What is Weed Mat?
Weed mat, also known as landscape fabric or weed control fabric, is a porous material used to suppress garden weeds by blocking sunlight and creating a barrier. It is laid flat on the surface of the soil with holes cut to accommodate existing plants, then covered with a layer of mulch, sand, gravel, or pine needles.
A large variety of weed control fabric is available, made from various materials and offered in many different price categories. The three main classifications are thermally spunbonded (e.g. polypropylene), needle punched, and woven.
Of these, thermally spunbonded is reportedly the most resistant to weed growth, as the threads of the fabric are locked in place, providing little give. While tiny roots might penetrate this fabric over time, they are easily removed because the roots can’t tangle themselves within the fabric. Needle punched matting contains loose threads that can more easily allow weeds to push through. Woven matting, although strong, offers spaces within the weave pattern for tiny roots to penetrate. In the latter case, weed roots can actually network throughout the woven weed matting, making the weeds difficult to remove without displacing or even destroying the fabric.
Weed matting can also be used beneath patio or walkway stones to prevent weeds from coming up between the rocks. It can also be installed beneath a thick layer of sand in a child’s play yard, or used to create a weed-free parking area. The fabric also reduces erosion and may be useful for keeping soil in place in certain types of landscaping designs.