[NAFEX] cardboard and assorted weed barriers

Lee Reich lreich at hvc.rr.com
Wed Feb 18 06:02:37 EST 2009


I think you probably would have a problem keeping an already too wet  
soil wetter even longer if you cover it with cardboard or any other  
mulch (except in a dry year, of course, as you mentioned).

Also, landscape fabric is generally useless. It usually needs a mulch  
on top to block the light that comes through its tiny holes and  
because it's so ugly; weeds eventually grow into that covering. It is  
also a mess in case you want to plant something new or dig into the  
soil for something else, and does not enrich the soil with organic  
matter, as does an organic mulch.

The reason I use newspaper is because it disappears after a season,  
after it has smothered weeds. As I describe in my book, Weedless  
Gardening, I keep weeds to a minimum after that by not ever turning  
the soil (thus keeping dormant weed seeds asleep) and by replenishing,  
as needed, a thin, weed-free, organic mulch on top of the ground. I  
wet the paper not only to hold it down but also so that roots of  
transplants and seeds planted into the mulch layer on top of the  
newspaper can grow down to and through the wet newspaper into the soil  
below.

Lee Reich, PhD
http://www.leereich.com/

Books by Lee Reich:
A Northeast Gardener's Year
The Pruning Book
Weedless Gardening
Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
Landscaping with Fruit

On Feb 17, 2009, at 10:21 PM, Lori Rizzo wrote:

> I have a question - I live in a flood plain, clay soil - i.e., poor
> drainage.  Will using the cardboard cause a problem with water  
> retention -
> fungi, etc.?  Last year I mulched with straw, and didn't have a  
> problem,
> though it was a dry year for us.  I did buy some landscape fabric  
> for this
> year to try out.  East TN - zone 7.
>
> Lori
>
> Lori Rizzo, RN BSN MBA
> Health Care Quality Improvement
> Pet Training & Behavior Improvement!
> Maryville, TN
> larizzo at charter.net
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of tanis cuff
> Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 9:51 PM
> To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [NAFEX] cardboard and assorted weed barriers
>
>
> Nice heads-up re carpet & winter, Alan.  I've seen synthetic carpets  
> used as
> pathes or mulches and they ALWAYS make a mess-- hard to remove if/ 
> when you
> want-- and always looks awful.
>
> For newspapers, I've found 8-10 sheet layers are needed to slow down
> rhizomatous grasses, and larger areas than you intend to open up if  
> you want
> to kill the grass.  I aim for 50% overlap of 4-5 layer pieces.  If  
> you want
> to till the area in autumn, use no thicker than 6 layers.
>
> Some mulch, most any kind, is needed to hold down the newspapers.   
> Also to
> hide it from woodchucks which want it for nesting material.
>
>
>
> ________________________________
>> Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 18:14:26 -0500
>> From: alandhaigh at gmail.com
>> To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
>> Subject: [NAFEX] cardboard and assorted weed barriers
>>
>> I've always been a bit squeemish about herbicides and so I've used  
>> all
> manner of weed barriers to establish the fruit trees I install and to
> protect my garden. I've used cardboard for years as have many  
> gardeners as
> well as newspaper, and carpet. Sometimes I use landscape fabric.  
> Pretty much
> whatever I have around- I never let newspaper or cardboard leave my
> property, unless it's to mulch some trees I'm installing. I'd be a bit
> reluctant to use cardboard for raspberries for fear it would deter  
> emerging
> plants so I use the flimsier newspaper for that. If there is any  
> kind of
> drainage issue I use very porous landscape fabric- don't want to  
> interfere
> with the transfer of oxygen for carbondioxide.
>>
>> Old wool rugs or carpet works great, as long as you pull it away  
>> during
> the winter- rodents love it.
>>
>>
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