Cheap and easy way to keep orchard weeds in check

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Two years ago I watched the amazing back to eden documentary. The authors discussed the benefits of wood chips and how they enhance the soil. The results in the video were amazing so I decided to implement something similar in our orchard. Prior to starting our orchard was filled with a mixture of weeds, clover and various types of grass. If I just put down wood chips everything would just grow right back through and I would have a massive mess. So I needed to come up with a way to snuff them out and prevent seeds from germinating the following year.

I was discussing this with one of my co-workers at lunch and he said he had amazing luck using old cotton bed sheets. They are permeable and natural so I decided to give is a try. We asked our friends and neighbors for old sheets and cleaned out a bunch of unused sheets we had been squirreling away in our linen closet. I also spend about $20 on old sheets at the salvation army. After collecting enough sheets I set out on Saturday morning to lay 2 layers of sheets everywhere I saw green stuff growing. Here is a picture taken halfway through this project:


The sheets were then covered with roughly 10 cubic yards of wood chips from a local tree service to keep them in place. To keep our turf grass separated from the orchard we installed a stone edge between the grass and the newly mulched orchard. The results so far have been fantastic! The stone edging looks awesome and very few weeds have grown back. Most of the sheets have now been devoured by worms so the wood chips can now start to break down naturally. Now to reap the benefits!