To find out more information about our products, our products’ performance or guarantees, or for installation tips, please reference the links below.
- What is landscape fabric?
Landscape fabric is a spunbonded or woven fabric that is used to control weeds in your yard. Perforated plastic film is sometimes called a fabric even though it is not. Landscape fabric materials allow water and air to pass through in contrast with film, which smothers the ground and deprives it of moisture. Unperforated film should not be used in landscaping applications as it damages the plant material.
- Why should I use landscape fabric?
The right landscape fabric can cut your maintenance time by over 90%! It helps stop weed roots from penetrating into the soil so that pulling weeds that do grow in the top mulch layer is an easy task.Using the wrong landscape fabric can actually increase your maintenance time. In either case, landscape fabric conserves ground moisture and can make your plantings healthier.
- Why should I use Dalen’s landscape fabrics?
Our limited permeability landscape materials (which include all Weed-Shield®, Weed-X®, and Weed-Proof® PLUS materials) are effective in keeping the weeds that develop in the top mulch from penetrating into the ground where they establish themselves. This cuts out most of the long-term maintenance since most weeds will die if they can’t reach the ground. Those weeds that survive can usually be removed easily with two fingers. Landscape fabrics that are highly permeable (this includes most non-Gardeneer or non-Dalen products) can actually cause more work and weed problems in that roots from the weeds easily go through the fabric and establish themselves below the fabric where they thrive and are difficult to remove.
- How does landscape fabric stop weeds?
All landscape fabrics stop some weeds from coming through from below, but certain aggressive weeds will penetrate any landscape fabric especially if there is a heavy load of mulch on top. These weeds that are in the ground are only the initial problems. Long-term, 95%+ of weeds come from germinating seeds in the top mulch. Ideal (low) permeability landscape materials like 5-Year, 10-Year, and 20-Year Weed-Shield, Weed-X, and Weed-Proof PLUS, prevent most weeds from reaching the ground, with 20-Year Weed-Shield and Weed-X being the most effective. Higher permeability landscape fabric, however, has larger and more holes that not only allow more water through but also allow roots through. These roots establish themselves below the fabric where they thrive and are difficult to remove.
- Which side faces up on Weed-X and 20-Year Weed-Shield materials?
The black side of Dalen’s fabric should always face up. The black smooth side is more effective in preventing weed roots from penetrating from above. Placing the white (bottom) side underneath allows water to wick through the fabric and into the soil, which is necessary for plant growth. All of Dalen’s landscape fabrics are correctly oriented on the roll so when you unroll it, the correct side is facing up automatically.
- How do I hold the fabric in place?
For best results, use Gardeneer Garden Staples. These staples are easily pushed through the fabric and into the ground by hand. Use a staple wherever the fabric overlaps and place them approximately 2 to 3 feet apart. Also use staples to hold fabric down around plants and shrubs. The objective is to keep fabric close to the ground and the soil completely covered; the less exposed soil, the better your protection against weeds.
If Gardeneer Garden Staples are not available, simply covering the fabric with a 1″ to 2″ layer of mulch will usually keep it in place. However, the chance that it will move or lift up over time and leave an uncovered section of soil is substantially increased.
- What is the difference between Staples and Pegs?
Staples are made of metal and are much easier to use in hard, compacted soil. The advantage of pegs is that they are non-corrosive and are reusable.
- How many do I need to use for my project?
The quantity will vary depending on how many openings you have for plants, shrubs, or trees and the shape of the area you are covering. A general rule of thumb is to use a staple or peg wherever the fabric overlaps and place them approximately 2 to 3 feet apart. Also use staples or pegs to hold fabric down around plants and shrubs. The objective is to keep fabric close to the ground, and the soil completely covered; the less exposed soil, the better your protection against weeds.
- Do I have to cover the landscape fabric once I’ve put it on the ground?
For the 5- year, 10-Year and 20-year materials to last for their intended life span, they must be covered to protect them from the sun. Please do not cover with topsoil! We recommend covering the fabric with 1-2 inches of mulch. A thin layer is desirable for several reasons: You will have fewer weed problems since the layer is light enough in weight that aggressive weeds from below cannot punch through. Thin mulch will dry out rapidly, which prevents rotting and makes the mulch last longer. Best of all, weeds that are spread into the top mulch by airborne seeds (by far the biggest weed problem) and germinate will be killed when the mulch dries out, thus relieving the need for hand removal.
