Can I use tar paper instead of garden fabric on my flower beds?

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I have a lot of ?Gout Weed throughout my gardens and I want to smother them out? Becayse I have so many gardens it would be too expensive to cover them all with garden wrap!

  10 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 15, 2018
    no....it will not allow the proper drainage
  • Amanda Amanda on Mar 15, 2018
    Hi Marge. You should not use it for any vegetable gardens. I found a link to help you decide. Good luck!
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Mar 15, 2018
    Tar paper does not pose any environmental concerns when used for its intended purpose under shingles on a roof, but it is made with tar which is at the bottom of the barrel in the petroleum refinement process. To be safe, do not use it around food-producing plants like vegetable gardens or fruit orchards.
    Tar paper will prevent weeds from growing by blocking any sunlight from reaching them. Since it is designed to be a water barrier for roofing, it will also tend to cause water to pool. Professional landscape fabric (sometimes called weed barrier) stops the weeds while allowing water to pass through.
    Tar paper is less expensive, but with the extra money spent, a good landscaping fabric will out-perform tar paper without any worry of contamination.
    • Wanda Cason Wanda Cason on Jul 11, 2018

      Thank you, Jennifer. I will dispose of the tar paper and resume the cardboard/newspaper smothering technique.


  • Daniel D Brewer Daniel D Brewer on Mar 15, 2018
    put down a heavy layer of news paper and cardboard with any tape removed. Tar paper will put some nasty stuff into your garden that you do not want.
  • Susan krom Susan krom on Mar 15, 2018
    No on the tar paper. How about using plastic trash bags that are cut open to make a square-then slit them for some drainage.
  • William William on Mar 15, 2018
    Tar paper will also contaminate the soil as it breaks down. Go with newspaper, cardboard, plastic sheeting.
  • Atd33292245 Atd33292245 on Apr 27, 2018
    Does anyone know what chemicals would leach out of tar pape?
  • Mar6780907 Mar6780907 on Apr 27, 2018
    yes,Thank You to all who sent me advice .I will definately not use the tar paper !
  • Sharon Whitehead Sharon Whitehead on Jun 06, 2018
    I just put down the tar paper because I had extra leftover. I weeded the area, applied the tarpaper, added topsoil about 2 ", then 1-2 " mulch. I planted a shrub rose sticking out of the paper and some impatiens in a row on top of the tarpaper with a rock border to hold the shape. I am adding more mulch today. this is a 60 year old 3 x 5 flower bed next to the front porch. I have not had much luck with landscape fabric. I used a plastic tarp with pebble rock around a firepit, tarp held up well, but weeds grew in & around the pebble rock. "weed seeds and dust ", I guess.
  • Kathy Kathy on Apr 24, 2020

    I have tar paper and wanted to heat up the soil to kill any seeds left from the weeds I tried pulling. If I leave it on the area for a few days would that be enough to kill the seeds? I would remove it before planting. I will mulch after.