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Using Shredded Paper in the Garden

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.

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By Gwen from Tasmania, Australia

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February 16, 2017

Can you use shredded paper for a mulch?


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February 17, 20170 found this helpful

Yes, you can. I also put it in my compost bin.

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February 18, 20170 found this helpful

yes, but it is going to decompose faster.... and it might not look as pretty as wood mulch :)

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Anonymous
February 19, 20170 found this helpful

Yes you can. We use newspaper. Just remember that shredded is smaller pieces and will decompose quickly.

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February 19, 20170 found this helpful

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":

www.motherearthnews.com/.../use-office-paper-for-mulch-zb0z08zblon

www.motherearthliving.com/.../uses-for-shredded-paper

This last site gives some general information about all types of shredded paper:

tallcloverfarm.com/.../shredded-paper-as-garden-mulch

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February 19, 20170 found this helpful

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).

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February 21, 20170 found this helpful

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.

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February 24, 20170 found this helpful

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.

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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

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May 2, 20100 found this helpful

Very interesting idea. The first two things I think of are coffee and tea grounds. They've been used to dye things for centuries.

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May 9, 20100 found this helpful

Yes, you can dye with tea or strong coffee.

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May 9, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks, I'll give it a try.

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Anonymous
July 2, 20180 found this helpful

I wonder if there is any need to do this; shortly after placing the paper shreds in the garden, they turn varying shades of brown all by themselves. :-)

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June 4, 2012

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

Answers

June 4, 20120 found this helpful

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

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June 11, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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December 25, 20160 found this helpful

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.

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December 29, 2010

Will using shredded paper in your garden cause the plants to absorb lead?

Hardiness Zone: 8b

By Dianne from GA

Answers

December 29, 20100 found this helpful

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!

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December 30, 20100 found this helpful

Jilson is right but only use the black and white, not the slick, colored ones.

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 29, 2010
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.
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June 28, 2010

Putting shredded paper around your tomato plants helps keep tomatoes off the ground so they don't rot.

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