Daily gardening tips: Use a layer of cardboard or newspaper under mulch to prevent weed growth

One of the biggest challenges gardeners face is dealing with weed growth

Daily gardening tips: Use a layer of cardboard or newspaper under mulch to prevent weed growth

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The Problem: Weeds Taking Over Your Garden

One of the biggest challenges gardeners face is dealing with weed growth. Weeds not only compete for essential nutrients and water but also hinder the growth and health of our beloved plants. Pulling or using chemicals to eliminate weeds can be time-consuming, costly, and harmful to the environment. Luckily, there is a simple and eco-friendly solution: using cardboard or newspaper under mulch to prevent weed growth effectively.

The Solution: Layer Up!

By adding a layer of cardboard or newspaper below your mulch, you can form a weed-blocking barrier that inhibits weed growth, making your gardening experience more enjoyable and less labor-intensive. This method is a great alternative to synthetic weed killers or constant manual weeding. Let's take a closer look at why and how it works.

Benefits of Using Cardboard or Newspaper

There are several advantages to using cardboard or newspaper in your garden:

1. Weed Suppression:

The primary benefit is that cardboard or newspaper obstruct the sunlight, preventing weed seeds from germinating and growing. This method effectively suppresses the growth and spread of weeds in your garden.

2. Organic and Eco-Friendly:

Cardboard and newspaper are natural and biodegradable materials, making them a safe and environmentally friendly option for weed control. Unlike synthetic chemicals, these materials do not introduce harmful substances into the soil or water systems.

3. Moisture Retention:

Both cardboard and newspaper act as mulching agents, helping to retain moisture in the soil. The layer holds water in place, reducing the need for frequent watering and conserving water resources.

4. Soil Improvement:

Over time, the cardboard or newspaper layer decomposes and breaks down, enriching the soil with organic matter. This decomposition process enhances soil health, structure, and fertility, promoting better plant growth.

5. Cost-Effective:

Compared to other weed control methods, such as synthetic herbicides, using cardboard or newspaper is incredibly cost-effective. In fact, you may already have these materials on hand, making them an affordable choice for any gardener.

Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you understand the benefits, here's a step-by-step guide to applying cardboard or newspaper in your garden:

1. Gather Materials:

Collect enough cardboard or newspaper to cover the desired area. Remove any glossy or colored sections of the newspaper, as they may contain chemicals that could be harmful to your plants.

2. Prepare the Soil:

Remove any existing weeds or grass from the area and ensure the soil is well-prepared for planting.

3. Wet the Area:

Lightly dampen the soil to help the cardboard or newspaper form a tight bond, making it harder for weeds to penetrate.

4. Lay the Cardboard or Newspaper:

Place a single layer of cardboard or several layers of newspaper directly on the soil, ensuring there are no gaps or overlapping edges. Consider doubling the layer for extra weed control, especially for persistent weeds.

5. Add Mulch:

Immediately cover the cardboard or newspaper layer with a suitable mulching material, such as wood chips, straw, or compost. Apply a layer of approximately 2-4 inches for optimal weed suppression and moisture retention.

6. Water and Maintain:

Water the mulch thoroughly after installation. Ensure the mulch remains adequately thick to prevent sunlight from reaching the weeds and monitor the area periodically to ensure the integrity of the weed-blocking layer.

7. Planting:

To create planting areas, simply cut through the cardboard or newspaper layer and dig a hole for your plants. The decomposing layer will continue enriching the soil as your garden develops.


By using cardboard or newspaper as a natural weed barrier in your garden, you can effectively suppress weed growth, save time, and avoid the use of synthetic herbicides. This simple and eco-friendly solution provides numerous benefits, including improved soil health, cost-effectiveness, and moisture retention. Give it a try and enjoy a weed-free and flourishing garden!

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