Author Topic: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?  (Read 2917 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« on: September 15, 2015, 12:49:36 PM »
We have a backyard play area of about 400 square feet. In a lot of places, the landscape fabric is ripped and coming up through the rubber mulch, leaving areas of bare dirt. I don't think they used many, if any, landscape staples to hold the fabric down. There are some large areas where the fabric seems to be intact.

So my question is, should I rip up ALL the fabric and replace it, or can I patch it with liberal use of landscape staples to hold down the new fabric and secure the overlapping area? I have leftover fabric in the garage that would be enough for a patch job, but probably not enough for a complete redo.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2015, 07:26:06 PM »
Landscape fabric is evil. Rip it all up and cover with whatever mulch you want, sans fabric. In my experience, it really doesn't work for weed suppression. If weeds happen to grow deep mulch, they're super easy to pull by hand or just brush away with a hoe or the flat side of a landscape (hard-tined) rake.

I just today got free arborist chips dropped in my yard - makes an excellent play surface. It can take some calling/pestering but you can usually find a tree service to drop some. Otherwise they have to pay dump fees to dispose.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2015, 11:00:14 PM »
Well, the thing is I decided to keep the rubber mulch that came with the house. I know, it's gross and possibly carcinogenic, but I already own it and I have more than I thought. (Eventually I might need more, but not yet.) I was daunted by both the challenge of discarding something like five cubic YARDS of rubber mulch and by the cost of that much playground mulch delivered. (About $250.) Tree services around here will deliver wood mulch for about $75-$80, but they said not to use it for a playground--sharp edges and whatnot.

So anyway, I want to keep the rubber mulch separate from the ground. I don't want the mulch getting all dirty or the dirt getting all rubbery. Hence the fabric.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2015, 06:28:58 AM »
I'm assuming the scraps you have are enough to patch the hole, but not redo the whole thing. No harm in trying, right? I'd try to get as much overlap of the edges as I could.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 08:45:54 AM »
Well, no one came on and told me NOT to do it, so that's what I'm gonna do :-).

Wish me luck, 'cause there's a few thousand pounds of rubber mulch between me and the old fabric!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2015, 08:54:15 AM »
Use a hard rake. Should make quick work of pulling the mulch off. It's what landscapers use to spread the stuff out in first place.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2015, 01:00:02 PM »
Yeah, I've been working with just a shovel and a broom and it's super hard. I'm going to run out tomorrow in the car while the boys are at preschool and get one (so I can fold the seats down and shove a rake in a sedan). I'll need teh rake to keep the mulch properly distributed (as the children move it around) anyway.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2015, 04:56:27 PM »
Still evening it out and cleaning up, but the job is basically done. We'll see how it holds up!

I came in $150 under my original guesstimate. Total cost: $40, for the rake and two boxes of landscape staples. The rake was great for putting the mulch back down; for picking it up, I used my snow shovel most often.

AND I lost three pounds while I was doing it :-).

Le Poisson

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 08:06:33 AM »
For next time...

I side with GoblinChief on this one. We never-ever use landscape fabric. Instead we use plain-Jane cardboard boxes and build up a thick (4-6") layer of mulch - usually arborist's wood chips - had for free off craigslist.

The Cardboard will suppress weeds and seeds for about 3-4 years before breaking down. During that time, the woodchips will begin to decompose and worms will move into the corrugations. Eventually the worms will work up and down from the cardboard creating some ultra-fertile soil in the layer of woodchips against the cardboard and the earth below it.

Once the cardboard breaks down, the weeds that come in are easily pulled. You can get more free wood chips at this point to build up your base.

The only seeds that seem to get a foothold in this system are maple keys and some tap-root variety weeds (like dandelions).

In a playspace, the woodchips provide a soft landing pad and won't hurt the kids, but they may have mould and dust. I can't say whether that is safer than reground tires or not, except that our kids seem to be fine. In gardens beware that you are importing whatever killed the trees that the arborist ground up into your planting space. So far we've been lucky/OK.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Can I spot-replace landscape fabric?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 02:29:49 PM »
I was told the edges of non-playground mulch were too sharp to play on. I don't know if that's actually true. Anyway, I believe that using what you already have is usually the most eco-friendly option!

I've done the cardboard under wood mulch many years ago. It seemed to work, but only corrugated--cereal boxes were useless :-). I used to own a partly broken shredded that I would use to chop them up for composting instead.