Is newspaper good mulch???

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Hears The Water, Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a friend whose husband works at the local newspaper. She can get the ends of the paper rolls for free and has offerd me as many as I need. I was going to get some for art paper for my kids, but I am now wondering if it would work as mulch for my garden. I had hesitated using the stuff that is printed on, becasue of the ink, and we had talked about using the plastic stuff, but I was worried about the chemicals and the fact that it is a petrolium product. But this stuff is not printed on and it will break down into the soil I would think. Best of all, it is free!!! So what do y'all think, should I go for it and and ask for a couple of rolls? Thanks in advance for your input!!
    God bless you and yours
    Debbie
     
  2. Sedition

    Sedition Well-Known Member

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    I asked this exact same question some years ago, because I get so darn much newspaper!

    The short answer is no. It gets wet and become a nasty paper mache like mess that suffocates your seedlings.

    But I have found uses for it.

    First, I spread paper in the walking paths in the garden. It doesn’t matter if it mats down there, that is kind of the point. It suffocates weeds nicely, and slows evaporation while still allowing oxygen into the soil, good for earthworms.

    When I till, I put down whatever shredded newsprint I have. It adds bulk moisture retaining carbon to the soil, even if not any nutrients.

    It makes an excellent underlayment to wood chips. I get wood chips from the utility company when they trim for power lines. By putting newspaper on the ground under the woodchips, it helps to prevent nut grasses and other similar plants from growing up through the chips.

    I’ve heard to use it for worm farming. I haven’t tried yet, although this is on my experiments list for some day.
     

  3. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    The use of newspaper as mulch is OK, you still have to cover it with hay or some other organic product to keep it from blowing away and to make it more pleasant to the eye. My problem with it was to insure that I could get water down to the plants because even if the paper is covered with another organic material it will still shed water. I now use a drip irrigation system that corrects that problem. The dyes used in newspaper print are now mostly soy based inks so the fear of poisoning your soil is pretty much over. Just out of curiosity are you still typing with an on screen keyboard or have you corrected that problem? You never told us in the "Computer" forum what the outcome was.
    Bill
     
  4. CrazyLadyMs

    CrazyLadyMs Member

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    I've tried it, with good success. I left some gaps around the bass of plants so the water can get in. It holds moisture in and keeps weeds down. It does eventually break down so I like it better than landscape fabric. I used mulch over it and it looked nice, and my bee balm got absolutely HUGE, but maybe other plants don't like it so much. This is just me and I'm no expert.

    Just my Thoughts,

    Katy
     
  5. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    As long as you avoid the colored "slick paper" supplements, which contain lead amd other heavy metals. newspaper makes a fine mulch. I also bring home shredded papers from the office and use them. Of course everything gets covered with leaves for a better appearance.
     
  6. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    Since you have a good source..... those newspaper rolls come stacked on pallets, with huge round circular cardboard between them. That cardboard is excellent for smothering new sections of lawn to start beds. We lay down a bunch of them as the snow starts to melt, and cover with compost, hay, leaves, etc. By late August, the new bed is ready for the fall crop of transplants of lettuce, kohlrabi and such. The following spring, you've got a Ruth Stout approved no-work bed ready to go :)
     
  7. Hears The Water

    Hears The Water Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wow, you guys have been a wealth of information! I think I will be asking for some paper soon. We are supposted to have temps in the high 60s this week!! I realy want to plant lettuce seeds, but I don't have a bed prepared quite yet. Soon, soon, soon, soon.... this is my mantra this week. *smile*

    Manny, I am so sorry for this nasty breach of nettiquite. No, I am not still using my screen to type. For some reason the next day when I started my computer, it worked just fine. Even played the games quite well. I still plan to get a new keyboard with tax $$ and probably a new joystick as well, there are just some times when I realy like blowing up space robots!!! I will go to the computer room and post an update. I lost my internet service right after all of that nonsense, and was off long enough to forget just how many posts I had going. Thanks for thinking of me.

    God Bless you and yours
    Debbie
     
  8. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear your problem went away. Computers at times sure can be contrary.
    Bill