A customer wants large pea gravel installed in shrub beds. They have raked out the old mulch. Question is...Should I install a fabric weed barrier to keep stones from working their way into the soil or lay them on the bare ground?
That all being said, you should only use fabric under an INORGANIC mulch. DO NOT use fabric under an organic mulch.
Get the good stuff, and make sure the fuzzy side goes down. Don't cheap out and buy the sh*t that Walmart, etc. sells. Get it from a landscape supplier. I don't remember how long our rolls are, but a 4' wide roll typically costs us $200 or more....
The fabric is a scam. It doesn't work. Period. Might help a little the first year. But that's it.
Nutsedge isn't phased by fabric. Bermuda isn't either. Those are the two worst weeds in beds in my area by a mile. Poa Annua isn't phased by the stuff either. It'll help with broadleaf weeds for the first year, though.
Dust, dirt and debris accumulate on top of the fabric and weeds will germinate on the top side of the fabric. But like I said, the most troublesome weeds listed above aren't phased by fabric.
No one ever digs it up and returns it. And that's the only reason the company that makes it is still in business.
Sell your customer on a bed maintenance plan. All beds need to be maintained, which is overlooked by almost all home owners.
Fabric DOES work.. It is best for solutions such as Lava, River Rockand other products that don't break down. Install it right.. and it will do real well and should one or two pop up around the fabric edges Roundup or Snaopshot will take care of it. I even put fabric under Flagdtone walls in flower beds,
Organic mulch put down over fabric is good for about 1 year until the mulch breaks down and allows for weed germination. Weeds are very easy to pull for a few years, but as more mulch decays the denser the weeds may become. I reccomend clearing everything of the fabric after two years.
As for Bermuda? It will crawl and grow anywhere so ensure a border is maintained if even the slightest bot of Bermuda is in the lawn.
Again we have to ask ourselves what is the purpose of Mulch?
functional or looks. Many just want it for looks.
Fabric has NO place in the landscape when used under organic mulches. The only time I use it/recommend using it is under an inorganic mulch.
Sure, dust and dirt will blow in over time and will allow some seed germination in an inorganic mulched bed. However, as was pointed out, Roundup and a pre-emergent will generally take care of the problem.
Like I said before, get the GOOD fabric, not the cheap stuff. It needs to go down fuzzy side down, and needs to overlap 6-12". It's best if you can use washed gravel too.