- What kind of mulch should I use to cover the fabric?
Any type of mulch will work, but unfortunately some mulches contain active weed seeds that can germinate into weeds. The best type of mulch to use is bark chips — the larger the better. Shredded bark is OK, but it will deteriorate more quickly and will more easily allow weed seeds to germinate. Pine straw is excellent, and is our personal favorite. If some weeds do come through soon after the installation of fabric and mulch, they can be completely eliminated by spraying with Roundup or other post-emergent systemic weed killer. You should have no further weed penetration problems after the first few weeks.
- Can I use marble rocks or pebbles?
Yes, but marble rocks and rounded pebbles should be spread as thinly as possible because heavy weight on top of the fabric actually allows very aggressive weeds to punch through the fabric, making them difficult to control.
- Can landscape fabrics be used with ground covers?
Generally not. You usually use ground covers instead of mulch to eliminate weeds. The fabric can interfere with the spreading of the ground cover which is usually the whole point of using them. You can use the two together effectively if you want both mulch and ground covers in adjacent areas. Be aware, however, that some ground covers are very invasive and can spread both over and under the fabric.
- Can I use the fabrics on slopes? Won’t the mulch just slide off the slick surface?
Gentle slopes are usually okay except for very heavy rains. For steeper slopes where you have installed fabric and had a problem keeping the mulch in place, try this: Remove the mulch but leave the fabric in place. Purchase netting such as Deer-X® or Bird-X®. Put 1/3 of the mulch back on the fabric to raise the netting slightly. Then put the netting over the mulch and use Gardeneer Garden Staples to hold it down. Put the remaining 2/3 of the mulch on top of the net. The net should hold the mulch in all except the heaviest of rains. The black net will not show, even if it is not completely covered.
- Can landscape fabric be used for growing vegetables in an organic garden?
Yes, there is nothing harmful in any of our fabrics (5-Year, 10-Year, 20-Year Weed-Shield, Weed Control, Weed Proof PLUS, and Weed-X). However, the fabrics will have a shorter life if not covered, approximately 2 to 3 years.
- Can landscape fabrics be used with perennial flowers?
Yes, but if the flowers have a habit of spreading and multiplying (and you want them to do this), then you must open up a big enough hole to allow for it. Don’t skimp on your hole sizes. The fabric will still protect all other areas, and the holes around plants don’t significantly add to your weed problems. But you can choke your prized plantings if you don’t make the opening roomy enough.
- I have installed the fabric as instructed, and after a few days I have weeds coming through the fabric. Is there something wrong with the fabric?
Very aggressive weeds can penetrate 6″ of asphalt and will come through any fabric sold on the market today. Fortunately, this is a brief and temporary problem, compared with the five to twenty year periods in which you will enjoy unprecedented low maintenance through the use of these landscape materials. You need only to remove these few weeds when they first appear by pulling them, or by spraying them with Roundup or other post-emergent systemic weed killer. One or two applications should take care of the problem. Exceptions are grasses such as Bermuda grass, which put out runners and may continually run under, up and through the fabric. These can only be stopped through the use of an edging barrier at least 8” into the ground. The use of very light mulch may help the problem, since the aggressive grasses cannot punch through the fabric without top weight to push against.
- The previous answer says I have to do something to get rid of weeds coming through. Why is that?
Remember that above all else you are putting this material down to save you from having to weed for the next 5 to 20 years. These materials are designed to do just that! However, there is sometimes an initial problem of aggressive pre-existing weeds, which must be handled first. When you have quickly and easily eliminated this short-lived initial problem, you will be set to enjoy the most effective weed control device available.
- The holes in the fabric don’t seem big enough for water to penetrate. Will these fabrics transmit enough water to my plants?
Yes! All our fabrics are designed to transmit water, nutrients, and air to your plants. The 5, 10, and 20-Year materials are patented products that are specifically designed to be just porous enough to let water through the fabric at the same rate that water is able to flow into the ground. If it were more porous, the water would just run off underneath the material. It would also let many more weeds through, and it would not retain the ground moisture as well. Initially, it may take 24 to 48 hours for water to penetrate the fabric, but after this time it will move through the fabric almost immediately. The reason for the initial slowness is that the white side (capillary material) must come into firm contact with the ground and become moist to start wicking water into the soil.
