How to Remove Landscape Fabric: Step-by-Step-Guide

Most gardeners use landscape fabric — one of the most effective ways to stop invasive and unwanted weed growth. However, if you leave them installed for a prolonged amount of time, they can indeed cause some problems.

That being said, removing the landscape fabric after too much mulch has accumulated on the top is not easy. And it can get a lot harder if you do not know how to remove landscape fabric properly. But as you have stumbled into this article, that there will be no need to worry about that anymore.

How to Remove Landscape Fabric

Thanks to years of experience with landscape fabric, I have perfected the whole process. I now know the easiest way to remove this fabric, and I will discuss all of it in this article. So, do make sure that you read this whole thing till the end.

Should I Remove Old Landscape Fabric?

Yes, you should consider removing old landscape fabric, as doing so can be beneficial for the health and vitality of your garden or landscaping. Over time, landscape fabric can become clogged with debris, hinder water penetration, and impede root growth.

Removing old, deteriorated fabric allows for better aeration, improved drainage, and enhanced root development. It also provides an opportunity to inspect and amend the soil underneath, addressing any issues that may have arisen.

However, if the fabric is still in good condition and functioning effectively, you may choose to leave it in place. Ultimately, the decision depends on the specific circumstances of your landscape and your gardening goals.

Why Should You Remove Old Landscape Fabric?

If you do not remove the old fabric from the ground, it can cause some problems in your garden. Now the real question is, what issues am I actually talking about here, right? Well, they are as follows:


As the name suggests, the landscape fabric is of fabric. Fabrics can rot and deteriorate over time. And when the material deteriorates, it will leave holes through which the weeds can grow.

Additionally, the wrinkles and ripped bits of the landscape fabric can even make the freshly mulched bed look a bit shabby. That will ruin the overall beauty of your garden and make it look dull.

Furthermore, the debris and other materials will blow into the garden beds due to the decay of mulches. Those can form a layer of compost on top of the fabric, which will make the weed grow quickly.


When the fabric is decayed and weathered, weeds will not have any trouble in terms of growing on top of the bed. Their roots will be able to penetrate through the uppermost surface and to the soil easily.

Moreover, some of the garden fabric can be easily torn. And when the weeds penetrate through one place, the others will catch up. For that reason, most experienced gardeners recommend installing a thick fabric onto the ground.

Plastic Algae Block

Most gardeners use a plastic algae block. But the thing is, even though it is highly capable of killing the weeds below, it also kills the soil. The soil can not get enough nutrients, and the insects and beneficial worms suffocate under this block.

As you know by now, the soil needs oxygen to absorb all of the water properly. It will not even be capable of draining the water properly if there is a lack of oxygen.

The plastic algae block will usually hinder the soil from doing all of these crucial activities. There will be a lack of air pockets, which is not suitable for the ground.

How to Remove Landscape Fabric Step-by-Step Guide

We know that we have stated that removing the landscape fabric is not an easy task at all.

Removing Landscape Fabric

However, if you follow these steps correctly, the job can feel like taking a walk in the park:

Step 1: Prepare the Plants

It is certainly possible to remove the fabric by keeping the plants in their place. However, the task can get a bit hard, and there will be a high chance of you damaging the roots. For that reason, you need to first work with the plants.

First, start with the shovel to dig out the areas around the plants. Ensure that you are not causing too much damage to the roots. You will basically be making a circle around the plant with the shovel, which will free up the landscape fabric and make it easier to remove it from the other areas.

Alternatively, you can use scissors to cut out the fabric around the plant. That will ensure that the roots of the plants are not getting damaged.

Step 2: Remove the Mulch from the Fabric

If there is too much mulch on the fabric, work on removing them. Too much mulch will make the material heavier and stick to the ground, making the removal task harder than it has to be. So, get yourself a rake and pile the mulch.

Ensure that you are not piling up the mulch on the fabric. That will put too much weight on one side, which will make it hard to pull the fabric. Instead, pile them up outside the fabric area.

Step 3: Mark Out the Sections of the Garden Plot

Now that the mulch is out of the way, it would be time to plot out the sections of the garden. By doing so, you will be basically pointing out the areas where the fabric is starting from. This marking will simplify the whole process as you will have a clear idea of where to start the removal process.

Step 4: Remove the Top Layer of Soil

After marking out the sections, get yourself a garden hoe or shovel. Use that to remove the very top layer of soil. Work with layers of soil because this will make it easier for you to remove the entire uppermost dirt of the fabric. Remove the soil until you can see the fabric. In other words, till the fabric is exposed.

Then, you would need to work on the sections. Use the garden hoe or shovel to remove the soil from those sections as well. Move all of the soil away from the fabric instead of putting them on top of the fabric. That will ensure that the landscape fabric is not getting weighed down.

Step 5: Start Cutting the Fabric

Once you are done with removing the uppermost soil, opt for a scissor or a knife. You would be cutting the fabric into sections. I usually follow the quarter-sectioning method because that makes the whole removal process a piece of cake. But you can go less or more than that.

Step 6: Remove the Fabric

Now that the fabric is cut into sections, it would be time to remove them. Pull from the very end of the sections and slowly drag it out of the way. Ensure that you are not pulling hard on the fabric because that will cut off the entangled roots. Instead, follow the gentle pull method and take care of any roots entangled with the fabric.

Pull each of the sections following the same procedure and pile them up in one place. And once you are done with removing the fabrics, move on to the next step.

Step 7: Dispose of the Fabric

The last and final step would be to dispose of the fabric. After you remove the landscape from the ground, give it a good shake. That will remove any heavy soil stuck with the fabric and make the disposal process easier. When the excess dirt is taken care of, dispose of the landscape.

Read Next: Guide on landscape Fabric cost

Final Words

Although landscape fabrics can block weeds from growing, they need to be removed and replaced from time to time. As you now know the right way to remove landscape fabric properly, I hope you will not panic anymore when it is time to remove the landscape from the ground.

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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