En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Friday - January 05, 2007

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Use of newspaper mulch in garden
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Before constructing a raised garden, I would like to lay newspapers at the initial ground level, then add about 12 to 15 inches of compost on top of that. Would that hurt the plants? And will the newspaper help to keep weeds below it from sprouting?

ANSWER:

Newspapers are often used by gardeners to inhibit weed growth. In fact, some would say that the greatest value of many newspapers are as mulch, birdcage liners and fish wrappers, though we'll leave those assertions to others.

Newspaper is normally laid down on the soil surface or lightly covered with soil. Several layers work best to inhibit weeds. More troublesome weeds will require more layers of newspaper.

Placing newspapers 12 to 15 inches below the soil surface is likely to have little effect on weeds since most weed seeds sprout only when at or near the soil surface. Moreover, a thick layer of newspaper below your raised beds could have an adverse effect on drainage and soil moisture management. Here is an interesting and perhaps useful article on newspaper mulch.

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Information about growing mountain laurels (Sophora secundiflora)
November 15, 2008 - I live just outside of Austin on 10 acres. I have several very large mountain laurels on my property that I planted from containers. Mine flower profusely every year. I feed them bi-weekly and wate...
view the full question and answer

Transplant time for Virginia Beach, VA
July 08, 2009 - I have a friend who is not a gardener but lives on a piece of property that has a gorgeous back yard with lots of plants, shrubs and trees that are becoming overgrown. I have her permission to dig up...
view the full question and answer

Time to transplant an Eastern Redbud in Pearland, TX
November 17, 2010 - When is the best time in the fall to transplant an Eastern Redbud tree in Pearland, TX? We have one approximately 6 feet tall in the back yard and want to move it to the front ASAP.
view the full question and answer

Care in planting native Shumard oaks
April 16, 2008 - I am going to plant 3 shumard red oaks on the west side of my property. The land is basically rocky. What should I put in the holes to help the tree grow?
view the full question and answer

Malpighia glabra for Austin
October 14, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I am planting native Malpighia in a raised bed that was specially prepared for growing roses (soil and amendments). This bed has been left fallow for several years. Do I need t...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center