Landscape fabric around low blueberry bushes?

Hello all

I have a bunch of mature blueberry bushes (SHB and SE) in pots I need to move up to a garden. The growth habit of these varieties is low to the ground, so they get badly tangled up in weeds and the berries get half ruined by slugs etc, which grow very vigorously here during the wet hot summer. It’s the reason I move them out of the garden in the first place. My straight growing varieties such as Tiffblue, are so high they have little problem with this, even when I can’t get to weeding.

I was going to put down landscape fabric as a last resort, but I understand this comes with challenges of its own. I don’t have access to mulch, and even if I did, I don’t think this would stop a lot of the problems.

Cardboard covered in dirt might work, but it will screw up my landscaping levels and I have to keep adding dirt over time.

Fertilizing will also be difficult with all these options.

As a side, I also have a trailing thornless blackberry bush which suffers from the same problems.

Any ideas? Thanks

8" wood chips, that’s what’s under mine.


Like chikin, I was just going to say a good mulch. That’s my number one option.

Before I used landscape fabric, I would do something like use those heavy yard waste garbage bags. Put them down in an area where you don’t want weeds. You can use those little landscape pins to keep them down. Then cover with a bit of soil/ mulch, just enough to hide the bags. You don’t want to put them on top of the bushes, since they’re impermeable, but it creates a good weed free buffer zone between the grass and the plants. Plus, unlike landscape fabric, they’re a snap to remove.

I don’t think tou don’t want to use plastic for perennials- at least where temps get cold. The root systems have to form right at the soils surface to achieve adequate oxygen and plants can be killed during extreme cold.

I’ve used heavy spun landscape fabric for years in my blueberry plot which I keep covered with arborist wood chips or shredded wood mulch made of them. Poison ivy and bindweed are still a problem but it does help a great deal. Just be sure to scrape off rotting chips from the fabric at least every 2 years and replace with fresh ones. As organic mulch rots it becomes a perfect nursery for weeds.


I defer to you on the plastic bags. I never had a problem with them, provided I kept them a bit away from the plants and covered with some soil. But I do live in the Deep South so the freeze/thaw thing was never really a problem for me because I can’t recall the last time our ground really froze. I didn’t think of the freeze/thaw thing which is a big issue for a lot of other people.

I’m not basing this on actual experience, just what I was taught in hort-school and my sense of logic. Plastic does interfere with gas exchange and I would think it would be harmful as a ground cover even in the south if soil was at all heavy. You want to let the oxygen in and the poisonous carbon dioxide out.

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Like I said, I defer to you. I’ve never had an issue with it, but our soil is a sandy loam (not the usual Georgia clay.)

I only offered the advice because it worked for me, but now you mention it, that may have just been a product of my specific circumstances. And maybe the plants would have done even better without it. Regardless, I would hate for my advice to kill anyone’s plants unintentionally now that you bring that possibility up.

So it worked for me, but it might kill or stunt someone else’s plants, so best not to do it unless you’re in a gambling mood, lol. It does stop weeds though! :wink:

Of course. I respect your actual experience. 2 heads or better than one, and when working together so are 2,000. Your comment is useful and I’m only speaking from theory. There are limitations to both in drawing conclusions- factor in as much as you can.

Cardboard around my blueberries didn’t work well for me. Even though I punched holes all in it, the rain didn’t soak in well and areas beneath the cardboard were bone dry (in humid wet Alabama mind you). Maybe I had it too thick. Instead I use regular hay and mulch thinly. As the year goes on I pull weeds from it and the surrounding areas to add to the hay layer. It doesn’t look neat but it works. But my rabbiteyes grow tall so your mileage may vary. Good luck with it.

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I have watched a number of videos made by these Fukuberry people and it looks like they use a fair amount of fabric.
Most of their plants shown are mature,but this video does show them planting a few new ones.
Some of the covering seems very porous,almost like shade cloth. Brady

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I use mulch . . . but as it decays, the weed seeds germinate, anyway. And it harbors mold - not to mention some pretty healthy termites! I am getting tired of replacing it. :grimacing:
The ‘U-pick’ blueberry places around here plant theirs in mounded rows - with black fabric landscape fabric as a deterrent to weeds.
What about wetted-down newspapers? (remember those?) I know they don’t look great . . . but I’ll bet they do a good job of keeping down the weeds.

The newspapers will dry out and blow around. They also decay quickly and the weeds come back. I have used newspapers under three or four inches of wood mulch, which is good for about a season.

The guy in that video seems to have the fabric kind a loose, which must make maintenance a lot easier.
The area I’ll plant them in is quite damp, and Imagine stacking wood chips might turn into a disaster with nasty bugs and mildew etc. as I mentioned, weeds grow usually aggressive in the summer here. I can see them maybe enjoying the mulch.

Does anyone know why he buried all those blyberries in the ground.


My guess is,he wanted the juice only and either was using them as an amendment or possibly hoping for seedlings to pop up.Probably for soil enrichment. Brady

Eight inches of wood chips?!?!?!?!?! Jeeeeez Louise! That’s some deep mulch! But, I’ll bet you never see a weed! :upside_down_face:

Quack grass, but it pulls easy in that mulch.

The trick is often to make a raised bed that is slightly concaved to collect water. Woven fabric also creates water run-off and in my unirrigated veg garden this is how I construct my mounds. On many of the mounds I use woven fabric and the water ends up concentrating where I’ve sliced holes for the vegies, which is a win-win.

If the water doesn’t run off, the cardboard will absorb it and pass any beyond saturation to the ground below.


If we are talking annual weeds a pre-emergent could be tried. I mound my blueberries high in raised beds. The organic matter slowly drops them down as it decomposes. Here in the states I have access to anything, I use pine bark as mulch. On this new planting I first put down shredded oak leaves to feed them a bit, and block weeds, then cover with pine bark chips. Not too thick of leaves, just a coating that will breakdown quickly. I just put two first year plants in the ground, they were in containers.I will remove mulch from base once it settles down, it was just done a couple days ago.


I’m not sure any of these options Will really work in the situation. I think the main factor is weeds for about half the year grow like something most people probably have never experienced. Assuming weed cloth will work without other problems, any gaps will explode with weeds and vines that will tangle up the bushes. Even more of a problem, I noticed most of my blueberry bushes grow very low to the ground and spread out, and they have several trunks that grow out of the ground in different locations. The overall effect will be a thicket with a large surface area on the ground I can’t cover properly. Weeding by hand will be really difficult. Trying to dump several inches of wood chips or something, in this wet location, I can just sense it’s going to cause other problems, like an explosion of bugs or rotting or fungus or something.
Is there a way around this, or do people in areas with vigorous weeds just give up on growing any kind of low -lying orchard or bushes?