If you want to prevent weeds from growing in the garden and facilitate the development of the seedlings, the best solution is to spread a mulch cloth between the rows. Let’s try to better understand what mulch is and what an anti-weed mulch sheet is for.
What is mulch
Mulching is a peasant technique that serves to defend the land from temperature changes and to limit the growth of weeds. Once it was used to sprinkle the ground with the stubble of the harvest making a straw mulch.
Straw mulching is a system that allows you to keep the earth fresh and clean, without having to turn it over and over. Today, to achieve the same effect, simply spread the mulch sheets on the ground. It is a roll of blackout material, very easy to install.
Of course you can always get rid of weeds using a hoe, a weed picker or the tiller if the surface is extended. Or, if for you the problem is only weeds, you can limit yourself to passing a brush cutter or grass cutter on the ground. Then of course there are also herbicides, but if you don’t know how to use them you risk burning the garden, while mulching is painless, simple, sustainable and absolutely natural.
How the mulch rests
Today for the mulching of the garden it is enough to spread a particular sheet between the plants. It is a sheet, also called anti-algae, made with a material that allows water to irrigate the soil and at the same time prevent weeds from developing.
It is sold by the meter, in rolls of various heights, and is anchored to the ground with suitable supports, which serve to prevent it from being raised in the wind or during plant maintenance. But the merit of installing mulching sheets is not limited to the containment of weeds.
What is a mulch sheet for?
The mulch film inhibits the growth of weeds because it blocks the chlorophyll photosynthesis by darkening the soil. In some cases, especially when the weeds are particularly rooted and resistant, a waterproof Teflon anti-root sheet can be used to rot them and then replace it with a breathable sheet, so as not to damage the soil and consequently also the vegetables.
Another effect of the sheet is the coverage of the ground from direct sunlight. This allows not to overheat the surface of the earth in a violent way, to avoid thermal changes and to maintain controlled hydration. In fact, the anti-weed sheet, when placed on the ground, reflects most of the sun’s rays and allows only the minimum part of light to pass through, which is essential for maintaining the surface microclimate.
The presence of the cloth also slows the superficial evaporation of the water present in the clods and the condensation in the underlying surface. In this way, as soon as the temperature drops, it slides back to the ground and reduces the need for irrigation.
Finally, its fabric, being permeable, allows the water from the watering cycles to be drilled. Its transpiring capacity, on the other hand, allows the earth to breathe, avoiding the onset of molds and pathogens that would attack the stem of the plant.
Spreading a mulching sheet between the vegetables also avoids the inconveniences created by continuous hoeing. In fact, if done too often, they dilate and dry up the ground and block the flow of surface water. Finally, resorting to mulching considerably reduces the routine maintenance work and keeps the vegetables clean from the earth and mud splashes.
How the mulch sheet is made
The mulch film is made of an opaque, breathable, foot-resistant material, sufficiently permeable and insensitive to the effect of UV rays, which allows it not to deteriorate easily. One of the most used materials is PP, better known as polypropylene, with a weight that generally does not exceed 100 g / m2.
This is because it must be strong enough to be able to walk on, but also light enough, so that it can be placed without difficulty. Its color is black or dark gray, and there are many models that add a couple of green strips to the root protection cloth at regular distances from the edge.
The side edging, at least in the higher quality models, is reinforced to better withstand the tension of the posts that anchor it to the ground.
Green mulch film guides
If this is your first time installing the weed cover, chances are you have decided to do it because you are tired of the weeds in your garden.
In this case, the vegetables are already planted, and maybe they are also quite developed. When this happens, you will probably have some difficulty finding the right size and you will have to work on it. Instead, it is much better to mount the cloth first and then the vegetables.
You can mount the cloth in parallel strips, leaving free space to put the plants. But you can also spread it out entirely, crossing the edges. If you leave space between the sheets, you probably have already drawn the groove for the seedlings. In this case you just need to place them and cover them with earth.
