Q&A: Black Plastic Weed Control

Question: I installed a trickle-irrigation system in the vegetable garden last year and am very pleased with the results.  Should I lay down black plastic over the systems this year for weed control?

Answer: Yes.  Black plastic over the trickle line emitters not only controls weed growth but also increases watering efficiency and the life of the polyethylene tubes by protecting them from sunlight.  However, when covering the entire garden area with black plastic, be certain to situate the emitters eight inches from the center of the row; otherwise the tubes may be in the way when you set your plants into the plastic.

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