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Plastic weedmat: yes or no? | Stuff.co.nz

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I really don't want to realize my New Year's resolution, but I beg gardeners everywhere to work hard with me.

I call for a ban on the use of one of the most abominable plastic debris in the industry. It is annoying because it has many reasons-in a world full of plastic, plastic is just one of them.

For developers, speculators and garden designers, those who want to make quick money and solve problems faster, hope that the garden of the relevant house will always look good in the process of passing on, and the plastic weed seats will look like Like nectar. From heaven. It is cheap, covers many sins, and is easy to lay.

But for those who inherit it, plastic weed is a nightmare, and it is hardly comparable in the gardening world.

First, it can only stop the weeds from growing for one to two years, and then the weeds can pass. Then, the organic matter will do what nature encourages: pile up on leaves, insects, dust and debris, and then begin to decompose. Moreover, because the mat itself is ugly, it is usually covered with bark, and the bark will also decompose, thereby adding to this newly formed soil.

The seeds of weeds spread by wind or birds germinate in the new soil, and the roots of many of them (such as docks and eagle beards and all other self-rooting plants related to dandelions) enter the soil through bedding, making them stronger. It is harder to pull it out than there is no mat.

When this invasion starts from above, any weeds loitering under the straw mat will find holes and begin to push up and through from below.

At this stage, that is, in the scene of one or two years, plastic weaving is disintegrating. When gardeners pull weeds and drag straw mats at the same time, this further angers them. A small amount of plastic begins to fall off, enter the rainwater system and waterways, into the ocean, into the stomachs of marine life, or into the vast plastic islands of the North Pacific.

Bark, or even worse, shingles, is spread on a mat to hide it, making it impossible and requiring manual weeding. Therefore, the situation of any gardener who does not want to weed is worse than (again) without a mat.

If the gardener wants to plant anything in the overgrown area, he must tear it apart, thus opening up another space, in time for the weeds to compete up and down and fill in, and concentrate themselves in the overgrown area. Need plants and compete with them for the light, air and nutrients obtained from the soil.

At the same time, the humus in the soil is deprived, and the humus accumulates on top of the weeds. It is also deprived of oxygen, which is essential for the functioning of many microorganisms-if there were no microorganisms, the soil would lose a lot of life.

If you want to feed the plants, then unless you tear the mat (thus destroying its purpose), adding a lot of compost is not recommended at all, so fertilizer is almost the only way. They may help plants, but they can do nothing about the soil. Healthy soil is the foundation of a good garden.

This is a lose-lose situation.

So, what is the alternative? For those who wish to temporarily weed their gardens, if weeds are removed first, fine bark (or wood chip products called forest floors) can be used. If used thick enough, it will suppress weeds for a while.

I saw garden beds in a retirement village rise 15 cm or more on lawns and paths every six months or so, so gardeners would spend more bark to cover new weeds.

Another option is some old-fashioned hand weeding or weeding. I like it very much and find it satisfying and contemplative, but I know that many people don't like it.

The trick that many gardeners take is to weed very little and often. Every time they see weeds, they will pull them out. After a while, you may be surprised to find that it is so easy to stay on them...

That was my second resolution in 2018. 

New Zealand Gardener

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