Dalen’s landscape materials work many times better than the fabrics you may have used from other manufacturers that are much more porous. The features described are protected by U.S. Patent numbers 5,047,099 and 5,873,194, assuring you that you are using the finest product available on the market today.
- Are there general guidelines I can follow to help my scarecrow device work better?
In general, all devices work far better when they are put into use before birds feeding or nesting habits begin. It is much harder to dissuade the birds from giving up a habit than it is to prevent the habit from developing in the first place. Also, you should remove the device just as soon as it is no longer needed. Birds, once they catch on to these deterrents, are seldom fooled a second time.
- What types of scarecrow devices might work for my garden?
Although no device is foolproof, several have worked well in many situations. The Gardeneer Inflatable Snake has been judged as particularly effective except in areas where snakes do not live naturally (e.g. Pacific Northwest). The Inflatable Owl is a less expensive alternative to the hard-bodied Great Horned Owl and also works well. The Guard ‘N Eyes balloon with large eyes all around has been judged very effective. It works because research has determined that the eyes of the owl are the most recognized feature of the owl and even if used alone, are still frightening. Also useful is our reflective Holographic Tape that can work for a time when stretched over a row of fruits or vegetables to give the illusion of something continually moving in that area. One or two twists in the tape cause a whipping back-and-forth motion in the breeze that is particularly effective.
- How does the molded Great Horned Owl scare birds? Does it work on other animals?
The owl is a feared predator and our lifelike owl with very realistic eyes can effectively frighten birds. This product will also help deter small rodents that are preyed upon by the Great Horned Owl. The key to continued efficacy is to keep moving the owl around the yard or garden so birds don’t get used to it (they will become unafraid if they notice that it never moves). We also offer a Rotating-Head Owl and our SOL-R Action Owl that are even more effective in scaring birds. The moving head provides more realism to startle birds. These owls will still need to be moved around, just not as often.
- Does it work on all birds?
It frightens almost all birds. However, it actually attracts crows since owls and crows are mortal enemies. Most other birds are deterred by its presence in an area.
- How large an area does it cover?
The owls are effective in a 50-foot radius or more if placed in a highly visible position.
- How and where do you mount it?
Mount the Great Horned Owl as high as possible so birds can see it from great distances. Use a post, dowel or piece of wood or bamboo that fits into the hole in the bottom of the owl (remove plug). It can also be weighed down by filling it with gravel, dirt, sand, or pebbles so that it can be placed on the top of a post or wall. Also, Northern Hydraulics has a mounting device available. Call (800) 533-5545 for a catalog. One of the best ways to use the owl is by hanging it (see next question).
- Where is the hanger for it?
At the top of the head of the owl there is an indentation with a horizontal bar. Use a sharp object (ice pick or small pointed screwdriver) to make a hole and thread a wire, monofilament fishing line, or string through it. Hang it in an open area where it can be seen. The swinging and rotating motion will give it effectiveness over a longer period of time, although it is still best to move it around occasionally. NOTE: The Rotating-Head Owl cannot be hung by its head. See question on Rotating-Head Owl.
- How do you weight down the Great Horned Owl? Can you fill it with water?
Remove the plug found on the bottom of the owl. Fill the base with gravel, sand, or pebbles (enough for the owl to become stable). Do not use water or other liquids. Replace the plug.
- How do you weight down the Rotating-Head Owl or SOL-R Action Owl?
Remove the plug found on the bottom of the owl. Fill the base with gravel, sand, soil, or pebbles (enough for the owl to become stable). Do not use water or other liquids. Replace the plug. Do not hang by its head; this can cause the turning mechanism to stop working.
- How does the SOl-R Action Owl work?
The SOL-R Action Owl collects energy from the sun via the solar panel in the top of its head. It stores the energy in a capacitor
and then dispenses the energy every five to ten minutes depending on the amount of natural light. It’s a more green approach and convenient to you. You won’t have to replace batteries or deal with corrosion from them!
- Does the SOL-R Action Owl include batteries?
No, it does not need batteries to operate.
- Does the SOL-R Action Owl have sound effects or light up?
No. We try to take a realistic approach with our products, and Great Horned owls are silent predators.
- Can the SOL-R Action Owl be used around water?
