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I put down weed barrier, then a layer of enough gravel to hide the weed barrier. The weeds are growing through anyway.

I am hesitant to apply week killer, as we may want to change the land use to agriculture in the future.

The weed barrier advertises it as "allowing the soil to breathe". Is that really important? Can I just put a heavy plastic liner down with no holes on the entire lawn?

What is the solution to stop weeds from growing through weed barrier without using weed killer?

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The breathable feature is also to allow water to drain through, The weed is starting to germinate in the gravel and extending the root through the drain hole. If the area is small and you don't have a drainage issue, just use plain black plastic. Also the gravel level should not be that deep that's it capturing dirt which is allowing the weed seeds to germinate.

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  • The area is about 150 ft by 150 ft. Is that too big for black plastic?
    – Village
    Sep 6 '20 at 16:01
  • @Village that's a pretty big area to block water drainage, but it might be okay depending on your climate and how much of your land will continue to let water drain.
    – Kat
    Sep 6 '20 at 18:49
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I do not recommend you use plastic of any sort, especially not black plastic, unless you are intending to deprive the soil and the essential microorganisms that keep it fertile and healthy within it of light, air and moisture, particularly as you presumably want fertile, healthy soil if you decide to turn it over to agricultural use. The only time to use black plastic is when you are not able to work the land for a while, nothing you want is growing in it and you want to kill off the roots of pernicious weeds or simply prevent growth of any kind, so if that's what you want to do, then by all means use black plastic.

Just pull up what weeds there are to check whether they have grown in the gravel on top - this does not usually occur for 2 or 3 years after the gravel has been spread. You don't say what weeds are growing, but there are some weeds which will happily punch through tarmac and concrete to grow, so weed barrier would not be effective for that type of weed. What type of weedkiller you can relatively safely use would depend on which weeds are growing.

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Spot treat weeds with glyphosate every two or three weeks. Glyphosate has no residual effect on the soil so won't prevent you growing whatever you like in the future.

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