I am a thrifty gardener. And this is one of my favorite thrifty tricks.
If you’ve ever used plastic or fabric weed fabric, you know that it just doesn’t work. Sure, it’s okay for awhile, but after one season, you’re sunk. You put mulch on top of it, the mulch breaks down and weeds grow in the mulch. And you can’t just pull them, because the roots go down THROUGH the fabric, making a tangled mess of fabric and weeds.
My solution is a free, recycled option that works like weed barrier fabrics – by blocking sunlight from reaching the weeds – but without the problems.
After 7 years of renovations, including all new siding and new windows, we were finally ready to begin landscaping the north side of the house. Last fall, we had an electric line trenched in, and I bought a couple of bushes on clearance at Lowes and plopped them in the ground.
To get this area ready for mulch, I started by digging a trench outlining the new flower bed. Then, I sprayed the weeds inside the bed area with Roundup 5003110 Weed and Grass Killer III Ready-to-Use Trigger Spray, 1/2 Gallon . This part is completely optional…you could, instead, pull the weeds in the bed, or hope to suffocate them with the weed barrier and mulch.
Next, I put down my weed barrier – recycled newspaper!
Overlapping the edges, I put down one layer at a time, spraying it with the hose to keep it in place while I worked.
After 5-7 layers, it was ready for the next step.
(Note: It’s tempting to just unfold the newspaper and lay down all 7 layers at once. But it doesn’t work. When the newspaper dries, it crinkles up, and if your mulch isn’t thick enough, the paper will poke through. Also, because of the crinkling, you may end up with spots not covered by paper, and the weeds will somehow magically find them.)
I spread 2-3 inches of mulch all over the newspaper, working in small sections across the back of the house.
This mulch was leftover from a truckload we got last year. It had decomposed quite a lot, and there wasn’t enough left to cover the area I needed, so I went to Lowes to get more. II have heard that dark mulch holds a lot of heat and can “scorch” plants and dry them out more quickly, but the dark brown was on sale, so that’s what I got. Remember, I’m thrifty.
By evening, our recycle bin of newspapers was empty and we had this on the north side of the house!
The newspaper will break down over a season or two, adding organic material to the soil. But combining this technique with a weed preventer like Preen will help keep the weeds down without a tangled mess of plastic or fabric.
Next up, dealing with the grass that was disturbed when the electric line was buried!
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Shared at: Motivational Monday