NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Weed membranes  (Read 1584 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2019, 08:56:09 pm »
Mmmm!  Thought I would report the following disappointment/issue wrt to my spunbond weed membrane.
The runs I've managed to complete (without a useful 2nd pair of hands) have been torn/holed by something!
I've yet to lay a covering mulch of cut-grass, stale silage-haylage, straw or whatever ... and the membrane, on its own, is not opaque enough to substantially stunt the vigorous Spring spurt of grass/weed growth. Membrane strips look like plump pillows !!  (Quite disappointing.)

I've walked over the pillowed membrane without issue, but, today, I witnessed dog No.2 run across a strip:  his little clawed feet sliced through the pillowed membrane like it was wet tissue paper !  So, thanks to dogs (and possibly birds also), the membrane is not faring too well right now.

Some trial strips of silage wrap - punctured for some degree of porosity - have performed and fared rather better and I'm now thinking extensive weed suppression will have to be a combo - spunbond as 1st layer with (punctured) silage wrap as additional light-supression layer. (Hopefully latter will be removeable and moveable for Field 2 weed suppression idc.)

[Silage wrap per sq.m. is so cheap compared to anything else, but, of course, doesn't allow same degree of rain penetration even when a pattern of holes has been punctured into it.]



Voss Electric Fence

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2019, 06:30:46 pm »
Further to my last post:  WARNING!  I have now established that at least one of my spunbond purchases is utter rubbish!  (Just not sure which supplier the offending membrane came from as I type this post and/or whether both supplies will be the same.)
After just a few weeks in the open, the membrane has become "fragile".  The same unused membrane in storage is really very tough/resistant to tearing, but laid membrane has become extremely fragile - a few weeks on from my last post and I can no longer walk over it without damage!  It is not dog No. 2's fault afterall. 

Oh bother - I have lots of this stuff.  Gonna have to work out who I'm about to complain to !!



« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 06:42:28 pm by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2019, 07:06:34 pm »
And, because my spunbond membrane was rubbish and silage wrap installation is a bit of a pain (for large areas) I have now decided to not use membranes except for establishing smallish weed-free starter beds for future plantings.
For existing willow & apple beds, I'm just going to mow, mow, mow between the rows & tickle the inter-row soil occasionally with the Mantis.
For the mowing, a Stiga 47 SQB mulch mower with side discharge facility & with Briggs & Strat' 500E engine is on order:  I'll report idc on my satisfaction with it.
(It was a toss up between the Stiga 47 SQB and an AL-KO 460 BR-A, but the AL-KO is not available anywhere, so Stiga it had to be.  One of the retailers I spoke to offered the thought that the Stiga was the "better" machine anyway.

Whatever, it's on order already, but anyone with Stiga machinery experience ?


 
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 07:14:32 pm by arobwk »

GribinIsaf

  • Joined Aug 2015
  • Montgomeryshire
    • Gribin Isaf
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2019, 10:07:05 pm »
Whatever, it's on order already, but anyone with Stiga machinery experience ?

We have got a Stiga ride-on (at least 10 years old) - very robust

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2019, 05:50:11 pm »
Darn it, mower was damaged in transit ! 

Luckily (I say that advisedly) there was a small bit of broken plastic in the bottom of the box.  There was some damage to the box, but there was no obvious external damage to machine;  so that little bit of broken plastic was a "god send".  Without it I might have installed the handle and filled engine with oil and fuel and run her up which would have placed me, potentially, in a different situation. 
 
However, in summary, it would appear that rear end has been "bounced" hard in transit and Stiga have agreed to do a swapsy based on my description of damage with photos.  In other words, Stiga will not require prior check before sending out a replacement & the courier will take away the damaged unit at same time.
Replacement due next Tues ( :( ) - I could really have done with it this w/end, but the no-quibble same-day Stiga response is welcome.

Also:  I've suggested to Stiga that better packaging would be a good idea given the pressure that courier operatives are under these days to meet delivery time targets.  Stuff is going to be shunted without suitable handling care under the pressure and I see courier drivers actually running up my street to deliver smaller/lighter packages - a brisk walking pace should be enough surely.  (Richard, my usual DPD delivery driver was well flustered today compounded by it being recycling day with recycling vehicles jamming up various roads - "I hate Thursdays here" he said.
Roll on next Tues then with, hopefully, an undamaged replacement. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 02:59:43 am by arobwk »

