I think that this is a product that shouldn’t be sold. It appeals to people because it seems to solve the weed problem permanently, and for a year or two it works well as long as you don’t mind looking at the acres of bare mulch – hardly an improvement over weeds – that it takes to hide the fabric. But think about it: this fabric prevents anything other than water from getting into the soil, which means no organic matter will be amending the soil from the top down. This organic matter is what keeps the soil a living, thriving community and this is what keeps plants healthy and strong. Landscape fabric creates starving soil.
AND IT DOESN’T EVEN KEEP WEEDS AWAY FOR LONG! No. As the mulch decomposes on top of the fabric the weed seeds are happy to sprout on top of the mulch and send their roots through the fabric and into the soil. In fact, the fabric keeps things kind of moist down there and this keeps the weeds happy as they grow on top of your weed prevention. When you pull those weeds out, the fabric rips and often comes partially out. This is even uglier than the acres of bare mulch.
Furthermore, the plants that you’ve surrounded with this barrier won’t be too happy when you decide you have to take the fabric out. They’ve been sending fine roots up into the fabric as they try to get closer to the surface of the soil, which is where the action is after all. When the fabric is pulled up, invariably the roots are pulled up too, damaging the plant.
Beware of life’s quick fixes.