Bark is a wood waste product that breaks down over time and turns into humus soil….
The whole idea behind putting down a plastic or fabric ground cover is to put an implantable layer between the seed that blew in and the soil. This works great when under a non-biodegradable mulch like stone. Seeds blow in but can’t put down any roots.
When you put a plastic or fabric ground cover down, and then spread bark over it, it will work until the bark starts breaking down.
Fresh bark in the landscaping creates a dry airy situation on top, and a smothering blanket underneath. If the seed sprouts on top it writhers away in the afternoon sun. If it’s under the bark mat it smothers out. In one or two years you most likely will put down a two inch layer of bark to freshen it up. And this is where the problem starts.
The added layer presses down on the already compressed first application and that begins the rotting process; and there you have the makings of a rootable soil medium on top of your plastic or fabric, rendering this sheet of ground cover ineffective.
You are never going to have weed free landscaping with bark. It will be close to weedless, but never weedless like stone mulches. And even with stone mulches, in time, enough dust and dirt will blow in to give weeds a fighting chance.
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