Daily gardening tips: Use cardboard or newspaper under mulch to suppress weeds

Gardening enthusiasts often face the challenge of dealing with weeds that compete with the plants they are trying to grow

Daily gardening tips: Use cardboard or newspaper under mulch to suppress weeds

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Gardening enthusiasts often face the challenge of dealing with weeds that compete with the plants they are trying to grow. Weeds can hinder the growth and development of our desired plants by stealing nutrients, water, and sunlight. However, there are several methods to control weeds without relying solely on harmful chemicals. One effective and eco-friendly technique is using cardboard or newspaper under mulch to suppress weeds. This method not only keeps your garden neat and attractive, but it also encourages healthier plant growth. In this article, we will explore the benefits of this technique and provide a step-by-step guide on how to implement it in your own garden.

Benefits of Using Cardboard or Newspaper Under Mulch

Suppressing weeds with the help of cardboard or newspaper offers numerous advantages:

  • Environmentally friendly: Unlike synthetic weed barriers, cardboard and newspaper are biodegradable and won't harm the soil or wildlife.
  • Cost-effective: Cardboard and newspaper are inexpensive or even free materials that are often readily available.
  • Improve soil health: Over time, the cardboard or newspaper breaks down, enriching the soil with organic matter.
  • Prevent soil erosion: The mulch layer on top of the weed barrier helps retain soil moisture and prevent erosion caused by rainfall or watering.

Implementation Steps

Step 1: Gather the Materials

To get started, collect the following materials:

  • Cardboard boxes or several layers of newspaper
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Water hose or a watering can
  • Mulch of your choice (such as wood chips, straw, or compost)

Step 2: Prepare the Area

Cut and remove any existing weeds or grass from the area where you want to create your weed barrier.

Step 3: Lay Down Cardboard or Newspaper

Flatten the cardboard boxes or layer the newspaper sheets over the area. Overlapping the edges of the cardboard or newspaper helps prevent weed breakthroughs.

Step 4: Wet Down the Weed Barrier

Thoroughly wet the cardboard or newspaper using a water hose or watering can. This step helps the materials conform to the ground and prevents them from flying away in windy conditions.

Step 5: Apply Mulch

Evenly spread a layer of mulch over the weed barrier, ensuring complete coverage. Aim for a depth of around 2 to 4 inches, but avoid piling the mulch directly against the stems or trunks of your plants.

Step 6: Maintain and Monitor

Regularly inspect your garden to ensure that the weed barrier remains intact. If any weeds do manage to grow through the mulch layer, simply pull them out by hand or use a garden tool. Over time, the cardboard or newspaper will break down, allowing plant roots to penetrate the soil more deeply.


Using cardboard or newspaper under mulch is a simple and effective way to suppress weeds in your garden. This method offers several benefits, including cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and improved soil health. By following the step-by-step implementation outlined in this article, you can create a weed barrier that will not only help your plants thrive but also keep your garden looking tidy and weed-free. Give this technique a try and experience the joys of a flourishing and low-maintenance garden.

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