If, on the other hand, you mount the sheets with no free spaces between them, then you will have to pierce them with a bulb plant, or you can use a knife. As soon as you have made the hole, you will remove some earth and put the plant. In this case the green guide will be very useful because it will allow you to space the holes correctly.
Best mulching sheets
1. GardenMate 2m x 25m mulch film 50 g / m²
GardenMate’s mulch sheet is 25 meters long, 2 meters wide and is perfect for preventing weeds from growing along the rows of your vegetable garden or garden. It is a modular fabric, which allows you to cover all the free space, even if the planting spacing between the rows is a little wider. GardenMate 2 × 25 weighs 50 grams per square meter, is resistant to weeds, permeable to rain and irrigation water and is UV stabilized.
- Medium consistency (50gr / m2)
- UV stabilized
- Permeable to solutes
- SGS certificate
This GardenMate mulch sheet is made of polypropylene. An extremely resistant material, despite weighing just 50 grams per square meter. It is in fact a non-woven fabric, made especially for surface agricultural uses. Its ability to withstand UV rays without deteriorating also makes it durable and allows you to use it on more than one occasion.
It is a rot-resistant sheet that prevents even the most stubborn weeds from making their way through its mesh. Its particular texture makes it permeable and breathable.
A feature that prevents the development of mold under the cloth and allows both water and liquid fertilizer that may be dissolved in it to penetrate during the irrigation phases. Its structure of the HIDRO type, among other things, also makes it suitable for compressed and not very permeable soils, despite the consistency is quite light.
The great convenience of this mulch sheet is that it saves you from poisoning the soil and groundwater with herbicides. GardenMate 2 × 25 is a high quality tarpaulin free of toxic substances, as shown by the certification issued by SGS, in compliance with the REACH regulation of the European Union. One roll package weighs two kilos in all.
- Excellent consistency / strength ratio
- UV stabilized
- Premium quality certified by SGS
- Preventive soil treatment
- Not biodegradable but recyclable
2. Kenley Geotextile Mulch Anti-Weed Fabric – 100 grmq – 1M x 100M
Kenley’s Anti-Weed Fabric is a Geotextile mulch sheet that has a density of 100 grams per square meter. It measures 100 meters and is 1 meter wide. Perfect for protecting the soil between the rows planted with both flowers and vegetables, it prevents the growth of weeds and is resistant to UV rays. Excellent for creating paths covered with gravel or sediment.
- Permeable to water and solutes
- UV resistant
- Solid and long-lived
Kenley Anti-Weed Fabric has been designed to give you the ability to care for your garden or rose garden without having to worry about weeds. It is a Geotextile sheet made of woven Polypropylene.
This mulching sheet is capable of blocking solar radiation including UV rays and avoiding the growth of weeds. Its texture, however, does not block the natural transpiration of the ground and allows you to carry out the normal irrigation cycle, with or without nutrients.
The cloth is very strong, but extremely sensitive to blades and spikes. For this reason, if on the one hand it is very easy to pierce with scissors or a knife to give space to the seedlings, on the other hand the soil must be carefully cleared before laying the sheet, eliminating both existing weeds and sharp stones.
Kenley Anti-Weed Fabric is very resistant and able to last a long time, as long as it is installed faithfully following the instructions. The package weighs 10 kilos in all and has a diameter of 19 centimeters by 106 in length.
- Coverable with gravel or pebbles
- Perfect for the vegetable garden even in the greenhouse
- Easy and practical to install
- Very resistant to UV rays
- Sensitive to sharp objects
3. Mulch sheet L. 100 mt. H. 1.05
This mulch sheet is 100 meters long and 1.05 linear meters wide. It is a mulching sheet with anti-algae and anti-weed characteristics. Sold by Tela Tecnica Industriale it is black with green lines. Made of polypropylene, this sheet has a consistency of 100 grams per square meter. Excellent for flower beds and nurseries, it is breathable and UV stabilized.
