Review: Woven Weed Mats for Mulching Tomatoes

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Weed mats are sheets of material that are placed in a garden as a weed barrier.

They are made of variety of products which each have differing advantages. Woven mats (especially professional-grade) are long-lasting, durable, and re-usable. Biodegradable mats are completely “green” and can be tilled into the soil at the end of the growing season.

A significant advantage of mats (over other types of weed barriers) is that they let in air, water, and nutrients into the soil.

Woven mats for mulching tomatoes

Made of woven polypropylene, these mats can create a semi-permanent walkway in the garden or significant weed barrier and –

  • work great in vegetable gardens, especially in between rows as “runways”
  • can be fit around tomato plants by cutting slits
  • provide excellent weed control
  • allow you to refrain from spraying for weeds
  • let in air, water, and nutrients
  • help retain soil moisture
  • control temperature fluctuations in the soil
  • are sturdy – you can walk on it, roll a wheelbarrow, or drag a container across it
  • are durable and resilient in the elements
  • last year after year

Professional-grade woven mats also provide excellent erosion protection on hillside gardens.

For best results …

Pro-Weed Mat, a woven weed barrier with Tomato Dirt
  • Choose a professional-grade woven mat (one of the best is the Pro Weed Mat from Gardener's Supply)
  • Secure cut ends with duct tape (or other water-resistant bonding agent) to prevent fraying
  • Keep mat surface free of dirt to prevent weeds from growing on top
  • Roll up and store at the end of the season

When it comes to woven mats, be aware of this

  • Mats can blow away if not anchored. Secure mats with anchors (such as earth staples, pavers, rocks, bricks, rebar, logs, chicken wire).
  • Products are available in varying degrees of strength. Lower quality mats tear more readily than sturdier ones. A professional-grade mat is a reasonably-priced product for its durability.

(Check out woven weed mats from Gardener's Supply and from other vendors for comparison.)

Mats compared to black plastic mulch

  • Mats let water and air through, where plastic mulch does not
  • Woven mats are sturdier than black plastic
  • Both mats and plastic mulch keep the weeds down
  • Both mats and plastic mulch heat up the soil

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