Friday, March 21, 2014

Good Idea Friday - Paper Weed Blocker

Newspaper Weed Barrier : Rosemary On The Tv 

A fan posted a question on our facebook, asking if this was a legit pin or not. Now I know some of you are probably still facing down piles of snow, but here in the Pac NW spring has finally showed up, so it's not too early to start thinking about gardening.

Well start saving those old newspapers and cardboard boxes, because it does work really well. If you're looking for one of the best ways to prevent weeds from popping up in your flower beds or gardens, look no further. 

Now what about professional weed blocking sheets you ask? They have their pros and cons - if you don't plan to do a lot of planting or plant perennials in that spot, then a commercial non-biodegradable sheet will work just fine. The con is of course that they don't break down fully, so if you want to gut your flower beds or move plants around, it becomes a huge hassle. They also aren't foolproof, and can fail over time which means you have to rip them out and redo it. 

With things like newspaper or cardboard however, it does break down over time, and is generally great for the soil - think of it as compost that helps fight weeds. It can also help maintain a damp soil, since the paper or cardboard will absorb the water and stay moist longer.

If you're interested in reading more about using newspaper or cardboard as a natural barrier, the forums over at Organic Gardening have a lot of comments and suggestions on it. The orginal pin just went to one of the ever so common relinking websites that had little information on the actual image or idea, but I was able to hunt down the blog where the image originated from - Image credit goes to Rosemary On The Tv's blog post about this - creatively titled Manscaping (which gave me a good laugh) You can read her posts about it here


  1. Yes, this works perfectly except it makes planting a bit more difficult. I am a gardener and have use this way of building new gardens time and time again without fail. I have used both newspaper and cardboard, both work equally well. Just don't use coloured flyers etc as the dyes used in the paper will bleed into your soil.

  2. I love this website! Some thoughts about paper and cardboard as a weed barrier--it's probably o.k. in a wet climate but here in Los Angeles it takes forever to break down and can prevent water from reaching the soil. Better to use a very thick (8 to 12 inch) layer of wood chips. Ask an arborist to dump a load. I get it from the city which gives it away for free. The mulch breaks down over time to create soil.

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