I'm going to mulch my yard with newspapers and have a question.

by Louise
My shady front yard has hostas, heucheras, hellebores, azaleas and other shade plants in it — AND a supply of weeds. A neighbor told me to make sure the weeds are short and then put down several layers of newspapers, wet them and top them with wood chips or other mulch. She said it will keep the weeds at bay for a couple of seasons. I plan to start on that but have a question. I have some daffodils in the yard and at this time of year don't know exact locations of them. Will they come up thru the newspapers and mulch in the spring, or will this newspaper/mulch plan either destroy them or keep them from coming up next spring? If it stops them from coming up in the spring, will they ever come up again? If it will keep them from appearing and blooming, do you have suggestions as to what to do?
  14 answers
  • AvonelleRed AvonelleRed on Oct 11, 2014
    There shouldn't be any problems with the bulbs being able to grow up through the newspapers. Daffodils and other flowers can push up through rocks and asphalt and all kinds of other hard surfaces, and the newspapers will be wet after a good rain anyway, which softens the papers.
  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Oct 11, 2014
    that's a good question @Douglas Hunt can you help? thanks xx
  • Lisa Lisa on Oct 11, 2014
    I can tell you from experience that the bulbs will have no problem surfacing next spring after a winter of being under layers of newspaper and mulch because I have done this more times than I can count. However, the gardens I work on are up in the Northeast and you are in Georgia, so there is a definite time difference as to when Spring arrives (and therefore how long the newspaper is still newspaper.) My feeling is you'll be fine, but someone who gardens in more southern climes may have other ideas.
  • Pattylawhon Pattylawhon on Oct 11, 2014
    I have not been successful at using newspaper... I have heard that you should not use sales paper and I do not know if it is because it is glossy and affects drainage or if it doesn't biodegrade ... I thought it looks like some sales paper but not sure.
  • Charlda W Charlda W on Oct 12, 2014
    i put newspaper down and mulched around plants works keeping weeds out for me.
  • Marisa Stewart Marisa Stewart on Oct 12, 2014
    @Louise I don't believe you'll have a problem. If you're still unmcertain you could mulch in the spring. We used this method around our tomatoes this year. We have a raised bed and had to net all around it-- for some reason weeds always poked their head up no matter how many times I pulled them out. The newspaper + mulch worked pretty well.
  • Nancy Nancy on Oct 12, 2014
    I always leave an opening in the newspapers, but then cover the area with mulch. If you use a thick layer of paper, I don't think the bulbs could break through because it's even difficult to get a shovel through, especially the first season. If you don't use at least a layer of 3 papers, it won't work well against weeds.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 12, 2014
    I have seen daffodils push through substantial layers of matted leaves, so my gut reaction is that they will push through the newspaper as well.
    • Judy Judy on Oct 12, 2014
      @Douglas Hunt I expect the newspaper should be pretty well rotted down by spring anyhow......
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Oct 12, 2014
    I use newspapers to establish new beds. I like to use Sunday papers(daughter in law is a couponer) I put them down thick. In just a couple of weeks you can lift and an army of gardeners are at work. Have also used them for years for weed control. weeds will re-appear the wind and birds just plain old mother nature will keep replanting and another layer of newspaper works great. I don't use the shiny ads either believe that comes from a time before ink was soy based.
  • Shanna C Shanna C on Oct 12, 2014
    I put mine down about 10 pages thick, wet it and then put down a thick layer of mulch. Bulbs should be fine but if you are really concerned you can do as Nancy suggested. Personally, I'd use really thick mulch if you don't cover it with newspaper. I have four inches of mulch and the tiniest bulbs push up through it.
  • ByLightOfMoon ByLightOfMoon on Oct 12, 2014
    I am for sure going to do this to try and keep out my native plants from coming up again. I try to pull them by the roots but they keep popping up! I hope they are not as sturdy as daffodils but they are pretty hard to get rid of. I spread some store bought seeds and did not know what was what last spring when they started popping up is why I did not pull them then. I believe the newspaper is made with recycled paper anyway, just toss the ads!
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Oct 12, 2014
    My experience, the glossy paper , once wet, stays wet and STINKS. Foul smelling. I have clay. Go ahead, start spreading....where you are unsure, just use the mulch. Then rake back the mulch when bulbs show their Spring glory. Put down the paper around the bulbs, spread the raked mulch around them and it will be done!
  • Bridges Brandy Bridges Brandy on Oct 12, 2014
    I have used this method many times. As long as you don't use glossy sales papers it will be fine as a barrier under mulch.
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jun 11, 2015
    I agree with Susan and then when the bulbs come up mark where they are so you can paper and mulch around them.