- UV stabilized
- Suitable for nurseries
This mulch sheet is used successfully in nurseries and garden centers, and is also perfect for creating walkable paths and flower beds. It has excellent breathability despite its consistency of 100 grams per square meter placing it in the medium-high density category.
The permeability of its texture is more than sufficient to impregnate the earth below during the irrigation cycles and to allow the soil the right transpiration. The material with which this sheet was made is polypropylene with a tightly knit texture.
Excellent for curbing the growth of weeds, the color of the mulch sheet is black, crossed by vertical green stripes about 20 centimeters away. This mulching sheet is resistant to trampling and covering with non-cutting material, such as pebbles and sand.
The ground, however, must be previously deprived of sharp stones and pre-existing weeds and the installation must be particularly careful. This is because when the cloth is placed it must be well stretched or the water risks stagnating or slipping outside.
- Perfect for greenhouse nurseries
- Medium-high consistency
- Good permeability and breathability
- Elaborate pose to ensure optimal tension
4. FIXKIT Non-Woven Anti-Weed Fabric
The FIXKIT Anti-Weed Non-Woven Fabric has a density of 100 grams per square meter and a rectangular extension of 2 meters by 10. It is a super resistant professional product and is stabilized against UV rays. It is a mulching sheet, made of polypropylene without the presence of chemicals, also excellent for containing slopes.
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- Efficient customer care
- Exceptional resistance
- Great flexibility of use
- Simple installation
- Free of chemicals
The FIXKIT Anti-Weed Non-Woven Fabric stands out above all for the particular resistance of its polypropylene structure and the absence of chemical products in the fabric texture.
This mulching sheet represents an effective barrier to weeds and is also indicated to prevent the washing of the earth on slopes and embankments. It is a perfectly permeable and breathable product, despite its medium-high density texture. The package weighs about 2 kilos and contains a folded sheet of rectangular shape, 25 x 35 cm and 10 cm high.
The FIXKIT Anti-Weed Non-Woven Fabric is a sheet that can be used in many ways, both for the construction of paths and inside greenhouses. It can also be used to create walkable terraces in the garden, covered with gravel, or to pave the sheds on earth.
Both the dimensions and the material make it a sheet of easy installation, to be quickly blocked with the U-shaped pegs upside down. FIXKIT provides a precise and punctual customer service, both for information and for refund guarantees for non-satisfaction.
- Very resistant fabric
- Professional quality
- Simple to install
- Useful for containing embankments and slopes
- Free of chemicals
- The small size requires the use of numerous sheets
5. ITALFROM Anti Weed Cloths
ITALFROM Teli is a black mulching sheet, generally available in squares, with green and black guides. Its measurements are one meter and 5 centimeters by 20 meters in length. This tarp is made of polypropylene, made with a tear-resistant texture and is quite simple to place. Its weight is 100 grams per square meter.
- UV stabilized
- Medium-high density
- Good porosity and breathability
- Easy to lay
- Available in various sizes
The anti-root sheet in question is a product widely used by managers of professional nurseries. Its task is to prevent the growth of weeds between the seedlings, without necessarily having to use chemical herbicides.
The tarp is made of high quality and very resistant polypropylene. It is a fabric with a medium porosity that allows the irrigation water to penetrate slowly. A feature that improves the persistence of moisture on the crust and the nutrition of the superficial roots.
This product is among the most resistant to foot traffic mulching sheets and is also excellent for creating walkways between farms. The production of this house is 100% Italian and the company is available, both by telephone and by e-mail, to develop free estimates upon request.
The grid measures 15 centimeters per side, even if some supplies do not have it, due to manufacturing requirements. It is also possible to order this cloth in different sizes, as shown by consulting the seller’s page at the link below.