The electronic components are encapsulated, so they are water resistant but are not water proof. Please do not take your owl swimming!
- How long will Dalen’s netting last?
Bird-X® and Deer-X® should last more than one season, but will depend on the amount of direct sun and other harsh conditions. It’s best to remove and store the netting away from the sunlight once protection is no longer needed.
- How do I install Bird-X® netting?
For fruit trees, drape Bird-X® netting over the tree by using a pole to lift the net over the top of the tree. Then gather the netting around the trunk and tie with rope or twist ties. For shrubs and bushes, the net is wrapped around and tied in place. For strawberry rows and patches, cover plants completely. It is desirable to have enough lifting support so that birds can’t peck through the net. This is easily accomplished by driving wooden stakes or metal poles in the corners to keep the netting above the plants. Garden Staples or plastic ties can help hold the edges in place.
- What should I do if a bird gets caught in the netting?
This rarely happens, although it may be possible for a small bird to get caught in the netting. If you find a bird in the net, it should be easy to get it untangled by carefully working it loose or by cutting a strand or two of the net.
- What is the best method of using Deer-X® netting to protect my shrubs and trees?
Attach Deer-X® to a tall pole (bamboo is an inexpensive choice) or wood posts with wire or plastic ties to form a tent-like structure. For added support, weave a thin wire through the mesh at the top and bottom. See the HOW-TO instruction under Deer-X® for details on how to create a vertical or slanted fence.
- How can a light net like Deer-X® deter such a large animal?
The same way that delicate spider webs deter large human beings.
- How can Plastic Fencing be used?
Plastic Fencing is an inexpensive way to define an enclosed space. It can discourage a variety of animals including deer, but many animals can chew through it if they have a compelling desire to reach the other side.
- How is Plastic Fencing held up?
It can be stretched and stapled to posts or hung from a wire. The bottom edge can be buried in a trench to prevent animals from crawling under it.
- How long can Plastic Fencing be used?
The silver fencing should last up to two years in the sun. Bright southern sun, high in UV, will break it down faster.
- Will plastic fencing or netting keep rabbits out of my garden?
Rabbits are very persistent and can chew through plastic fencing. Use metal mesh fencing for protection from rabbits.
- What’s the difference between Bird-X, Deer-X, and Pond & Pool Netting?
The mesh size for Pond and Pool is 3/8″ versus 5/8″ for bird and deer netting. The smaller mesh of Pond and Pool Netting provides better protection for the pond and pool by keeping leaves and debris out.
- What is Harvest-Guard used for? What are the benefits?
Harvest Guard is a floating row cover which is placed over plants, without support, in the early spring. It is light enough to be supported by almost any young, tender plant. Harvest Guard creates a semi-greenhouse environment, raising the air temperature approximately 10-15 degrees underneath it. This makes it ideal for starting plants early in the spring. Especially in areas that have a short summer, the effect of using the fabric can more than double the harvest of some vegetables. Tomatoes, for instance, will not grow at all until the temperature rises above 65 degrees. Harvest Guard will get the plants to that temperature several weeks before the outside temperature gets that high. Harvest Guard can also protect against light frosts. Harvest Guard also is an effective screen for insects and can potentially keep the plants insect-free in the vulnerable early stages of development.
- How do you hold Harvest Guard in place?
Anchor Harvest Guard in place with garden staples, which are inexpensive and very easy to use. It is desirable to double the thickness of the fabric by folding over where the staple is inserted. Put a staple in every 3 to 5 feet.
- If Harvest Guard keeps insects off, what about pollinating insects?
Some plants must be pollinated for fruiting, such as early peas, zucchini, or any flowering fruit-bearing plant. Insects, especially bees, are the agents to see that this happens. You MUST remove the fabric every few days to be certain that pollination will occur.
- Can you double layer Harvest-Guard for added protection against frost?
Yes, doubling, even tripling the fabric will hold more heat in and give more protection especially when frosting occurs. The multiple layers help hold the heat in and deflect the cooling, drying winds for significant protection. However, on particularly cold nights, or when the cold lingers as when a cold front comes through, Harvest Guard will not be able to protect the plant without extra heat being added, or insulation applied, such as a blanket.
- Why should I use Better Reds Red Mulch Film?
The red mulch film was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been extensively tested to show on average a 20% increase in fruit yield. It does this by reflecting a certain frequency of light up into the plant which responds favorably to this particular light.
