How to Kill Weeds with Newpaper

What You'll Need
leaves or grass
stones or bricks

If you maintain a garden, you probably spend more time than you like fighting with weeds. If you spend the time to hand pick each and every weed, making sure to pull up their root systems as well, you can destroy them — until the next set sprout. Spraying can be effective on individual weeds as well, but you will run into the same problem. And of course, both of these methods are very time intensive. If you have a limited amount of time to work on your garden — or you would simply prefer to spend less time on the ground in the hot sun — you are probably looking for a way to kill weeds and keep them away for good. Luckily for you, there is a way to do this. What advanced technology do you need to accomplish such a miracle? Only a little bit of planning, leaves or grass, and the leftover newspaper you were going to recycle.

Step 1 - Setting Up

Mulching your garden is a great idea that conveys many benefits to your garden. It keeps the soil moist while regulating soil temperature. Mulching is also great for killing weeds and keeping them away. However, using a layer of newspaper with your mulch is the best way to kill weeds. No weeds can work their way through newspaper, unlike porous layers of leaves, grass, or pine needles.

First, figure out how much newspaper you will need and collect it. Using a rough estimate is fine, but plan on putting down a layer 3 to 4 sheets thick. Next, find a good source of dead plant matter. Grass clippings from your lawn mower, dead leaves, pine needles, or professional products available at your local nursery are all fine. Select whichever is the easiest or cheapest.

Step 2 - Newspaper Mulching

Now it is time to mulch your garden. Surround the area you will be mulching with stones or bricks. This creates a boundary that makes it harder for mulch to blow away. Lay down sheets of newspaper covering the entire area. Do one layer at a time, so that when you do the next layer, you can overlap sheets effectively. Remember, the whole point of using a layer of newspaper is to keep weeds from being able to grow from the ground to reach the sunlight, so you want your layer of newspaper as redundant as possible. Leave a 3 inch square around the bases of your plants.

Step 3 - Second Layer

Next, it is time to add the second layer. You should have enough dead leaves, grass clippings or pine needles to have a 2 inch layer of mulch — but more is better. Up to 6 inches of mulch is great. Spread it evenly, and use everything you have — remember, you chose your material because it was easy to get.

Step 4 - Finishing Up

You should be able to walk on top of your layer of mulch easily without damaging the newspaper, thanks to the top layer. Your mulch should last roughly 3 months, and will decay naturally, requiring no cleanup. However, maintaining your layer of mulch regularly is a good idea.