DeWitt Sunbelt Ground Cover Weed Barrier Woven Landscape Fabric Review

DeWitt Sunbelt Ground Cover Weed Barrier Woven Landscape Fabric Review

Buy it at Amazon: DeWitt Sunbelt Ground Cover Weed Barrier Woven Landscape Fabric [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Cuts cleanly, durable, weatherproof, water permeable, and UV resistant.

A few years ago, I decided to try a new landscape fabric in the garden. This is a non-woven Polyethylene that resists tearing and puncturing. Since my garden is 30 feet by 30 feet I need 900 sq feet of fabric to cover the whole thing. The roll I purchased is 4 feet by 300 feet, so I had enough for the whole garden and some to spare. Since the fabric is basically woven plastic, if you simply cut it with scissors the fibers will eventually fray and unravel at the edges. Instead, what I used is a craft heat knife, basically a soldering iron with a flat blade tip. This let me cut the fabric and seal the edges at the same time to help prevent fraying.

The roll is marked with yellow lines along the sheet every 12 inches to help you will spacing and alignment. This is the same material used by some professional nurseries to keep weeds down in their fields and greenhouses. The material is UV resistant and can be left exposed to the sun and is also water permeable to allow water to drain through, but still tightly woven enough to prevent weeds from growing up through it. The factory cut edge was already fraying a bit, so I had to re-cut it with the heat knife to seal it.

To make cuts, once the heat knife is hot, just place it on the fabric and move it smoothly across it, trying to maintain a consistent speed that allows enough time for the blade to cut the fabric and seal the edge but not so slow that the area around the blade starts to melt. You should end up with a nice clean, straight edge. If you move too quickly and the fabric hasn’t cut through, just go over the section again and it should split apart. I did this over a sheet of cardboard so that the blade wouldn’t get covered in dirt and also the cardboard has a pretty high heat tolerance and doesn’t burn with the minimal amount of contact with the heat knife. If you want really straight lines, you can use a straight edge like a wood plank or metal t-square.

I decided to weight down the fabric using bricks along the edges and seams rather than making holes with landscape fabric nail or pins as that could allow weeds to find passage through the fabric. You can also cover the fabric in a layer of mulch to hold it down, but this may also allow weeds to grow in the mulch which would have to be removed and replaced each year and for this amount of space would be costly -- plus I already had leftover unused bricks. I made an 8 inch round template out of cardboard so that I could cut holes spaced every 3 feet using the heat knife in order to plant my veggies. The line across the middle helped me align the template with the yellow line on the fabric so each hole was cut at the same level. You could also cut an ‘X’ shape in the fabric and simply pullback the flaps, if you don’t want an exposed hole in the fabric. This nice thing about the round hole is that I was also able to re-use the circles I cut out to line the bottom of 1-gallon planters to prevent dirt and soil from escaping the pots, so nothing went to waste.

Now, a few years later, 2021 is our 3rd growing season with the landscape fabric, which we leave in place all winter. It’s still in really good shape and has kept down a majority of weeds over the last two growing seasons. We can walk on it and it doesn’t tear or rip, and even with our drip lines placed right on top of the material the water seeps through and doesn’t pool on top for very long. Any puddles from watering typically drain through within 5-10 minutes. The only issue we had last summer was actually with neighbors setting off fireworks and the spent shells, still hot with burnt powder, landed in the garden and melted tiny holes where they fell. I know that’s a pretty specific problem, but good to know as a potential hazard.

Other than that, the fabric has performed really well and the only problems we have with weeds now are the ones along the perimeter of the garden and the occasional one that pops up in the plant cut out, though they’re easy enough to find and pull out. Over the years I’ve used a number of different landscape fabrics in the garden some with 5 or even 15 year warranties on them and most of them have been pretty disappointing lasting only a couple seasons. I like the durability of the DeWitt Sunbelt fabric so far and love that I don’t have to pull it up for the winter, so it’s pretty low maintenance.

Buy it at Amazon: DeWitt Sunbelt Ground Cover Weed Barrier Woven Landscape Fabric [Affiliate Link]

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