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Mulch with Wet Newspaper

By weeds
September 12, 2011

Use wet layers of newspapers around plants to prevent weed growth.

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Name: Mary
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fiwit
Sep 11, 2011 6:02 PM CST
Cardboard works great, too!
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Name: Carey
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careyana
Sep 11, 2011 6:15 PM CST
Wish I'd known this last summer when we redid our front yard.

Of course, it's inconsequential now as everything is dead! Glare
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Sep 11, 2011 7:11 PM CST
I tried this tip about five or six years ago. It seems like we are overrun with more and more weeds every year and it's getting harder to keep them under control. When I was completely re-doing some flower beds about six years ago I used newspaper in some and flattened cardboard boxes in another, cutting holes in the cardboard and paper to get the plants in the ground. After everything was planted I put a thick layer of mulch over everything ... looked good for @ two years and then weeds and invasive vines began taking over again. Grumbling Grumbling
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Sep 11, 2011 7:15 PM CST
I have used both cardboard and newspaper. Both have worked really well for me. I found I do have to put a pretty thick layer of newspaper for it to be effective.
Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Sep 11, 2011 7:16 PM CST
Ahh, Lin... didja ever think it might be related to being in FL? Big Grin

More seriously -- I used this trick when creating a mailbox bed and a larger bed beside my driveway back in summer 2008. The only weeds I really get in the larger bed are pine or sweetgum seedlings, and a little bit of grassy stuff creeping in from the sides. The mailbox bed gets more crabgrass, but still manageable.

Other areas I've tried it haven't been nearly as successful,but still better than weed fabric.
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Name: Susie
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Aguane
Sep 11, 2011 7:21 PM CST
We don't have weeds in Arizona... no water.

Kidding. But, really I find my weed problem very small. I just bend over and pull them if they show their nasty little heads. I wish I could train the Thrasher and Towhee birds to pulls weeds instead of my new seedlings and small plants!

Thanks for the tip, though!
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Sep 11, 2011 7:24 PM CST
fiwit said:Ahh, Lin... didja ever think it might be related to being in FL? :biggrin:.

That's exactly what I attribute it to! Although I've been in Florida going on 45 years, it seems like the weeds and bugs gets worse every year!

Whistling Or maybe it's just that I'm getting older and more tired. Big Grin

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Name: Kathy
Western MA

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boojum
Sep 11, 2011 8:49 PM CST
No comment. Too close to home!
Name: Lin
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plantladylin
Sep 11, 2011 8:50 PM CST
Smiling
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patrob
Sep 11, 2011 11:07 PM CST
I have tried layers of newspaper, but in our very hot and very windy springs and summers, the newpapers dried out quickly and blew everywhere. I love Texas, but I hate Texas weather.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Sep 12, 2011 4:10 AM CST
They recommend about 10 layers of newspapers for lasagna garden so It does have to be fairly thick for the best control. At least for me with all this Bermuda grass. Grumbling I like cardboard too if I'm putting mulch over top of it to keep it in place. Yesterday I used some of that gray foam that came as packing in a box. It's very light though so does have to be weighted down or pinned to the ground. Just experimenting to see. Big Grin
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dahlianut
Sep 12, 2011 9:10 AM CST
Whatcha gonna grow in that cute little bed weeds? I'm all ears!
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imapigeon
Sep 12, 2011 9:15 AM CST
I wet the newspaper in a wastebasket or something before I put it down, work in sections, and top it with a 1" layer of bagged commercial mulch/compost. If I'm using cardboard I hose it down immediately after laying it out and then put the bagged product on top. After I finish I wet down the whole section thoroughly. Then I usually let everything sit for a day before I plant. That way all the layers are moist and easier to punch through.


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Name: Dahlianut
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dahlianut
Sep 12, 2011 9:17 AM CST
oops sorry imapigeon. It's your cute little bed in the pic Smiling
Name: Janet
Gilroy, CA
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imapigeon
Sep 12, 2011 9:21 AM CST
That's OK----we cross-posted as I was uploading the "finished" photos----right now it has 10 tomato plants, 2 luffa gourds and some Egyptian onions. (Also daffodils to keep the gophers at bay.) Last winter I had lettuce and Swiss chard in it.
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Boopaints
Sep 12, 2011 11:34 AM CST
Great idea! Hurray!
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Name: Christine
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wildflowers
Sep 12, 2011 3:47 PM CST
I would like to try this tip. Thumbs up

Last year my dh built a cottage fence and put down some of that weed blocking fabric stuff. It was probably helpful for him while he was setting the posts and such but I told him I had read several people say the stuff doesn't work ---- And now it is confirmed! The stuff doesn't work!!! And he used the supposedly thicker, better, black fabric. That grass (you know the stuff that has runners and roots that cannot be pryed out) just poked up right through.
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Name: Janet
Gilroy, CA
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imapigeon
Sep 12, 2011 4:38 PM CST
Sounds like bermuda, the bane of my existence. It's what my neighbors planted for a lawn when our subdivision was new, and before I could turn around it had crept under the fences and taken over our whole yard. I tried everything I read and asked on forums and nothing helped. Till I tried newspaper. It brings in a lot of worm activity, which improves the soil. That helps with bermuda because it likes a leaner soil, and also when the soil is looser and aerated the bermuda's easier to pull out.

I spent about two years mulching and pulling and mulching and pulling before I was finallly able to get rid of it, but I did!!

I agree with you about that landscape fabric. It's a waste of money. But you can mulch over the top of it!!
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Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Sep 12, 2011 5:20 PM CST
Thank you Janet, that must be what it is - I despise bermuda grass!! Next spring we will be tilling again so I best start saving newspaper now!!

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Janet
Gilroy, CA
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imapigeon
Sep 12, 2011 7:01 PM CST
Oh, gosh-if you can avoid tilling bermuda, I'd recommend you don't. That may not be possible for you, but I used my little tiller, and it just spread the darn stuff all over the place. Whenever one of those long strands gets chopped up, it roots and starts a whole new colony. I'm a rabid organic gardener, and I won't compost the stuff because it's so hard to get a pile hot enough to kill it. I have been known to burn it with a Weed-Dragon, however----either in the pouring rain, or with a good firewatch person standing by.....but that's just to knock down the surface growth. The roots and stolons will be 6-8" deep, and unaffected by the flames.

Remember the Disney Sorcerer's Apprentice when Mickey chopped up the brooms and every splinter turned into a new broom? That's what I always think of when it comes to tilling bermuda....LOL!

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