- Robust and porous fabric
- UV stabilized
- Slow and homogeneous penetration
- Available in various sizes
- Made in Italy
- It doesn’t always come with the green grid
How to assemble a mulch film
The mulch must be mounted after the earth has been carefully worked and leveled. The burglary, made with a manual or mechanical means, must not exceed the depth of the taproot of the adult plant. The turned earth must be left to rest for a couple of days, then it must be leveled without pressing it too much and covered with sheets.
The sheets can be laid with free edges and spaced apart, so as to leave the furrow uncovered for sowing or planting the plants. In this case it is better that a little free space remains also for the reinforcement work, to be carried out around the foot of the plant later.
Or you can place the sheets with overlapping edges, for total coverage. In this case, it is advisable to pay particular attention to align the green guides as much as possible during installation.
The two systems are alternative. The choice, with respect to one assembly rather than the other, depends on the type of plant you want to install. You will likely find directions on the packaging of the sprouts and more details in a dedicated grow guide.
In this phase, however, what you need is to know how the anti-root sheet is anchored to the ground. In fact, to do this you need special nails, called anchoring pegs for the cloth, a pair of garden gloves and a rubber mallet.
The anchor pegs
The most common pegs are in the shape of an inverted “U”, with an average length that varies between 12 and 18 centimeters and a width between two and three centimeters. They can be made of steel with a high percentage of carbon, or galvanized, with a wire thickness of about 3 millimeters. It is preferable that the pegs have rounded upper corners, to be able to fix them better to the sheet and not create obstacles to trampling.
After spreading the sheet, you need to plant a couple at the beginning and a couple at the end, so as to stretch it without over-stretching it. Then you have to anchor the side edges by spacing the pegs by 40-50 centimeters, depending on the fragility of the ground.
And eventually you will have to plant them in the middle of the cloth as well, using the same spacing on average. To do this with precision, simply place a mason’s line crosswise between one edge and the other and plant them following the thread. Obviously, if the sheet also has the design of the guides for width, as well as the longitudinal ones, you just need to orient yourself on their path.
For a better grip of the sheet, especially if the ground is particularly difficult, hard and sandy, you can help yourself by adding special anchors in the points of greatest tension. These are flat head nails that have a single axis of penetration, cross section and lanceolate tip. They enter more easily, go deeper and have greater difficulty in being removed. Obviously, especially in this case, it is more convenient to turn the edge of the mulch sheet over on itself to improve its tensile strength.
These pegs are up to 25 centimeters long and are generally made of strong plastic. But you can also find them in galvanized metal, or in steel with a high carbon content, capable of reaching a depth of 40 centimeters. Some models also have a welded ring on the head. They were made specifically to be able to pass through the rings of the galvanized wire and improve the stability of the sheet.
Maintenance of mulch sheets
The maintenance of the weed cover is very simple, but sharp tools must be avoided. So a jet of water or a blow from a garden broom is enough.
In general, the tarpaulin does not tend to get particularly dirty but, depending on the plants growing on it, it could become filled with leaves, dried flowers and pollen. In this case you will have to use a broom made of plastic threads or a motorized leaf blower, being careful not to direct the jet on the plants.
In addition to breathable mulch sheets, you can also find mulch sheets of different materials. In fact, although it may not have the same permeability as polypropylene, in many cases it is also possible to buy black polyethylene sheets, micro-perforated to make it breathable and pre-drilled to size, to put the seedlings directly into the nursery.
Polyethylene sheets can be found in both black and gray colors. But it is possible to buy them in brown or white for reasons of different light refraction. In fact, there are vegetables that have particular benefit also from the different refraction of light on the underlying part of the leaves.
Other uses of the towel
The polypropylene mulch sheet is also excellent for uses other than those for which it was designed. In fact, thanks to its high refractive power and the transpiring nature of its fabric, it can also be used as a blackout canopy or dividing back between two neighboring gardens. Obviously it must be mounted on a suitable frame, or fixed to poles. And it can also be used as an agricultural windbreak espalier, especially if you decide to mount new crops in a particularly windy area.