- What other benefits does Better Reds provide?
All tomatoes need constant moisture, and the ground mulching effect of the film (i.e., covering the dirt) holds the moisture in, reduces water runoff, and discourages weeds. In addition, Better Reds warms the soil to stimulate early plant growth and continues to improve yield at the end of the season by keeping soil warm on cooler nights.
- How does Season Starter extend the growing season?
Season Starter can do a remarkable thing! Surrounding a tender plant early in the season with 18 tubes holding 3 gallons of water assures that the plant will be protected from freezing until all 3 gallons of water have frozen solid. This means that a tender plant can be put out up to 1 month early. In the north in particular, it can mean much more production during the season.
- What can Tomato Tray (Automator) do for me?
Tomato Tray has four cone-shaped areas which penetrate the soil surrounding the plant to bring water and fertilizer directly to the root system. It also prevents cutworm, warms the soil, and prevents weeds. The center hole aligns the tomato plant for uniform, straight growth. In addition, the Tomato Tray can be used under the Tomato Tower® or tomato cages. It can also be used to mark the same distance between plants.
- How many seasons can Tomato Tray last?
If it is stored indoors, out of the sun, at the end of the season, it can easily last 3 to 4 seasons (with care, many more). If you pre-form holes in the soil for the feeding tubes, the tray has little stress during installation and so has little cause for breaking, even after the sun has caused some brittleness.
- How do I get that big plant through the center hole in the Red Tomato Tray?
It is, of course, best to install the tray when the plant is small, but it can also be installed around a larger plant with ease. The tray is designed with a split so it can fit easily around the plant stem. Simply spread apart enough to fit around the base of the plant.
- How long will Trellis Netting last?
Dalen’s Trellis Netting is made of high-quality nylon and will maintain 60% of its original strength after 20 years in the sun. It has a lifetime guarantee, so that if it should ever fail mail it back for a free replacement.
- How can Trellis Netting be used?
Trellis Netting can be used in a variety of ways to cause plants to grow vertically so that they take up less space and the fruit is kept off the ground to prevent rodent and moisture damage. Peas, beans (climbing varieties), and okra are commonly grown on trellises, but tomatoes and all other vining plants benefit greatly from vertical growing.
- How is Trellis Netting held up?
Often it is held up by two or more stakes with a wire or pole supporting the top. Of course, the wire or pole can be supported by an existing structure such as a building, tree or pole.
- How high should the bottom of the netting be from the ground?
Typically the bottom is 1 to 2 ft. off the ground, which allows the top to be 6 to 7 ft. high. It is surprising how easy it is to get any vining plant to bridge even a 2 ft. span.
- Why should I stake my trees?
Very small, short trees and larger trees with a large root ball do not need to be staked if you do not live in an area with high winds. Otherwise, staking trees assures that wind damage or root disturbance will not occur.
- Why is the Mow-Over Tree Stake Kit better and easier to use than other tree stakes?
The Mow-Over tree stake system allows you to easily remove the ropes from the stakes to eliminate the need for trimming around them. The ropes are attached to pins, which are inserted into a hole in the top of the stakes, which are driven flush with the ground. The pins easily slip in and out of the holes in the stakes.
- Should the tree ropes be pulled tight?
No, absolutely not! The tree needs to be able to sway in the breeze in order to gain strength. The ropes should be loose enough to allow several inches of bending, but not so much that damage can occur or roots be displaced.
- What do I do if the wooden stake splits?
If the stake splits, it is relatively easy to drill another hole; however, you can still use the kit with two stakes by installing the other two along with their ropes on the up-wind side of the tree. You rarely need protection in all directions.
- Why use Tree Wrap?
More damage is done to trees in the landscape each year by mowers and weed trimmers than all other causes combined. Tree Guard will prevent all except the most careless of damage by these two causes.
- When should Tree Wrap be removed?
It should be removed or loosened (rewrapped) when the growth of the tree makes it tight (check every 6 months). In the extreme, Tree Wrap can girdle a tree and kill it if not kept reasonably loose.
- When should Tree Guard be removed?
It should be loosened (adjust the slots) when the growth of the tree makes it tight (check every 6 months). In the extreme, Tree Guard can girdle a tree and kill it if not kept reasonably loose.