Iris and ground cloth

Asked October 26, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT

I have recently cleared out an old iris bed to thin and replant. Which I have done.

My question- Is there any reason why we couldn't use a water permeable ground cloth around the new plantings then apply a layer of mulch to dress? Of course we would provide large openings around the new iris rhizomes to allow for growth and airflow.

We live out on the prairie in Bennett, Arapahoe County. With the high winds we get out here sometime mulch just isn't enough protection against all the weeds.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Joy Jordan

Arapahoe County Colorado flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials

1 Response

Landscape fabric can be used in the manner which you stated, making sure it is water and air permeable.

Some negative factors to consider: It can be used to reduce weeds, however, landscape fabric can become an impediment to the health of your soil. Organic mulch breaks down but will be unable to feed and improve the soil due to the fabric barrier. Also, landscape fabric does not block all weeds. Some weeds can grow through landscape fabric, as well as, on top of the fabric so weed control will still be necessary. Finally, with iris needing divided every 2 to 4 years, you will have to frequently contend with the landscape fabric.

Generally, problems with weeds in planting beds is caused by mulch that has not been applied thick enough. Maintaining a proper mulch depth of 3 inches or more is a big step in weed control. For areas that are affected by wind, pea gravel mulch can be a better alternative to wood chips or bark mulch that can be blown away.

Below is additional information on mulching home landscapes and weed control: