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Query about weed suppression membrane

Hello, 

I'm new to this forum and a complete gardening novice so please bear with me.

I am planning to use a turf cutter on various parts of my front and rear garden. In the rear garden I want to create flower beds and for the front garden to remove all the grass to replace it with shingle and put plants onto that. 

I was planning to remove the turf, get rid of all the weeds and put a weed suppression membrane down before covering with shingle. I've dug around to see what the state of the ground is like and found that there's already a membrane underneath. Firstly, it clearly isn't working as there are weeds everywhere, secondly it's much deeper than I expected and deeper than the turf cutter was going to go! What should I do with this? Can I leave it and end up in a situation where I have the old membrane, a few inches of soil, and then the new membrane? Could this cause problems with a waterlogged garden? Should I take out the old membrane first? 

Many advice is much appreciated 

Posts

  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 2,003

    I decided to try to plant a creeping thyme lawn, back in early March we cut the grass and weeds really really short, then gave it a good drenching of water, covered with newspapers, about 10-15 sheets thick, then drenched the paper, we then laid wood chippings on top.  It is now June 1st, no growth of any sort has come through.  In a smaller bed I did the same and planted 15 dahlias planted from seed this year, very easy to 'cut' through the damp newspaper with my trowel to plant them.

  • Mike BMike B Posts: 10

    Cheers, yeah I read about the damp newspaper technique and it seems very effective. 

    So do you think I should try to remove the existing weed membrane before putting  anything down? 

    Last edited: 01 June 2017 13:11:13

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,541

    I think in an ideal world it would be better if you can. I doubt it will cause a water-logging problem - most of them are fairly permeable. But perversely it will make it harder for you to get weeds out that are growing in the soil that's above it - the roots get entwined with the fabric and it can be a nightmare to get them out. 

    I wouldn't use membrane at all for preference - I don't find it helpful. The newspaper (or cardboard) option is much better.

    Whether it's worth going to a huge amount of trouble and expense to get the buried one out is hard to judge. If you are not planning to plant anything then it may not be worth worrying about.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336

    Agree, raisin girl.  Membrane isn't great for worms, either.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Mike BMike B Posts: 10

    Ok so if I went for the newspaper option then is it ok to put shingle directly on top of that or should I put some soil down on top of the newspaper and then shingle? I heard that only a very thin layer of shingle is best (I won't be walking on it) so would the newspaper or cardboard start to show through when it gets wet?? 

  • Tall treesTall trees Posts: 146

    Best bet if you can is dig up the old membrane, I'd weedkill the lawn this makes sure the ground is weed free, then strum the dead grass off, you then might be lucky enough to lay the membrane on top of the earth, ok you'll have to wait 14 days. For it to die off, but It it will save on the cost of a turf cutter and the left over turf, I can't understand why there's soil on top of the membrane, after you put down the chippings if you wish to plant, then just cut out a X open the flaps take out the soil and Plant mix in some compost if need be. 

  • Mike BMike B Posts: 10
    Tall trees says:

    Best bet if you can is dig up the old membrane, I'd weedkill the lawn this makes sure the ground is weed free, then strum the dead grass off, you then might be lucky enough to lay the membrane on top of the earth, ok you'll have to wait 14 days. For it to die off, but It it will save on the cost of a turf cutter and the left over turf, I can't understand why there's soil on top of the membrane, after you put down the chippings if you wish to plant, then just cut out a X open the flaps take out the soil and Plant mix in some compost if need be. 

    See original post

     Ah ok so just to check what you're saying is dig off the top layer of turf, get rid of the old membrane, put weedkiller down, wait 2 weeks, put a new membrane down then the stone chippings on top of that? Sorry to sound thick but I jut want to get it right. Is it right also to only have a very thin layer of chippings? I heard that if its a thicker layer there's more chance of things growing inbetween the stones. 

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