tree mats


Active Member
When buying tree mats, are they all pretty much the same? Or should I be looking for a specific mat that will allow water through and keep weeds down?

A quick google search last night yielded about a million different kinds.
Do you water your trees? Or do they get enough water even with a plastic sheet over the roots. Sounds like a winner if you don't need to water.
I guess every area of the country has it's advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of my "neck of the woods" is adequate rainfall. I've planted over 4000 trees with 80% to 90% survival and never watered. Weed competition is my biggest challenge, so tree mats are important. The solid plastic actually helps retain moisture around the tree while keeping vegetation at bay. I've also planted many without tree mats. They generally survive, but struggle more than the others until they get above the golden rod.
That was a 2-0 bare root seedling transplanted in 2009. The picture was taken in 2016, so at the time it was about 9 years old. Granted, I posed with this tree because it was one of my tallest at about 14'-15'. Most of the others you see in the background were planted the same day and were about 9'-10'.
Weed mats are extremely important to tree growth and survival. Weed mats can be made from any ground cover, unless a tree has low anaerobic tolerance. Trees with low anaerobic tolerance will be smothered and die in black plastic. Black Plastic works well for some trees, though, and is both a weed mat and a moisture barrier.

I have gone to Lumite for all my Weed Mats now. My source is here.

Here I am making weed mats.

A heat gun is used to seal the edges, so the mat can't unravel.

Each green line is sealed and the mat is cut from the roll.

A completed weed mat.
I really like the dimensions ^^^^^^

Is that 6' x6'?

I have been using 4x4 and usually end up spraying gly on encroaching weeds

I really like the dimensions ^^^^^^

Is that 6' x6'?

I have been using 4x4 and usually end up spraying gly on encroaching weeds

That is about 6' x 6', which is still not enough in bad weeds. I leave the mats down for years, why would I remove it?

Water is always evaporating from deep in the Earth, and that's usually enough moisture to ensure tree survival. Better To plant 10 trees in Lumite and have 90% survive, than plant 100 trees without Lumite and have them all die. A tree planted in Lumite will grow many times faster, so I have placed Lumite around established trees.

Here I placed a bag of cow manure and a weed mat around established apple trees.


This is a grafted tree in drought conditions. When watering though Lumite, the soil will remain moist for weeks without rain. Lumite is how I have been able to grow trees during a 7 year drought!