Eco-Friendly Way to Wage the War on Weeds: Cardboard Sheeting
No matter how much time, effort, and TLC you put into your landscaping, there are going to be weeds. Their perseverance can get the better of us. Breaking off their roots won't kill them - they'll simply regrow, because their roots reach deep in the ground. Worse, their blooms are filled with seeds that end up blowing all over the yard. Fortunately, there are ways to outwit the weeds, without resorting to non-environmental weed killers like plastic and toxins. Instead, use cardboard sheeting as a green solution.
Why Cardboard Sheeting over Plastic?
- Cardboard sheeting is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic and highly effective replacement for plastic options.
- Cardboard sheeting is 100% biodegradable and decomposes back into the soil over time (plastic doesn't).
- As cardboard sheeting breaks down, it creates a kind of sugar that attract earthworms that are known to improve the quality of soil.
- Using cardboard sheeting as mulch efficiently eliminates weeds, reduces erosion, and helps moderate soil temperatures.
- It can also be worked into the soil following growing season.
- Cardboard sheeting traps moisture in the soil, which cuts back on the need for excess irrigation/watering. As a matter of fact, cardboard sheeting is more effective at retaining moisture than straw or wood chips.
Following are tips that will help you fight weeds in your garden using cardboard sheeting.
You’ll need enough cardboard sheeting to cover the area you are addressing and enough mulch to cover it.
Lay out the cardboard sheeting, covering the soil and weeds. Unless the soil in the area is already really moist, soak it down with a sprinkler before positioning the sheeting. It’s important to overlap the sheeting pieces by about 6 inches to keep stubborn weeds from creeping through gaps to reach the surface. Once you have the cardboard sheeting in place, use the sprinkler again or a hose to spray it down so it doesn’t move around as you add the layer of top soil. If you just plan on using mulch, spread it evenly over the cardboard sheeting in a 2 inch layer. You could also cover the cardboard sheeting with finished compost, following by covering the compost with a protective layer of mulch.
A good time to begin fighting weeds is in the late spring when they are starting to get out of control, but haven't spread their seeds yet.