Have you considered using fabric in your conservation tree planning but have some unanswered questions and/or concerns? Below is a list of advantages, disadvantages and management practices prepared by the North Dakota Soil Conservation Districts.
- Installed once for several years of weed control.
- Promotes quicker establishment of trees and shrubs.
- Can increase survival rate from 20% to 80%.
- Comparable in cost to other weed control methods when averaged over a 3 to 5 year period.
- Reduces the amount of salinity leaching to the soil surface by reducing evaporation.
- Retains moisture for tree use in dry years.
- Cost is upfront rather than spread over years.
- Must be properly installed to prevent it from being blown loose in high winds.
- Not recommended for suckering shrubs.
- Must be annually inspected to prevent girdling of trees. (Holes around trees would need to be enlarged.)
- Accumulated leaf litter and soil must be removed from fabric to remain effective.
- Does not break down within the shade of trees and shrubs, so will eventually need to be removed.
- Fabric can be destroyed if tangled in mowers or farm equipment.
It is important to inspect your weed barrier at least ANNUALLY
- Ensure that the edges are firmly anchored and covered.
- Remove soil and organic matter from surface of fabric.
- Remove weeds that may establish in tree openings or on accumulated debris.
- Enlarge fabric openings around trees to prevent girdling (strangling) of your trees.
- Other weed control alternatives should be considered if you are trying to establish suckering shrubs or a dense thicket.