Weed fabric for pine row


Active Member
Quick question for you guys. Planning on doing a pine tree row or two in the spring. Looking at White Pine and Scotch Pine. If I rented a tiller, tilled up the existing plant life, and then staked this type of fabric out, would that help my chances? Figured I would stake it and also lay cedar logs perpedicular across it every 10' or so.

Then I could cut holes in it and plant the pines in the nicely broken up soil. In theory it may also help hold moisture in the soil under the fabric. Any input welcome. Want to maximize my chance for success.
I think weed fabric like that helps new trees to establish, including pines. It holds moisture like you stated, and keeps roots of other plants from competing with the trees. I use that fabric when I am planting apples, pears, chestnuts, etc....

However, the biggest two problems with white pines are (1) deer browsing them when they are small and (2) rubbing them when they get big enough to rub. When you stick them out in the open in a clean environment, it just makes those two problems worse. Small pines can be eaten to death by browsing, and when they reach chest height, they can be mauled to death by rubbing.

So what is the solution? You could cage every tree, but that would be very difficult and expensive in a large planting. Perhaps if it was just a few trees, that would be the best solution, along with using your weed fabric. There should come a time in several years when the trees are very large when you could then remove the cages - just don't do it too soon.

For large scale plantings, another option is to plant them in rows and let native vegetation grow up around them to help protect them from browsing and rubbing. You can do a little hand maintenance and even mowing the middle of the rows, but let the briers and brambles grow up around the trees to help deter deer. Does this work perfectly? No, it doesn't, but it beats trying to cage hundreds or thousands of trees. I used this method and now have many white pines that are 40 feet tall. I also lost many and replaced many along the way.

One more thing to keep in mind about white pines - they can't take a lot of moisture on the roots. Avoid planting them in places that don't drain well. Good luck.
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Okay, that pointed me in perhaps a better direction. White pines do seem to be a food favorite of deer now that I looked further. A bit of conflicting info on Scotch Pine but it appears that about 80% feel whitetails won't eat it much. Think I'll start with those and kind of see how the local deer do around them.
The state had a machine that I had to use to spread fabric in a shrub planting.I plowed a furrow on each side and the fabric laid and then two small tires and a blade pushed the dirt back over the edges of fabric.I would think serious about planting in straight rows and letting grass grow some to help protect them but then again we don't plant many pines here.
Just purchased 25 black hills spruce from Kansas Forestry. Also got 25 of the 4x4 weed mats for them. It sounds like these trees are not attractive to deer so this will be my test run on them. These will be one species for a wind break/cover line on my eastern border.
Been doing something very similar in western KS with those trees for a few years now, for those trees the need to cage is just as important as the weed fabric. If you plant a long row without caging expect to loose a small handful to deer. That brand of fabric looks like the good kind, I have had issues with some of the store bought rolls literally disintegrating after a year. I also like to use wood chips either as a weed barrier substitute or use it on top of the fabric. Get some water on them if you can and those will grow great
Boot, have you ever planted any of the Sand Hills plums? Those look like a nice cover plant for quail and pheasants. May be worth some effort as well. Since you are in western KS, any advice appreciated.
I have, however the two times I have they didn't make it, so they are my yearly project, trying to get them figured out. First time the weeds took them out, last year when I planted the KS Forest services Pheasant Bundle I didn't get enough water on them and they burned up. So I am still trying to get them figured out, because I agree with you, they seem like awesome habitat to have.
It might be worth looking into the KS Forest Services Pheasant and Quail bundle for you, they seem like a great product with all that comes with it
I believe theres a machine on govdeals.com that will lay that usually in 8 ft roll and guy on back makes slit as you drive over shrub or tree and it pops through fabric