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Weed membrane good or bad?


Our front garden has recently been paved over, leaving a long bed in a wall that needs planting (I had some good advice last autumn in another thread). I have not yet planted anything! The builder said I need weed membrane if I am to put slate chippings on it, so the current situation is that thick black membrane has just been laid down and chippings have been ordered.

However, I notice that today it has been drizzling and water is collecting on the membrane. Is that OK or should I ditch the membrane while I have a chance?

I won't have much time to deal with the garden, will probably be moving. I am thinking of putting in three White Fairy roses and some euphorbia, and now worried they won't get enough water. I put off the weed membrane decision for ages because I didn't like the idea, but I did want the chippings. Although I now think I would have been better with small ground-covering flowering plants, it is almost too late to change my mind.

Picture here. Many thanks for opinions on heavy membrane.





  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    The water should soak through, although it may be slow. Try pouring a bucket of water on top to see how long it takes. I have membrane down in my front garden and I never water the plants there.

  • LynLyn Posts: 22,873

    If you have used the correct membrane the water will drain through. I cant see from the picture but that looks like plastic sheeting, the correct stuff looks like a woven mesh. It will stop the weeds coming up through, but seeds will blow into it and those yoh will have to pull out.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,646

    If it is plastic sheeting that doesn't drain then you will have to change it for a permeable membrane. It lets water through and stops it evaporating too quickly so plants don't dry out so soon. You just cut holes in it for planting.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Ah, thanks, quick answers. It is woven membrane, not plastic (if it had been plastic I would not have been surprised at the pooling), so probably all OK and I'll try the bucket test!

    Many thanks, I think that solves it. I'd just been admiring a long-standing front garden down the road where begonia leaves have permeated all the chippings and I was wondering whether the membrane would limit spread.

  • the good fabrics work in a capilillary action - like the opposite to a babies nappy! the fabric needs to be tight to the ground, either using pegs or putting a good weight of bark or gravel etc. the ground will then pull the moisture through. We always use Groundforce Gardening for our weed control fabrics - they've got a website, they deliver quick and products are great.

  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    Essential for our front garden, there is no way I can keep weeding that vast expanse.

  • LynLyn Posts: 22,873

    I have it under granite clippings where we park the car. It's working so far ! The odd dandelion but easily removed.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • I have some membrane which looks similar to yours, I bought it grow strawberries through on my allotment but never got around to using it, earlier this year I wanted something to line two wire hanging baskets to grow tomatoes in so I cut pieces of the weed suppressant material and lined the baskets, I thought that when I watered the baskets the water would run through the liners but it didn't, the weed suppressant seems to be pretty non permeable. In your case I would puncture the weed suppressant before putting the chipping onto it, it doesn't have to be big holes so either stick a fork through it or slit it with a sharp knife.

  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,439

    Verdun is absolutely right!  Bad stuff, sterile, the worms can't get to work, the thrushes can't scratch around, the soil doesn't get aerated.  I would never use it. 

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
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