So you want to create a new garden space, but it’s so overgrown with weeds that you don’t know where to start. Chemicals weed killers are not an option when you would like to be a good samaritan of the environment, then what should you do? You probably have heard of utilizing plastic sheets to control weeds, but does plastic kill weeds? It seems logical to use plastic to avoid garden weeds, but can you use a plastic tarp to kill current weeds? Continue reading to learn how to kill garden weeds using the plastic sheeting technique.
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Can you Kill Weeds using Plastic Sheeting?
You may have heard of, or perhaps used this technique in your garden wherein plastic sheets are put beneath the bark mulch or gravel layers. But such methods are used for preventing new garden weeds from coming up. But does plastic sheeting kill the currently existing weeds?
Yes, weeds can be killed using plastic. The technique is known as sheet mulching which can also be referred to as soil solarization. This is an organic and low-fuss approach to clear a prospective garden space of invasive weeds. Sure, the plastic sheets are ecologically unfriendly, but they can be preserved and reused many times.
How does Plastic Sheeting for controlling Weeds work?
During the warmest months, the plastic sheeting is placed down and left for about 6-8 weeks. During this period, the plastic warms the soil to the point of killing all the unwanted plants beneath it. Simultaneously, the high heat kills certain diseases and pests while causing the soil to discharge all the stored nutrients due to the decomposition of the soil organic matter.
This Soil Solarization (Plastic Sheeting) can also be done during the winter season as well. But, it will take a longer duration to achieve the same results. The verdict is still split on whether clear transparent sheets or black plastic sheets are preferable for weed control. Although black plastic is generally preferred, recent studies indicate that clear transparent plastic works quite as well.
How to Kill Weeds using Plastic Sheeting?
To destroy weeds using plastic sheeting, just cover the targeted areas with plastic sheets. You can use black polythene plastic sheets or something similar and arrange them flat on the ground. The plastic should be weighted or fastened down. That is all there is to it.
You may punch a few small holes into the plastic covering to enable air and moisture to escape if you like, but it isn’t really required. Leave the sheeting to remain in place for at least 6 weeks and up to 3 months.
When you finally remove the plastic sheets, the grass and weeds will be dead. Then all you have to do now is add some good quality organic compost to the soil and start planting your desired plants.