Newspaper Mulch Adds to your Soil As It Degrades
Newspaper is a great product to use to control the weeds in your garden. It is beneficial in both flower and vegetable garden beds.
The newspaper adds a barrier that keeps weeds from growing. It retains moisture in the soil and adds organic material as it breaks down. The worms just love it!
There are lots of ways to use newspaper as a mulch.
- Use it in garden paths. Use several sheets and be sure to overlap the newspaper so no dirt is showing through. Water the newspaper and then cover it with a layer of mulch. You will have weed free paths all summer long.
- Want to make a garden bed but you have lawn sod there? No problem. Place the newspapers in thick layers. Overlap it and wet it and cover it with organic matter such as grass clippings, weeds (without seeds) and even vegetable scraps. The lawn will die off over a course of several months and the extra organic material will give you great soil when you get ready to plant in it.
- You can make a few holes in your newspaper and plant with plants but don’t cover seeds, since they cannot push through.
- On slopes, the mulch is more likely to slip down, so make the mulch layer over the newspaper thicker.
Please note that newspaper is nigh in carbon, so it could temporarily reduce the amount of nitrogen in the soil. This could affect new tender seedlings by making them turn a bit yellow. You can just add a spritz of organic fertilizer if this is the case.
Some people worry about the lead in newspapers. This is not really a concern now. It has been decades since most newspapers got the lead out. Also, the amount of hydrocarbons in colored ink is insignificant, so you can use glossy inserts too, although they will not break down as quickly.
Unlike landscape material which is not a natural material, the newspaper will completely break down in your soil, and it is so much less expensive, so give it a try!