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Birds Messing Up Newspaper Under Mulch

We have trimmed the area around our trees with wet newspapers covered with mulch. Now the robins are picking away at the newspapers and it's a mess. any way to get them to stop, or should we have used something besides newspapers?

Teresa from Woodstock, IL

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 1, 20080 found this helpful

In the spring when the Robins show at my house the ground can be quite hard and no worms or bugs. I notice the Robins will go into a pile of leaves and start turning over the leaves looking for bugs. I suspect the Robins are doing the same thing to your newspapers only they are turning the mulch and then turning the newspapers looking for bugs. If you had not put down the newspapers I don't think you would have noticed. However, the newspapers will disintegrate in a short time and every thing will be back to normal.

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 1, 20080 found this helpful

I have used the newspaper trick successfully for years. Be sure you use a VERY thick covering of mulch over many layers of newspaper. After the first years heavy application of mulch you will be able to use less in successive years. Good luck!

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 4, 20080 found this helpful

It is most successful if you use several layers of corrugated cardboard, then cover with black weed cloth as i did years ago. The cardboard lasts several years and the cloth prevents weeds, even safe at the base of trees if not too wet an area. If wet, drop back from the base and carry on.

It will still work without the cloth which squirrels get frustrated with, but if you can afford it, it is a life saver. Then, look for free mulch, even using leaves and twigs, grass clippings and used coffee grounds for mulch.
Pine needles, med. Gravel, rocks, or pine cones will also work.

I prefer free mulch that the city offers from their mulching tree branches. I placed it as thick as possible to allow for settling down 50%. It conserves moisture so well that i never have to water. Don't put it where you intend to have annuals, nor around cactus or yucca, iris, or ground covers. Best around shrubs, and trees, and in open beds with accent plants or boulders.

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Good luck and god bless you. : )

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May 26, 20090 found this helpful

If you watch the robins, they cock their heads before starting to dig. There are worms squirming around under there and they are trying to get at lunch! You may want to lay some chicken wire just above the area to deter the robins from landing there, this works over strawberries to keep the birds from picking at them. Other items that are more aesthetically pleasing could be reflective mylar or neon ribbons or spinning wind toys, sort of a scarecrow sort of idea. You could always add a bird feeder to feed the hungry critters to keep them out of the actual garden. Good luck!

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