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Author Topic: Weed membranes  (Read 2041 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Weed membranes
« on: September 11, 2018, 03:00:07 pm »
This is, sort-of, a spin-off from martcol’s thread “converting pasture to a veg plot”:
As I said there, I’m increasingly inclined towards weed membranes despite the cost (and some other cons).

I have been searching for best prices once again to top-up my stock of membrane. While doing so, I noted a reference to UVI spun polypropylene membrane having a life of some 6 years even without a protective layer of mulch.

That, I seem to think, is about the same predicted life as for un-mulched UV-resistant woven weed-sheet.  As spun membrane is so much easier to deal with than woven membrane (no fraying on cut edges), I’m tempted.
Reason for posting is to ask whether anyone has used UVI “spun” membranes and whether they can/do actually last that long.
(In passing:  I have now managed to find woven fabric at less that £0.40/sq m. Holding-off on an order for the moment though.)
Voss Electric Fence

Perris

  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Gower
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2018, 07:32:56 am »
I cannot answer your question, but your post prompts me to wonder whether such plastic is the agricultural equivalent of plastic bags - its disintegration surely means small fragments of polypropylene in the ground for animals to eat?

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2018, 04:36:09 pm »
You make a very good point Perris:  any use of plastics in "agriculture" poses a pollution/animal health risk in one way or another. 

TupMe!

  • Joined Aug 2015
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 10:37:30 am »
What I've been experimenting with, and seen recommended quite a bit, is using a cardboard mulch - lay cardboard over the area you want to grow on, soak it well, then cover with a good layer of mulch/woodchip.

Then you just use a dibber(?) or bulb planter to puncture holes for planting.

Not too sure about the ink in some cardboard, and you'd want to remove any tape first, but it will eventually break down and it's good for holding moisture. I've been using old empty feed bags (paper ones of course!) instead.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2018, 02:27:49 pm »
In various circumstances cardboard, newspapers, tarpaulins, silage wrap and old carpets can all work well as weed suppressants (I have gleaned stocks of all types), but I'm still thinking about commercial weed membrane offerings for my larger, more permanent plantings. 
I'm still holding off on a major purchase of membrane (non-woven or woven types), but have ordered a butane-powered "hot knife" to see if that might make the woven membrane option more viable,  i.e. to stop any cuts from fraying by melting/bonding the weave on cut edges. 
If it doesn't do what I would like it to do (ref weed membranes), plenty of other uses.  However, I'm wondering whether anyone else has used one of these tools for sealing woven weed-membrane cuts and whether it worked for them ?  (If so, any tips ?)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 12:05:04 pm by arobwk »

GribinIsaf

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Montgomeryshire
    • Gribin Isaf
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2018, 07:53:29 pm »
When I cut holes in woven fabric I used a very simple blowtorch (the type you just screw on to a small butane cylinder) to seal the edges and stop them fraying - this worked well.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2018, 04:09:15 pm »
The "hot knife" arrived today (a Dremel Versatip).  While waiting for some 2-part wood filler to go 'off' (there's a tale there !, but I won't digress), thought I'd give the Dremel a try on some woven weed membrane int' garden.First experiment (only experiment so far) was with their "shaping knife" (a blunt wedge-shape blade).  It didn't take long to heat the blade which sliced through the membrane quickly (much quicker than using scissors) with a nice sealed edge.  HOWEVER, the sealed edge is just that - a thin, fragile sealed edge (the polypropylene does not want to melt back much):  I don't think it would stay sealed on a long cut if flexed by wind or whatever.  Further hot knife experimentation to be done (e.g. blow-torch mode), but must go see whether that wood-filler has gone 'off' this time!
   
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 06:01:08 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2018, 03:39:22 pm »
Update on the Dremel Versatip versus woven weed membrane. 

From trials of blow-torch mode I can appreciate, Gribinalsaf, effectiveness for making planting holes in membrane, but linear 'cuts' are very unsatisfactory - it produces a wide, raggedy melted swathe even with it's very narrow flame.  Next, tested the hot-air tip:  slightly better, but not great - membrane puckers-up too much.  With a bit of practise, hot knife followed by hot-air application might work, but that would be v time-consuming so I think I'll give up on this experiment and renew my best-price search for UV-treated non-woven (spunbond) fabric.

'Twas worth a try and I'm guessing the hot-knife tip will work just as well with spunbond fabric for quick linear cuts, rather than faff about with scissors. 
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 03:42:34 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 09:46:34 pm »
No more dithering:  I have plonked for UV treated 55gm non-woven fabric to cover the ground for new tree plantings this year:  £340 to cover 1,600 sq.m = £0.213 per sq.m.

While the fabric might be UV treated, it almost certainly won't last more than a few years w/o a decent mulch covering:  so, until I find an affordable tractor-drawn grass rake, I'll have to manually rake up flailed grass/bracken cuttings into piles for collection/mulching.  Oh well !   

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 11:14:55 pm »
Or buy a couple of big round bales of straw.  By the time it's weathered for a couple of years on top of the membrane, any chemicals will have denatured, and you can use it as compost.


Who did you buy the membrane from please arobwk?
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2019, 11:38:12 am »
Hadn't seen this thread, so a but late, but we use an electric hot 'blade', seems to be called a rope cutter, ours looks a bit like a small  electric drill, but a loop if thick wire where the bit would be.
Quick and easy to use,

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2019, 03:06:29 pm »
@Fleecewife - I've bought unbranded UV treated spunbond fabric so there is a risk factor wrt quality/longevity.   The purchase was split across 2 eBay sellers - I bought-out suretradingltd's available stock @ £21/100m and topped up from vtdeals81 @ £22/100m.  (Both are Chinese sellers selling stock held in the UK !!) 
I had intended to buy either Yuzet or Groundmaster fabric. However, Yuzet spunbond in larger measures seems to be unavailable presently.  Groundmaster spunbond is available, but I'm giving the unbranded a try (I'm a bit cash-strapped right now and every little helps!).

In passing:  for anyone interested in tarpaulins, WeedFabricDirect do Yuzet high spec' tarpaulins at quite decent prices - I haven't ordered any yet (so can't vouch for), but I will definitely be trying them out idc.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2019, 03:24:00 pm »
Hadn't seen this thread, so a but late, but we use an electric hot 'blade', seems to be called a rope cutter, ours looks a bit like a small  electric drill, but a loop if thick wire where the bit would be.
Quick and easy to use,

Thanks for the thought and, as I do have a small portable generator, I did consider that option.  However, I decided it would all be too much trouble out in the field and went for the "cordless" butane option instead. 

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2019, 05:49:10 pm »
@Fleecewife - I've bought unbranded UV treated spunbond fabric so there is a risk factor wrt quality/longevity.   The purchase was split across 2 eBay sellers - I bought-out suretradingltd's available stock @ £21/100m and topped up from vtdeals81 @ £22/100m.  (Both are Chinese sellers selling stock held in the UK !!) 
I had intended to buy either Yuzet or Groundmaster fabric. However, Yuzet spunbond in larger measures seems to be unavailable presently.  Groundmaster spunbond is available, but I'm giving the unbranded a try (I'm a bit cash-strapped right now and every little helps!).

In passing:  for anyone interested in tarpaulins, WeedFabricDirect do Yuzet high spec' tarpaulins at quite decent prices - I haven't ordered any yet (so can't vouch for), but I will definitely be trying them out idc.


Thanks arobwk I'll do some surfing  :D
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2019, 10:39:56 am »
@Fleecewife - Gardeners Dream Ltd are almost as cheap, do Groundmaster brand and in different widths.

 

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