One of the biggest problems in designed gardens that I and people I work with come across is plastic mesh buried in lawns – it is a major pain for maintenance but also awful for the planet. Unfortunately you don’t see it until a few years later when it emerges causing lots of issues.
Always ask turf and wildflower turf suppliers if they use plastic mesh netting in their turves to hold them together, turn them down if they do.
Most companies these days use a thin mesh of plastic across the entire area of thinner turf rolls to hold them together. It saves the company some money by reducing the amount of soil needed in the roll and reduces the number of broken rolls. But it passes on a whole load of problems to you, the customer.
Problems with plastic mesh in turf
- Environmental damage
- Harms wildlife that gets trapped in it.
- Increased plastic waste during a plastic waste environmental crisis.
- Degrades over time releasing micro plastics into soils (note degrade is not the same as decomposing!)
- Unlikely to ever be recycled due to dirt remaining in soil forever more in gardens or in landfill.
- Longterm cost and maintenance
- Gets caught in mowers.
- Pulled up when scarifying.
- Makes general lawn maintenance much harder.
- Makes bulb planting really difficult.
- Ends up in borders and elsewhere when lawn edges are changed in the future.
Insist on plastic mesh free turf
The solution is to only buy turf and wildflower turf from sellers that don’t use plastic mesh.
Unfortunately most use plastic mesh currently but some don’t, shop around because you will find one locally to you and it is worth the effort in the long run. I find they cost the same amount.
Another alternative is of course to start a new lawn or wildflower area from seed. Which I would personally always prefer but this does take much longer (a year) to establish and isn’t practical if you need to use the surface sooner.
For my designs I only buy lawn turf from sellers that don’t use plastic mesh. I personally don’t like buying wildflower turf – preferring to make my own mix of plants – but if I ever did I would insist it was without plastic mesh.