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A Guide to Winning the Battle Against Garden Weeds

A Guide to Winning the Battle Against Garden Weeds
Weed Wars: Get rid of weeds and stop them from spreading

As gardeners, keeping on top of weeds seems like a never-ending task. They’re easy to remove when there are only a few, but once they spread, weeds not only distract from the natural beauty you’re trying to create, they also quickly overwhelm and suffocate the main plants in your garden.

A good strategy against weeds isn’t just about how to remove them. That’s just step one, and we’ll look at various ways to do that, but the long-lasting ‘step 2’ is to prevent weeds from coming back altogether. The best way to do that is by installing and protecting your garden with an engineered WeedMat designed for the environmental conditions you have.

Step 1: Getting rid of weeds

Parsley growing in gardenstax

A weed is any plant growing where it’s not wanted. Often invasive and difficult to control, weeds compete with all the main plants in your garden for light, moisture, and nutrients. They attract insects, reduce airflow around plants and act as hosts for disease. In general, weeds make your garden unhealthy. The best time to get rid of them is when they’re small, or even better, prevent them from growing at all. Depending on the type of weed you want to remove, there are a range of herbicides and weed killers to choose from, though some will require completely removing by hand.

Being able to recognise New Zealand’s common garden weeds can help us understand how to manage and prevent them from spreading. There are different types of weeds to be aware of. Annual weeds grow and set seed in as little as a month in summer. They only last one season, but they leave seeds that will grow the following year. Prevent this by removing them before they develop seed heads and they won’t come back. Perennial or deep-rooted weeds spread invasively through their roots and will return year after year unless fully removed. Even the smallest piece of root can lead to them returning. Lawn weeds need a selective weed killer otherwise it can kill the grass around it.

If you’d prefer to avoid chemical use altogether, there are natural methods to get rid of weeds. You can:

  • Pull them out by hand.
  • Use a hoe or other garden tool to dig them up.
  • Smother them with mulch. Mulch suppresses weed growth while retaining soil moisture to keep roots cool and moist over the hot summer months.
  • Pour boiling water over weeds to burn them. This is great for weeds growing in the cracks of paving and garden paths. The water will cool as it runs off, so it won’t hurt any plants you want to keep.
  • Crowding – Weeds can’t take hold in your garden if there’s no space for them. You can plant ground covers and perennial plants in ornamental beds to cover and shade the soil, or in vegetable gardens, try either the square-foot gardening method or wide-row planting method so that neighbouring plant leaves just touch each other at maturity.
  • Mow them down. This will take off the main leaves but won’t kill the root system.
Step 2: With the weeds dead and gone, it’s time for WeedMat


Removing the weeds is only the first part of the problem. Luckily, it’s also the most difficult. With the hard work done, now’s the time to lay WeedMat around your garden and cover it with bark or mulch. WeedMat uses a number of combined methods to prevent weeds from growing back and is a vital step in keeping your garden healthy without constantly maintaining it all year round.

In general, WeedMat creates a protective layer between the soil and the surface material, preventing weeds from growing through. WeedMat limits the amount of sunlight passing through, starving any weeds of light, but it also allows varying amounts of water to pass through, maintaining healthy plant roots for your main garden to grow. During extreme weather, WeedMat also acts as an added protective layer for soil erosion and scouring, as well as moderating the amount of water entering the soil, so root systems won’t ‘drown’ in oversaturated conditions. Some are even designed to stop moisture from evaporating from the soil, which is great in arid conditions.

Before you install WeedMat, it’s a good idea to understand what your garden needs as far as water retention and protection. You may have certain trees or plants that thrive in different soil conditions, so you can mix’n’match different WeedMat types across your garden to suit if required.

Here’s a guide to the different WeedMat solutions to match your soil types and planting conditions. Our WeedMat options are all tear resistant and should be secured using 130mm or 230mm Strol galvanised steel, flat head WeedMat pins.

Your guide to choosing the right WeedMat



SmartMat Landscape fabric is a general-purpose black landscape geotextile that not only minimises weeds, but it also helps stabilise ground and prevent potholes and rutting under new paths or driveways by creating soil separation. This nonwoven, needle punched geotextile lets water and essential nutrients permeate through the fabric, which improves drainage without soil degradation while simultaneously deterring weed growth.

Ideal Use: A good, general-purpose WeedMat, but is also excellent under decks to prevent weeds from growing through the cracks.


If you have thirsty plants and trees that require high water absorption, SmartMat Enviro’s hydrophilic treated fabric allows water to flow through faster than standard weed mats. The nonwoven weed control mat also allows more air to flow over your soil, promoting healthier conditions for subsoil animals and nutrient retention. SmartMat Enviro effectively allows highly water-reliant plants and soils to breathe and feed while inhibiting weed growth. SmartMat Enviro needs to be covered.

Ideal Use: For gardens in usually wet areas where plants are used to receiving a lot of water.


For dry garden areas that are exposed to wind and sun, Strol SmartMat Premium WeedMat has a unique fibre layer that absorbs and retains moisture. This unique weed barrier fabric slowly releases moisture into the ground, keeping your plants and soil in healthier condition. Its fibre backing also traps moisture in the ground, preventing evaporation. Retained water is fed into your garden in a more regulated way, promoting healthier soil and plant growth.

Ideal Use: Use in dry areas that don’t get a lot of rain, or in sheltered areas so the soil can retain as much moisture as possible for plants that are used to receiving a lot of water.


Landscape Pro 120 is a tough, hard-wearing and long-lasting solution to preventing weeds from growing in your garden. It has strong tensile strength, meaning it can take the punishment of being used under heavy, sharp stones. Landscape Pro’s heavy-duty 120gsm fabric creates a better, stronger, more durable product that is highly permeable, meaning it allows water to seep through faster, so your soil won’t sour.

Ideal Use: Industrial or commercial gardens. Any garden that incorporates stones or rocks.


To prevent weeds from growing around plants and trees that thrive in high rainfall, WeedStop High Absorption’s hydrophilic treatment allows a greater volume of water to pass through while still being an effective weed control mat. Whether it’s a tropical garden, a planted wetland park, or it just simply rains a lot where you live, WeedStop High Absorption WeedMat will maintain healthy growth in your plants. The root systems won’t get oversaturated, as WeedStop High Absorption regulates the flow of water.

Ideal Use: For gardens planted in areas of high rainfall or for plants used to a higher water content. 


WeedStop High Water Retention landscape fabric is a hydrophobic weed control mat with a fibre backing that helps trap water within the weed mat and prevents evaporation. It acts as a biodome, maintaining a higher moisture level in areas that don’t get a lot of rain. With the nonwoven fibre side facing the ground, the upper layer allows water through, while the fibre layer traps any moisture trying to escape. This helps prevent soil from becoming too dry.

Ideal Use: For dry gardens that fail to retain enough moisture, or within planter boxes to maintain a healthy garden even through the dry, summer months.

Creating a stress-free garden

Seedling in garden

Remove weeds and prevent them from coming back with Strol WeedMat. Our easy-to-install WeedMat options work for you, every day, all year round. With a bit of research on what your garden needs, you can create a stress-free garden environment. And with the weeds taken care of, you can now get back to enjoying your outdoor area without it becoming a chore.