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2019, 12:50:14 pm »
There seems to be two types of membranes sold here Arobwk, one is black woven and specified to be laid under paving/ gravel and the other is grass green woven which simply sits on the surface. The latter we put down earlier this year and it has survived two heatwaves at 37C and the blistering sun which can see surface temperatures at 60C. They specify metal 'U' shaped wire pegs to hold it in place, I think because the fabric is so tightly woven it wouldn't be possible to push a plastic peg through it. We have to crawl along it (under the kiwis) to weed the adjoining veg bed, so I know it is still good.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2019, 12:23:58 am »
@chrismahon .  Thanks for thoughts Chris. My experiences/understandings in return.
Woven fabric (black or green) is normally, I believe, UV protected and might last, I believe, about 6 yrs without a mulching cover (or much longer if covered).  The particular non-woven (spunbond) stuff I bought was also supposedly UV protected and touted to last a number of years without a mulching cover (although it is really designed to be mulched over from the outset).  Mine lasted just a few weeks uncovered before it started breaking up. That equals "rubbish".
Plastic pegs or metal U pins are only any good (I reckon) if your site is reasonably protected and one uses loads of them (but then a field's worth gets v expensive).  Even so, as I know only too well, the membrane (woven or otherwise) can be ripped away from the pegs or pins in a heavy wind. 
The plastic pegs can be driven thro' the woven stuff, but don't try and extract them !!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 12:28:14 am by arobwk »

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2019, 10:15:58 am »
The steel 'U' pegs here cost €0.60 each, so they are very expensive. I couldn't find them in the shop when I bought the fleece and ended up buying some 3.4mm diameter fencing with and making my own. They are twice the size of the shop ones and cost €0.10 each, but it is a time consuming 'rainy day' job and we don't get many of those. Definitely can't get our plastic pegs through this membrane- it's just too strong.


When I cut the roll and laid it I folded the ends back under themselves 3" to stop the edges fraying in the wind. As you say we needed plenty of clips and just 12 metres of a 1.5m wide roll used 36 clips.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2019, 01:05:08 pm »
When I cut the roll and laid it I folded the ends back under themselves 3" to stop the edges fraying in the wind. As you say we needed plenty of clips and just 12 metres of a 1.5m wide roll used 36 clips.
I'm a cheapskate,  I put bricks on ours to hold it down ????


I roll our woven stuff under as well, but folded under twice and sewed along, like a hem. Seems good so far.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2019, 09:19:33 pm »
Did you have a pile of old bricks then Penninehillbilly, because they are not cheap to buy these days (I checked).  I am a real cheapskate though as I used the pile of stones picked out of the fields after ploughing.  Trouble is, after just one willow bed, the stone pile was gone. Anyway, no matter cos the rubbish membrane is coming out and I'll have plenty of stones again for the odd run of membrane.

However, while stones (or bricks) work well, they do hinder ground maintenance around the beds in my circumstance - strimmers OK, but hazard for the new mower.  (It has been confirmed that the one damaged in transit will be swapped tomorrow - fingers crossed the new new one hasn't been "bounced" also.)

For new narrow propagation beds, I was thinking to next try fixings using bamboo canes and DIY metal pins;  idea is to roll the ends of a membrane strip around bamboo canes and pin the wrapped canes to ground (at each end of the bed, obviously) - then lay & pin bare canes at intervals along the length of the membrane run.  The thought/hope is that it might perform better than just pins against very strong winds. It "sounds" like it could work and I would expect mower to ride over the edge easily enough also **
When I'm next setting up a new propagation bed, I will give it a try:  if anyone else is tempted to try before me, please do report.

** I find that the grass/weeds grow even faster around the edge of a membrane "mulch":  is it me or do others find that also ?
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 09:51:02 pm by arobwk »

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2019, 10:38:39 am »
The weed growth is definitely stronger at the edges of our membrane, perhaps because the membrane keeps the soil damp and the weeds underneath aim for the daylight?


Thinking about mowing the edges, the blades are designed to lift the grass by being propeller shape and may also lift the membrane, which could result in it getting caught up and shredded?

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow - some say it's in England !
Re: Weed membranes
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2019, 03:29:36 pm »
The replacment mower has arrived and all 4 wheels are pointing in the same direction on this one!

It's a dedicated mulcher chris' so I'm thinking/hoping the dynamics under the deck will differ from a bagging mower.  Plus I'm thinking it's highest 80mm setting will also reduce risk of snagging.  We'll see - I'll report in due course when I've replaced stones with bamboo canes on any remaining membrane.

(The deck can be moved upwards by another cm to 90mm, but they haven't punched out a hole in the adjustment plate to lock it at that cutting height for some reason.  Might see what can be done about that when out of warranty.)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 12:24:42 am by arobwk »

 

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