Weeding, although it is considered one of the most important and necessary procedures for caring for plants in the garden, it is difficult to find a person who would enjoy this activity. It usually happens the other way around, it is because of weeding that many beginners get acquainted with garden wisdom, quickly cool down for these activities and prefer to buy vegetables and berries on the market than to grow them themselves. However, scientific progress does not stand still, and recently materials have appeared that can significantly facilitate the work of a gardener and gardener and minimize the procedure for combating weeds.
Weed cover material differs in variety both in its quality characteristics and in the field of its application.
Agrotextile and its varieties
Those who have been engaged in gardening for a relatively long period have probably heard, and maybe even experienced what agrotextile for a vegetable garden is. Despite its artificial origin, this material does not at all resemble film in its properties. It has appeared quite a long time ago and opinions about its use among gardeners and gardeners are sometimes striking in their contradictions. And the fact is that many, even experienced gardeners, do not always see the difference between its main varieties and often call the same thing by different names. Or, on the contrary, completely different materials by their properties and purpose are called by the same name. This confusion needs to be cleared up a bit.
Agrotextile, and sometimes it is called geotextile, is a general name for two types of covering material for beds made from polypropylene: non-woven material (agrofibre) and, in fact, fabric (agrotextile).
Historically, agrofibre was the first to appear, the technology for its manufacture is called spunbond - in recent years this name has become almost a common name for all materials with covering properties. The texture of the agrofiber is reminiscent of a material with many small round holes.
Agrofibre can be of different density and color: from the thinnest (17g / sq. M) to the densest (60g / sq. M). The colors are white, black, and in recent years, multi-colored ones have appeared: black and white, red-yellow and others. Only dense black agrofibre is suitable as mulch.
To do this, lay it in white on top.
Agrotechnical fabric is a woven fabric of high density (from 90 to 130 g / m2). Due to its woven base, its texture is an interweaving of threads that form cells. It is most often black, but also green and brown.
Agrofibre has incomparably great strength characteristics that are incomparable even with the most durable agrofibre models. Therefore, they have slightly different areas of application. And it is difficult to compare them in terms of price, of course, agrotechnical fabric will be several times more expensive than agrofibre. But as a covering material from weeds, both agrotechnical and agrofibre do their job well, although there are some nuances here.
Agrofibre and its use against weeds
The fact is that the technology itself for making spunbond or nonwoven fabric used not only in agriculture.This material is also widely used in light industry, in the manufacture of hygiene products, in the construction industry and furniture production. But these materials differ from agrofibre primarily in that they lack an ultraviolet stabilizer, which means that they are not intended for use when exposed to solar radiation. This does not affect the appearance of the material, but its price can be much cheaper.
After all, such a material of the appropriate density (60g / sq. M) should serve you for at least three years. And if it began to crumble by the end of the first season, then you obviously bought something wrong.
Agrofibre is most often used to cover the soil surface when growing strawberries.
In case of renewal of the strawberry plantation, the material is thrown out together with the old strawberry bushes that have served their time. Agrofibre is good for protecting strawberries from weeds, provided that they will not walk on it. Otherwise, its mechanical strength may not be sufficient. But for the device of paths between the beds, the best option would be just the use of agricultural fabric.
Agrotextile and its properties
Agrotechnical fabric, which has high strength indicators, differs little from agrofibre in its other characteristics. The use of both materials allows you to obtain the following benefits when growing plants.
- The materials make it possible to warm up the soil in early spring much faster, which favorably affects the timing of the harvest. And for such thermophilic crops as peppers and eggplants, the use of covering agromaterials allows you to plant seedlings at an earlier date.
- Both varieties provide free penetration of air and moisture. Therefore, during the rains, the beds are provided with full watering, but the ground under them remains loose - there is no need for loosening. It is only necessary to take into account that agrotextile, being heavier, may unnecessarily press down on the delicate root system of some plants, for example, strawberries.
- Both materials are reusable. But if the deadline for agrofibre is 3-4 years, then agrotextile can easily live even 10-12 years.
- These materials do not provide a fertile environment for the development of fungal diseases. Slugs are also not interested in settling under them.
- The material from which both types of agrotextile are made is not capable of emitting harmful elements with possible strong heating by solar radiation and does not react with any substances: soil, water, chemical compounds.
- Both materials perfectly protect against the germination of annual weeds, and more or less well resist perennial rhizome plants. Agrotextile is more reliable and sustainable in this regard, so if you are in doubt about which material to choose, proceed from how important it is for you to completely suppress all weeds.
There is another variety of these materials called geotextiles, which are also good at protecting against weeds. It usually means especially strong varieties of agrofibre, with a density of over 90 g / m2. Geotextile, in terms of its strength characteristics, is approximately halfway between agrofibre and agrotextile.
Black weed film until recently it was the main material used by gardeners. Since it has excellent darkening properties, the weeds underneath do not really survive. The downside of this material is that since it does not allow water to pass through, the condensate accumulating under it causes the development of fungal diseases.In addition, it usually lasts for one season.
Reviews of gardeners
Reviews on the use of black weed coverings are generally quite positive. Some disappointments seem to be related to the choice of an unsuitable grade of material not intended for agricultural use.
A variety of modern covering materials can greatly facilitate the work of the gardener. The main thing is to choose the type of material that is most suitable for your specific conditions.