We have had weed control fabric around the base of our apple hedge and redcurrant bushes for ages now. The fabric is covered with bark chippings which are dropped off by the council. The photos below were taken just after laying the fabric in September 2009.
The bark chippings are probably due for a top-up now but this has certainly helped keep around the base of the plants tidy.
As this weed control method has been such a success, this year we decided to use the fabric for other beds so we can hopefully cut down on weed growth and have more of a chance of keeping up with weeding on the rest of the plot. That's the theory anyway and a lot depends on whether we can reuse the fabric in future years as it is too expensive to keep replacing!
In this years very wet conditions, earlier planted lettuce was quickly swamped by weeds and so the latest lettuce planting has been through fabric. Other than the odd failed plant things are looking promising.
We have also used fabric on the bed in which we have planted winter brassicas. So far so good - the brassicas are growing well.
Compare these to the uncovered brassica bed which was weeded at about the same time as the winter brassicas above were planted. So far the weeds aren't too dominant in the photo below but give them time! I may be imagining things but the brassicas planted through the fabric seem to be growing faster than usual - maybe it's due to the cool wet conditions rather than the covered soil or maybe the green manure that was dug in prior to planting the brassicas has had an effect. Whatever the reason, the fabric isn't hampering growth ...
... so following on from this we have now planted some spring cabbage through fabric.
Has anyone else any experiences at using weed control fabric with other crops?