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To stop the birds eating my newly sown seeds, I cover them with a small amount of paper from my shredder. I also use this shredded paper in the strawberry patch to keep them off the ground and as mulch where ever it is needed.
By Gwen from Tasmania, Australia
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Can you use shredded paper for a mulch?
Yes, you can. I also put it in my compost bin.
yes, but it is going to decompose faster.... and it might not look as pretty as wood mulch :)
Yes you can. We use newspaper. Just remember that shredded is smaller pieces and will decompose quickly.
You do not say anything about the type of paper you are shredding but I believe there is still a lot to be learned about this subject.
I did a lot of research into this several years ago and here is some of the information I collected:
Two sites are from Mother Earth and give 2 different "opinions/uses":
This last site gives some general information about all types of shredded paper:
You can, yes, but try to avoid newsprint with coloured inks (which, I've heard, aren't the kindest thing you can do to your soil or the produce which grows in close proximity).
You could, but some papers have formaldehyde in them, so I would not use it on edible plants, such as fruits or veggies, as it would leach into the soil. It will also blow away when windy and could create a mess. It won't last long either.
I have but remember that everything in the ink and used to process the paper will end up in your food, if it's an edible garden. If it's just for flowers, knock yourself out.
Another good use for paper (especially if you don't want to shred) is on the bottom of raised garden beds, before you pour all the soil in, so that the weeds won't come in from the bottom as much. You lay the sheets out and put the soil on top.
I love to shred personal documents and have seen many people using that around their garden plants and flowers. Is it really OK and will it benefit my plants and dirt?
By Kathe C. from Redford, MI
One year instead of the black landscape fabric we laid down newspaper for weed control before putting garden soil over it so I don't see why not. Use a little at first and see how it does breaking down first
Hi - this sounds like a good idea but I wonder if this will mildew? I have tried it in potted plants and it seems to "clump" and get messy but it may be okay for outside. I hope someone will answer that has tried it and can give us pros and cons.
i have used shredded junk mail and personal papers as much in my garded for over 4 years. i recommend using a shredded that gives you shreds about 1/4 inch by about 1- 2 inches long. if you use 1/4 by 1/4 shreds you compost becomes immediately 2 dimensional.my garden was 30 by 30 ft. i would roto till the soil first then added over six 37 gallon bags of mulch, then roto tilled the paper in well. i have no mildew problems. paper is a great moisture absorber and helps you keep you crops moist and productive while many of your neighbors will have dried out gardens, making removal of crops difficult.
Will using shredded paper in your garden cause the plants to absorb lead?
Hardiness Zone: 8b
By Dianne from GA
Most, if not all, newspapers no longer use leaded inks. You could call your newspaper (or check online) to be sure; but I think you are safe!
Jilson is right but only use the black and white, not the slick, colored ones.
Nowadays the newspaper is not printed with leaded ink. I like to put a nice layer of shreds down under the compost I add to my raised beds each winter/spring. Adds more organic material to the soil, takes care of a disposal problem for me, and gives the earthwormies some more to munch on.
Is there an eco safe way to dye shredded paper the color of dirt to use as mulch in flower beds?
By Miri from KY
Very interesting idea. The first two things I think of are coffee and tea grounds. They've been used to dye things for centuries.
Yes, you can dye with tea or strong coffee.
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Fill a sink up with water and place all the papers in there. Wait a few hours and they will turn to mush. Stir them around and squeeze them out with your hands. I take those soaked and shredded papers, and mix them in with my garden or potting soil. It really helps to keep the soil light and airy thereby promoting better plant growth and over time the papers disintegrate.
This takes care of two problems. It is an effective way to get rid of papers that you don't want to go into the trash, but it also helps your plants and gardens to keep the dirt from compacting and becoming hard.
By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC
Better yet, start off with plantable, seeded paper. You can purchase plantable, seeded note cards and stationery at http://www.greenproductsgallery.com (06/29/2010)
Please be aware! Not all newspaper ink is soy based, especially colored inks. To keep heavy metals out of your garden avoid reusing the colored pages and where all else fails: ask your newspaper publisher what kind of ink is used. (07/23/2010)
While reading uses for newspaper, I thought I would share an idea given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. Putting shredded paper around your tomato plants helps keep tomatoes off the ground so they don't rot. Works really well and shredded paper just gets tilled into ground every year and decomposes in time.
By Lisa from Waynesville, NC
If you have red paper to use, all the better. Red reflects upwards and promotes the tomatoes' growth. (05/29/2008)
Also, newspaper placed around plants in garden deters weeds. (05/30/2008)