Daily gardening tips: Use a layer of newspapers or cardboard to smother weeds before planting

Gardening can be a fulfilling hobby, but it often comes with its fair share of challenges

Daily gardening tips: Use a layer of newspapers or cardboard to smother weeds before planting

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Gardening can be a fulfilling hobby, but it often comes with its fair share of challenges. Weeding is a time-consuming task that can leave any gardener frustrated. Thankfully, there is a simple and effective solution that can save you hours of weeding time – using a layer of newspapers or cardboard to smother weeds before planting. This method creates a barrier that blocks sunlight, preventing weeds from sprouting and taking over your garden. Read on to discover how to use this technique and enjoy a weed-free gardening experience!

Materials Needed

Before we dive into the process, let's gather all the essential materials:

  • Newspapers
  • Cardboard boxes or sheets
  • Garden shears or utility knife
  • Garden mulch (optional)

The Process

Follow these simple steps to use newspapers or cardboard to smother weeds:

  1. Clean the area: Start by clearing the garden bed of any existing weeds or grass. Use a garden hoe or hand tools to remove them, ensuring the area is debris-free.
  2. Prepare the newspapers or cardboard: If using newspapers, collect a thick stack (about 10-15 sheets) and remove glossy pages or colored inks. If using cardboard, break down boxes or cut sheets to the required size.
  3. Soak the newspapers or cardboard: Before laying them down, dampen the newspapers or cardboard thoroughly. This makes them more pliable, allowing better coverage and making it harder for weeds to penetrate through.
  4. Lay down the layer: Place the damp newspapers or cardboard directly on top of the cleared garden bed, overlapping the edges by a few inches. Ensure the entire area is covered, leaving no gaps where weeds might emerge.
  5. Add mulch (optional): If desired, you can further enhance the effectiveness of the weed barrier by adding a layer of garden mulch on top of the newspapers or cardboard. This helps to weigh them down and improve aesthetics.
  6. Plant as usual: Once the newspaper or cardboard layer is in place, you can dig holes or cut slits through them to plant your desired plants, seeds, or seedlings. Proceed with your regular planting routine, but be careful not to disturb the barrier.
  7. Monitor and maintain: Keep an eye on your garden bed and water your plants regularly. Over time, the newspaper or cardboard will break down, enriching the soil below. If weeds manage to push through, gently pull them out by hand.

Benefits of Using Newspapers or Cardboard

This gardening technique offers several advantages:

  • Weed suppression: The layer of newspapers or cardboard blocks sunlight, preventing weed growth and reducing the need for constant weeding.
  • Soil improvement: As the newspapers or cardboard decompose, they add organic matter to the soil, enhancing its structure and fertility.
  • Cost-effective: Newspapers and cardboard are readily available at little to no cost, making this method an inexpensive weed control solution.
  • Eco-friendly: Recycling newspapers or cardboard in your garden helps reduce waste and promotes sustainable gardening practices.
  • Time-saving: By using this technique, you'll spend less time weeding, allowing you to focus on other important gardening tasks.


Using a layer of newspapers or cardboard to smother weeds is a fantastic gardening tip that can save you time, energy, and frustration. By following the simple steps outlined above, you can create an effective weed barrier while improving your soil's health. Embrace this environmentally friendly solution and enjoy a thriving, low-maintenance garden!

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