En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Cardboard or newsprint for mulch from Cedar Park TX

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - June 09, 2012

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Planting
Title: Cardboard or newsprint for mulch from Cedar Park TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is your opinion on using cardboard and/or newspaper for mulch in flower beds or around trees?

ANSWER:

Actually, this particular member of the Smarty Plants Team has personal experience in that, in Central Texas, but not Austin. We built on a 3/4 acre lot that had been a feed lot and then sat empty for several years. So, there were lush and tough weeds all over the property. We mowed the weeds as we tried to establish a cottage garden, but the weeds were winning. The first thing we tried was just spreading newspaper over the area we wanted to control. Newspapers promptly began to blow all over the neighborhood. Then, we watered the newspaper. Wet newspapers were blowing all over the neighborhood. And the weeds were delighted with the water we had put on them.

Finally, we tried covering the newspaper with shredded hardwood mulch and then watering it, because the mulch would have blown all over the neighborhood if we had not. This helped some, but not for long. Not only did the slightest opening in the mulch/newpaper cause them both to take wings on the wind, but the weeds came up right through it. The only cardboard we had access to was from leftover packing boxes. We found them very reluctant to lie down flat and accept mulching, and water soaked through them reluctantly. We never did get a cottage garden in.

Part of the problem was that the weeds were already so well established and the area was in an exposed position, very subject to wind. However, there are others that have had better experience:

Mother Earth News The Magic of Newspaper Mulch

care2.com Newspaper Mulch: A Safe, Easy Alternative

West Virginia University Recycling Newspaper for Mulch in Home Gardens

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

My newly planted Mountain Laurel isn\'t doing well.
March 13, 2009 - My mountain laurel was planted from a container in Dec. It is in part sun, clay soil, and its leaves are turning yellow. should I move it or will that kill it?
view the full question and answer

Soil for native Chilopsis linearis and Salvia greggii
February 08, 2010 - I want to plant a desert willow and a salvia greggii in my small lot. The developer used sandy loam to fill in the small garden in the front. I am 73 and a bit impaired. Do I really need to remove ...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of Ashe juniper from Austin
March 07, 2013 - I am in western Travis County and we have been clearing our land of some of the Ashe Juniper. When there is not a burn ban, we burn them because there are just too many to shred. I was wondering if ...
view the full question and answer

Death of mature Eve's necklace in Fredericksburg, TX
July 12, 2010 - A friend mentioned his mature Eve's necklace had died this year. The next day I walked past my own mature Eve's necklace(about 5 years old)and it was dead! What could have happened? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Removing grass under oak trees in Pflugerville TX
August 30, 2009 - I would like to use the newspaper-and-mulch method to smother grass under the canopy of live oaks, a bur oak, and a lacey oak so that I can plant natives that will thrive there. However, I'm concern...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center