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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can I use weed fabric or black plastic under my mulch to keep the weeds down?
A. If you are using inorganic mulch (i.e. crushed stone, gravel) you will need some type of barrier between the mulch and the soil. These types of mulch can migrate into the ground over time. Black plastic has been used in the past as an inexpensive underlayment that suppressed weeds and retained moisture, but it has also been shown to limit the amount of moisture and oxygen that gets in the ground. A newer product, woven geotextile fabric, also allows moisture to filter into the ground and allows the soil beneath it to “breathe.”

If you are using organic mulch (i.e. bark chips, shredded hardwood mulch, or compost) you do not a weed barrier. The advantage of organic mulch is that it does degrade and supply the soil with organic matter. If you use organic mulch and a landscape fabric, you will soon have a small layer of organic matter into which weed seeds will germinate and, if given the chance, will latch onto the landscape fabric and be even more difficult to remove from the landscape bed.

The best way to start is with a weed-free site. You can also use a granular pre-emergent that will keep weed seeds from germinating. If weeds do germinate, the sooner you pull them, the easier maintenance will be.

Question: When I visit my daughter in Texas, I really enjoy seeing the crepe myrtle. How can I enjoy them at home?
A. I’m sorry to say those crepe myrtles are not hardy here in Illinois. According to the USDA hardiness zones, Peoria, Illinois is in zone 5b and crepe myrtle is only hardy to zone 6. Some cold-hardy alternatives to crepe myrtle would include ornamental crabapple or flowering pear trees. There are also numerous flowering shrubs that will give you excellent flower displays and are also hardy to zone 5.

If you have any questions that you would like answered, please e-mail us at info@pinegrovelandscaping.com