The idea of using cardboard and newspaper as mulch may seem odd to many people. Most often in the landscape mulch is a layer of landscape fabric with a more attractive mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark on top. Well I have found cardboard and newspaper to be just as effective a weed barrier as landscape fabric over the years. I'm going to tell you how to use them and about one big disadvantage I have found with most landscape fabric.
Using cardboard and newspaper as mulch.
1. Cardboard. Cardboard is easy to use as a weed barrier. Just lay it down on the dirt you want covered and then cover the cardboard with an attractive mulch to hide it and keep it from blowing away in the wind.
2. Newspaper. I prefer newspaper over cardboard since it's a little easier to work with. Make a layer about 5-10 sheets thick on the dirt you want covered, if it's windy you can wet the newspaper down so it won't blow away, then cover it with a more attractive mulch.
Newspaper is also very easy to put around existing plants, just tear it to make a hole that's the size you need and it's ready to go.
One quick note, don't use the glossy ads in newspapers, use the newsprint.
3. Planting through cardboard and newspaper. You're going to have to cut or tear a hole in the cardboard or newspaper to be able to make a hole for your plant.
4. The disadvantage with landscape fabric. Now I should admit it's been over ten years since I have used landscape fabric, the problem I had with it was after a year or two it would break down and I would have pieces of plastic everywhere.
Sure the cardboard and newspaper also break down, but they just turn into dirt, not little pieces of trash to blow all over the yard.
Those are the reasons that I use mainly newspaper and some cardboard as a weed barrier in my yard. If you give it try I think you'll like it.
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