute grade adjustments with<br>the material I have left over after digging the hole - fanning it out as necessary. I also like to see my plants in the ground - surrounded by dirt. Maybe it helps me to visualize better, I don't know. Occasionally adding or moving a plant is much easier before fabric.<p>I used 48&quot; rolls with each piece cut to the depth of the bed. It's a little tricky to cut the holes in the right place so that the fabric segment fits where intended, like most things in this business, a &quot;system&quot; for accurate cutting is easy enough to devise. Overall, I wouldn't want to do it any other way...but that's just me, what I feel comfortable with.<p>Didn't use pins either although I had a box on hand. My gravel guy had material ready as I prepared the fabric and the rocks themselves held it all down.

07-09-2000, 10:15 AM
Turfquip, I like to use wider fabric than 4' think we use 10' to 13' material can't remember which, less seams but might be more waste. Glade it worked out for you.<p>----------<br>paul<br>

07-09-2000, 12:43 PM
Ok, let me add a twist. In many cases, I have had great success predigging my holes, then laying down the fabric. Now, if you use this method you must be careful to mark where the holes are under the fabric (I use a stick painter...just a dot). I then lay out the fabric and cut basic X cuts withing the hole. I have found this very useful to keep the dirt and mess down, and also get the correct hole size. you still have to be careful when refilling around the plants, as I haven't found a solution to this yet. Also, I have been relatively successful using long ButtonKap nails (plastic capped nails for house wrap or styrofoam board). They are cheap and do a good job of holding the fabric in place. Just my 2.32 cents.