Why not weed mat?
Weeds are a pain, right? A weed is a plant that is growing where it shouldn’t – or more to the point, where you don’t want it to. Instead of spending your days pulling them out, hoeing, and mulching to suppress them, why not try something more permanent? After you rule out poison (because it’s poisonous!) weed matting is a popular option.
The weed mat is basically an impermeable membrane that has separated off the humus from the substrate. This means that moisture can’t get down to the lower soil (where a lot of the tree roots are). Nor can earthworms and fungi, all the small organisms that break down organic matter into humus and nutrients. Even the water can’t carry nutrients down there.
Plastic weed mat slowly breaks up, especially if exposed to sunlight, but it doesn’t break down – and will release various chemical pollutants, like synthetic estrogen, into the environment, in addition to strangling your soil.