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Can You Lay Sod Over Landscape Fabric? [5 Reasons Not To]

Do not lay sod on top of soil where landscape fabric has been installed. Landscape fabric will create a barrier that prevents sod from forming deep, strong roots. Landscape fabric can also hinder the natural process of decomposition in your soil, preventing leaves and grass clippings from properly combining with soil. If you attempt to overseed your lawn in the future, new grass seedlings are likely to die when the landscape fabric stops their growth. And, if your lawn dies off, removing grass on top of landscape fabric can damage machinery.

Can you lay sod over landscape fabric?

Can Grass Grow Over Landscape Fabric?

In ideal conditions, grass can grow on top of landscape fabric that has been covered in soil, but the grass will not be resilient. Much like grass grown on top of dirt-covered concrete, hot, dry weather will kill off grass that’s growing on landscape fabric.

  • During ideal growing conditions, grass may grow well over landscape fabric.
  • When harsh weather arrives, grass growing on top of landscape fabric will die.
  • Weeds will take over areas where grass has died.

The most likely result of laying landscape fabric, adding dirt, and then trying to grow grass is that the grass will die. The area will then be overrun with fast-growing, shallow-rooted weeds.

Will Landscape Fabric Kill Grass and Weeds?

If you lay landscape fabric over existing grass and weeds, the plants beneath the landscape fabric will die. This isn’t the best way to get rid of weeds before laying sod because new grass laid on top of landscape fabric won’t be able to take root.

  • A layer of landscape fabric on top of your lawn will smother any weeds or grass beneath.
  • New grass or plants can’t grow on top of landscape fabric.
  • If you are using landscape fabric in a garden bed, cut a hole wherever you plant a new plant.

When landscaping fabric is used in vegetable gardens, it’s essential to cut a hole in the fabric wherever you plant something. This allows the plant roots to dive deep and sustain growth. Plants will simply not grow well on top of weed barrier fabric.

5 Reasons Not to Lay Sod On Top of Landscape Fabric

If you’re turning an old garden bed into a part of your lawn, it may be tempting to leave the landscape fabric that’s already present. Similarly, you may think laying landscape fabric is a great way to stop weeds from coming up through your sod. However, landscape fabric under sod is a death sentence for your new grass. Here’s why:

Hinders Root Growth

Grass roots typically grow to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm). Landscape fabric acts as a barrier that stops roots from penetrating deeply. So, if you have landscape fabric under your sod, it will fail to take root. This means your sod will remain loose, dry out, peel up, and die. Without deep roots, your grass won’t be able to gather sufficient nutrients or water from the soil in order to sustain itself.

Increases Chances of Drought Death

Deep roots help your grass survive in times of drought. As dry weather bakes the water out of the top few inches of soil, grass roots dive deeper to find moisture. Some common grass varieties, such as Perennial Ryegrass, can even develop roots as deep as 30 inches (75 cm) in order to find water during a drought. A layer of landscape fabric that inhibits root growth prevents your lawn from developing roots. So, when hot, dry weather strikes your whole lawn is likely to shrivel up and die.

Disrupts Soil Decomposition

Fallen leaves and grass clippings help improve your soil’s health. This natural waste mixes with the soil and breaks down to feed your lawn. However, a layer of landscape fabric between your sod and the deeper layers of soil discourages natural decomposition. You may deprive your lawn of natural nutrients and microbes by laying sod on top of fabric.

New Grass Seed Will Suffer

If you overseed your sod lawn in the future to encourage thicker grass, landscape fabric will cause your grass seed to fail. Grass seed that attempts to take root is very fragile. As it tries to take root in the soil, it will be thwarted by the fabric layer. Your new grass seedlings will then easily be destroyed by dry weather, washed away by rain, or torn up by foot traffic.

Makes Future Grass Removal Difficult

Because a layer of fabric will likely kill off your sod, you may have to start over with new sod. However, the landscape fabric will make starting over hard. If you try to use a sod cutter to get rid of existing grass, the landscape fabric can get tangled in the machinery and damage it. Plus, you’ll have to dig up the fabric and throw it out so your new lawn can thrive. Your best bet is to never spread landscape fabric where you intend to lay sod.

Can You Plant Sod on Top of Landscape Fabric?

Although landscape fabric is a great tool for weed control when it’s spread in a garden bed and covered with wood chips, it’s a very bad idea to lay sod on top of fabric. The reasons why this is a bad idea are:

  • It prevents sod from rooting.
  • Your new lawn is far more likely to die of drought.
  • It disrupts the decomposition of organic matter.
  • Later attempts to overseed your lawn will suffer.
  • If your grass dies, a layer of fabric will make dead grass removal more difficult.

Keep landscape fabric out of your lawn. When it’s been properly spread in a garden and covered in inches of mulch, fabric provides a great weed barrier. In your lawn, it will kill your sod and waste your investment in new grass.

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