A silage tarp is a fancy term used for a ground cover that is left in place for 3 weeks or longer to kill any weeds and the weed seeds under it. Basically this is how it works: The tarp creates an excellent micro climate for seed germination. When the new weeds sprout they face a growing environment with no light and quickly die. Worms and other beneficial organisms help with decomposition of the organic material and actually loosen the soil.As long as you don’t disrupt the soil in theory it works very well. The one we have is about 24 feet wide and 105 feet long purchased from a local company here in Tennessee. These were made popular by Jean-Martin Fortier in his book The Market Gardener and have caught on for various agriculture enterprises. The pictures below are from the application process.
Setup is easy, just unroll and unfold. I suggest doing this on a mild weather day with low wind.
Unfold the tarp
After the tarp is completely unfolded and put in place, it is suggested that you weigh down the edges to prevent them blowing in the wind. We used 50 sandbags and have not had any problems even during tornado season (pictured below). The sandbags were purchased from the same company we got the tarp. If you would like the details please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For future reference, grandchildren are good at moving and placing sandbags
Make sure your sandbags are in place and secure; the tarp should be left in place for about 3 weeks in the spring and summer and as long as 6 weeks in the winter.
Using silage tarps provide a low cost method of keeping weeds at bay throughout the entire year. Until next time see you down at the barn