Gardening Magazine

Using Cardboard to Suppress Weeds

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

Late last summer, I published a post about my weeding prowess and proudly posted the results of my work: Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Not a weed to be found in site. I even shared my most secretive of tips on the proper weeding form:
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
A bit cocky, yes. Did I assume it would hold up over time? Yeah, I did.
But as you may recall, it all fell to crap only a month later. That is when I wrote about my struggles with the weed, red sorrel. And how I totally mismanaged how to eradicate these weeds. 
Fast forward to this spring, and I'm stressing big time over my weed "issues". Here is what things look like in the neglected section of my side garden bed:  Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Damn I'm lazy and/or need more time. 
My immediate thought was to get in the dirt and start pulling like a raged lunatic. But I'm not that guy any more. I now count slowly to ten and review the options in my head. Pulling blindly didn't work out in the recent past so we need a new approach. I have been making a concerted effort to plant in all available empty spaces but that wouldn't work in this spot. Hmmmm ...
I recalled reading up a bit on the use of cardboard as a weed suppressant. And guess who has oodles and oodles of cardboard sitting in their garage? It was time to surf the interwebs a bit before making a final decision on my next steps.
I found a great discussion on this topic at the GardenWeb forums which you can read here, and after reading each and every entry, decided I was going to give it a go. What was there to lose? Even if it fails miserably, I can chalk it up as a learning experience. Garden as labaratory, if you will.   Before I show you Operation Cardboard as Mulch, I also wanted to share an article with you that is anti-cardboard. You can read it here - "Why I don't like carboard mulch". Interesting stuff, but not enough to change my mind.
So here we go.
One section of the bed overrun with weeds: Using cardboard to suppress weeds
And yet another weed party here:
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Down goes the cardboard pieces, sort of like a jigsaw puzzle:
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Next step was to soak the cardboard to keep it in place:
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Final step was to put down a few inches of mulch to keep it all in place and to further squash out those undesirables.
Here is the first "before and after": 
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
And the 2nd "before and after":
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
Using cardboard to suppress weeds
I have additional areas to hit up with more cardboard so this is only the beginning.
Here's hoping the weeds die a painful death as they are starved of the sun.
I'll be sure to keep you updated along the way; good or bad.
John

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