Newspaper or Landscape Fabric | 5 Reasons Newspaper Kills Weeds BETTER!


Newspaper or Landscape Fabric?

We’ve shared this tip before – but with the awesome weather we have had the last couple days it seemed like a good time to mention it again!

My kids helped me weed my flower beds today and I ran up to Lowe’s to get some mulch – but before I lay it down, I’m putting down some newspaper to save myself from weeding anymore this season.

Why Newspaper?  Once you’ve spent hours upon hours hunched over hand-weeding a flower bed – you’re in no hurry to do it again.  Here’s a little tip I learned from my mom  (the greenest thumb I know) about keeping out weeds in your flowerbeds….

Layer on the Newspaper!

Newspapering your weeded flower beds is a cheap, easy way to keep our unwanted weeds by denying them light.  Here are 5 Ways using Newspaper totally trumps laying down landscaping fabric in your garden:

  1. It’s a great way to recycle old papers.
  2. Newspaper amends the soil, leaving it soft and loose if it is currently hard and rocky.  As the cotton fibers in the paper decompose, it makes your soil richer and softer for next years planting!  This hard clay soil here in Tennessee is a prime example of why I need to newspaper my beds.
  3. Get ready to  grow a nice crop of earthworms – because they LOVE the layer where the paper meets the soil.  And we all know worms are good for your plants – as well as handy on a fishing trip.
  4. Newspaper is FREE – whereas the black landscaping fabric can get  costly.
  5. In fact, the landscaping fabric really is evil stuff.  You not only will have weeds start growing through the microscopic holes in the fabric (also, many seeds are airborne and will just land on top anyway) – but it’s nearly impossible to pull them out when their roots are under/enmeshed in the fabric (You literally have to CUT the landscaping fabric off the ground to get the weeds out!)

Are you convinced yet?  Then let’s get cracking!  You’ll need to weed your beds first and then lie down a thick layer of 8-10 sheets of stacked newspaper.  (If you run out, wet cardboard will work as well)  Cover with a thick layer of mulch (about 3″) and you’ll be weed-free for a few years before you need to lie down anymore!

Do you have any tips for keeping weeds out?  I’d love to hear them!

Check out lots more helpful tips on Gardening!




  1. Dee says

    I plan to use them in a new flower bed. Just to clarify I lay the newspaper down wet then I can put topsoil and fertilizer then plant flowers. Right?

  2. 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.

  3. Sarah says

    A few years ago, we replanted our front lawn. We laid cardboard over the entire yard then topsoil, fertilizer and grass seed. We got the nicest lawn without all those pesky weeds! This year, I’m using cardboard to rid myself of weeds in flower beds. I find the cardboard easier to work with than newspaper which tends to blow around before I get a chance to get the mulch down.

  4. Deal Detective Kim says

    If you live in or close to Chattanooga, here’s a money-saving tip:
    The City of Chattanooga operates the wood recycling center, which recycles organic yard waste that is collected at the curbside by city collection crews, contractors, and homeowners.
    Wood waste from trees and trimmings as well as leaves may be disposed of at the wood recycle center at a standard rate for non-city residents and businesses.

    Location & Phone Number
    3925 North Hawthorne Street
    Chattanooga, TN 37406
    (423) 697-9702
    Hours of Operation
    Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ; Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Mulch is available at no charge to City of Chattanooga residents when a valid drivers license is presented. City crews will load mulch into trucks or trailers. Residents are limited to a standard size pick-up truck or single axle trailer for free loads of mulch. City of Chattanooga residents may also purchase additional loads at standard rates. Non-city residents will be charged standard rates.

    Mulch will be loaded in any size truck but will not be overloaded and should remain 4-inches below the walls of an open truck bed, trailer, or container. Mulch must be covered by a tarpaulin before leaving the facility.

    Standard Rates
    Wood Waste Disposal / $20.00 per ton; $20.00 minimum

    Mulch / $10.00 per ton; $5.00 minimum
    (when you consider that a 3-cubic foot bag can cost $3-5, you see the savings PILE up)

  5. Jujubilant says

    This is all my mom has ever used in her garden and flower beds. Here’s a great tip I learned from her: put a stack in your wheelbarrow and fill with water to soak the papers before laying them down. This not only adds moisture, but also keeps the papers where you put them if the day is windy. Lay them on _thick_ and top with donated hay from a farmer – hay he can’t feed his animals due to moisture or contents within the bale like weeds. Regular paper breaks down faster than the slick ads, but both can be used. Stay away from slick magazines. Become the local newspaper recycler for your neighbors who do not garden. They will be happy to donate their read stacks.


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