weeds growing through weed cover
Tired of pulling crab grass and weeds for a couple of months every year before finally giving up and letting it win, I decided to use that black weed cover fabric, and just cut holes for my plants. Alas, everything is growing under the fabric, and is starting to pop up through it.
Is there any action I can take at this point? If I throw down newspapers and wet them, will that stop the growth? My plants are growing great, and I plan on yanking the fabric and replacing it next year.
I would try wet newspapers covered with about 4 inches of freshly cut grass. This works pretty well for me. I have a creeping jenny type weed that does get under the edges but not too bad. My rows are close together so I still hand weed. What kind of a weeding tool do you use? I have something like a Cape Cod weeder. A cobra head weeder would be similar. It makes it much easier to weed. When grass etc are very small, I just scrape the blade about 1/4 inch deep.
There was a recent discussion on gardenweb about using this fabric and nobody has liked it.
I hate that stuff, for just that reason. Yep, newspapers will work, but you will need to weigh it down so the weeds don't lift it up and continue to grow out from under it. I use straw in the veggie garden and wood chips in the flower beds. (Don't put either one right up against your foundation--could lead to termites or other insect problems indoors.)
I agree with other posters. You must weigh down the newspapers. I usually use a thin layer of compost to do that. It usually keeps weeds to a minimum.
I find that weed cover sheets always eventually give way to the plants. It's a losing battle--I've seen plants push up through an asphalt driveway, so even thicker, tougher weed covers are futile in the long run.
I've always found that the best approach to weed control, if you have plants that are out-competing the things you're trying to grow, or if they are otherwise undesirable (like non-natives), is to plant more things that you want to grow, and specifically, find things that will grow well with the key crops you are growing. Look up companion planting, and find plants that will work well with what you've chose to grow already.
Having bare ground in your garden is unnecessary and has numerous disadvantages, and, unless you're in a very arid climate, will always require a heavy amount of maintenance. Instead, just let the garden fill out, by planting it densely with things you want.
Crab grass usually is a sign that your soil is somewhat degraded, because it tends to thrive in more exposed, nutrient-poor areas. It generally cannot germinate except in exposed soil, and in rich soil, it tends to be out-competed by other plants which grow taller and faster than it. Growing legumes (anything related to beans, peas, clover) are a great way to enrich your soil, and you can find legumes that are more groundcover-like, as well as bushy ones, depending on what you want to fill.
I wouldn't worry much as long as all your plants are growing great though. The big problem is if weeds start out-competing your plants, like, growing taller than them. I'd fixate your efforts on anything that is shading out your plants or growing too close to them and not worry about the rest! Good luck!