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How to Keep Your Flower Beds Weed-Free (for free!)


Passionate Penny Pincher shows you How to Keep Your Flower Beds Weed-Free (for free!). Have any of you done this before?

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  • Julie says:

    Just did that this past weekend. This is the first time we’ve tried it. So far so good!

  • Laura says:

    Unfortunately this doesn’t work for us. We have about a trillion helicopters that will plant themselves if not raked out and disposed of. I could have a forest if I let them all plant. Usually by the first week of June all the helicopters are down and then starts the process of getting them all out. Typically I have about 5 trash bags full of just helicopters, oh the joys of those darn trees!

    • Carla says:

      Ha! I’m right there with you. My nephew just saw a section of our flower bed that didn’t get dug out last year and he said, “Hmmm. Maple tree ground cover, eh?” So many of them had sprouted that it really did look like ground cover.

  • Kathy says:

    I’ve used this method successfully in my flower beds. You can also use cardboard. I just water the area ,put the paper down and wet it well. Then I put pine straw on top. I don’t even weed first. If you use several layers of paper it kills the existing weeds and they won’t grow back. Make sure to overlap the edges. If you want to build up a bed you can make several layers with grass clippings, compost etc. wetting each layer. Just search “lasagna gardening”!

  • Jen says:

    I seen this with creating a garden, but with black plastic. Apparently if you lay plastic down for a few weeks to a month before hand it will kill everything underneath then you can plant your garden.
    It makes sense… if you leave a brick or your grill in the same spot and move it then it killed what was underneath.
    I like the idea of newspaper because it is biodegradable.

  • margaret says:

    done it. Moderately successfully. New raised beds only got weeds the second year and then not horribly so.

  • Sharon H says:

    I have used thick newspaper to kill grass and weeds in an area before planting and it worked fine, but I have never used it under my beds to keep weeds out. I have used weed barrier in my plant beds, and I still get weeds from flying seeds, so I would assume that the newspaper would have the same problem. However, it wouldn’t hurt to try as it would compost itself in the garden bed.

  • Laura says:

    I’ve done this for years and LOVE it! I layer mine very thick and the barrier has lasted about 10 years. I weed and layer some new bark on top each spring. If you want bulbs or other plants to push through, just use 1 or 2 layers, although the barrier does not last as long.

    This is much preferable to plastic or landscape fabric because it decomposes and does not need to be pulled up down the road.

    I recommend you give it a try in a small area to see if it works for you.

  • K says:

    What do you use for free mulch?

    • Layne says:

      A lot of cities around us let you get free mulch from the place you drop off tree limbs.

    • Anne says:

      My city does free mulch for residents. They make it available for pick up or will deliver for a minimal charge. But it’s a city. Your getting composted weeds from everyone’s garden. Sometimes better to get the larger piece ground up tree debris from them .

  • Dana says:

    We did this last year, and I just finished weeding that garden today. It helped for sure, but did not eliminate our weeds.

  • Tina says:

    I made a comparison between newspaper & landscape fabric. I put down newspaper 2-3 sheets thick verses landscape fabric. I placed it directly over weeds. No weeding. The newspaper won handsdown. I then covered it with mulch if it was my garden pathway or added soil on top if it was my new garden bed. After planting my garden , I added mulch on top (up to 3″) . A year later the newspaper areas are still weed free if I mulched around 3″, sparse weeds in areas I skimped on mulch. Super easy to pull out. In the landscape fabric areas, weeds are coming thru the fabric & 3″ mulch. The roots are deep & I can’t pull the roots through the fabric. I have to find a different way to kill them. I got free mulch from the county & a tree we got cut down.

  • Love it – this is the only way to get a handle on weeds in planted areas. We’ve done it for years and even made a video about it:

    For those with “helicopters” or maple tree sprouts: we have those, too – I just wait until they’re done dropping and then lay cardboard or thick newspaper right over the top of them (if any are too tall, they’re easy to pull them first). No weeding and they’re suffocated. I’d encourage you to try it. 🙂

  • Karin peters says:

    When you water with a water hose, does the water penetrate the newspaper and get down to the roots of the plants? I didn’t know if the newspaper would keep moisture from getting to the ground.

  • Billie says:

    I’ve done this for years– works every time. I’ve told tons of friends– I never pull weeds before I lay thick layers– 4-5 each — I have a flat dishpan I submerge paper in to thoroughly soak before I lay overlapping all edges. Soaked paper tears easily when covering near base of plants.

  • Loretta says:

    I did this 10 years ago with 7 layers of newspaper and mulch. It worked great but has been 10 years so now I need to clean everything out and redo. Lots of work it will be but well worth the time.

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