Anyone ever try newspaper as weed blocker?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by snow4me, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. snow4me

    snow4me LawnSite Member
    Male, from Barrington IL
    Messages: 119

    The title says it all...I have a customer who does not want herbicides in her beds because she has dogs and horses. She has a 5 acre property with lots of beds (over 7,000 S.F.)

    She suggests I use newspaper and from what I read after googling this some people say it works for awhile if you put down several layers of newspaper. Personally I think it will be a PITA and add a lot of time to the job especially if we mulch on a windy day.

    Anyone ever try this and if so what is the best way to do it and how many layers?

    I get my mulch delivered at roughly $22 per cubic yard. Any ideas on how many minutes it will take per yard to lay newspaper and mulch over it?

    This job seems like a loser to me...I bid it at $43 per cubic yard two years ago doing it with herbicides but she balked at the herbicides and price.

    I'd hate to try it her way and lose $ because of the labor cost involved with putting down newspaper. What do you guys think?
  2. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    So what happens when newspaper gets wet and mushy? And the ink breaks down in the beds.
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  3. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    that would be a fun job on a windy day. lol.
  4. Forever Green Landscaping

    Forever Green Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    What about that brown paper you put down when you eat crabs? 3' wide and comes in a long roll like a think cardboard. Almost like felt paper for roofing
  5. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,010

    I've got 10 acres with horses, cows and dogs. I spray around all fence lines, trees, house, beds around house and shop. Never had an issue with herbicide causing problems.

    I'd pass on the job, sounds like a PITA.
  6. Tunica

    Tunica LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    newspaper was used many years ago as a weed barrier (layer not single sheet) in flowerbeds before you could get landscape fabric. It like anything else works until...the plus side is that the paper will bio degrade the ink does too in about 25 years.
  7. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    it will work but i can't imagine it will hold up over time very long. it may last 1 year. people use it in their gardens around here sometimes to keep weeds from growing around their tomatoes or whatever.

    there's no need to worry about gly spray. everything we eat is sprayed with roundup and other chemicals.

    ever heard of round up ready crops?
  8. LawnGuy110

    LawnGuy110 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,105

    I had a customer do this once. He put down probably 7 layera of newspaper and I mulched over it. He never had one weed in his beds for a good 3 years or so. He then repeated rhw process
  9. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,017

    $43 a yard? WHAT?! Lowball city.
  10. jcamizz

    jcamizz LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 14

    I have done this for a customer. It was not an enjoyable task. The only way we found it to work was to wet the paper before putting it on the ground. Had buckets of water and tons of newspaper. Used many layers and mulched over it right away. As far as effectiveness, it seemed to work quite well for the first year or two.
    Last year a lady wanted to mulch the majority of her back yard and wanted to use cardboard. That was TERRIBLE. Each corner pokes up from the mulch. I had to put about 8" of mulch just to keep the cardboard from lifting when it dried after being wet.

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