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I planted several fruit bushes in my small orcharda couple of years ago and left the grass in place for aesthetic reasons, thinking it would look nice... But this is probably the reason they are struggling in hindsight.

I plan to lay a membrane to prevent anything growing too close to the plants and I'm wondering if it's worth the extra work to cut up the turf first, or whether it will simply die under the membrane and I might as well leave it?

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  • If the membrane blocks light sufficiently to kill grass, it will probably also block rain water. Is that going to be a problem for your fruit bushes?
    – alephzero
    Oct 6, 2020 at 0:26
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    This comment doesn't address your question, but, my opinion: DON'T USE WEED MEMBRANE. It doesn't work. It gets holes. It breaks down. Plants grow above it. Then you have a real mess on your hands, a buried impediment to normally-stress-resistant plants you like, and no problem for the Weeds on Steroids. Imagine trying to tear out the weed membrane, when it's not quite so intact as it is now. Then you might have a picture of why it's a bad idea. Someone is going to want/need to tear it out some time. Consider a biodegradable mulch instead, or an alternate cover crop.
    – InColorado
    Oct 6, 2020 at 3:12
  • @alephzero I don't think so, it's water permeable. A fairly standard product here.
    – Mr. Boy
    Oct 6, 2020 at 8:32
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    I second @InColorado's thoughts - weed membrane is probably the worst thing you can do. Manually cut the grass as short as you can (so as to not hurt the bushes), then put down a two-three inch layer of wood chips. This works fantastically for raspberries, blackberries, currants, black currants, gooseberries, and blueberries. Top off the chips every year. Not only do the chips keep the soil moist and weed-free, they also help feed the soil as they break down. See here for more info: s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/landscape-fabric.pdf
    – Jurp
    Oct 6, 2020 at 12:16

1 Answer 1

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Carefully (!) use Roundup to kill the grass and keep a one metre clear circle around each fruit bush.

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