Products On Trial – Weed Control Paper Mulch

I’m trying out a sample roll of paper mulch in an attempt to cut down on weeding in the flower and vegetable garden. I haven’t paid for this product, but in common with other bloggers, the agreement is to unconditionally try it out and give an honest opinion.

Monty kitten was keen to help. To be honest, he gave more help than was strictly necessary, getting in and under the paper roll. He’s such good company in the garden, always by my side, climbing in and out of my wheelbarrow and tool bag. But paper’s a new attraction for him!

Instructions say place a heavy stone on each corner as you start to unroll the paper, and toss soil along both edges to prevent wind from blowing it away. Monty jumped all over it, which kept it in place nicely until I’d sorted out stones and compost.

I used a Hori-Hori to cut the paper to length, then set out the plants. I’m trying the mulch for dahlias and cosmos in the cut flower beds , and for courgettes, squash, sweetcorn, and strawberries in the veg beds. It would be good for garlic and chard too.

These are the cuttings I’ve been taking since February from dahlias overwintered in the potting shed. They are exact clones of the parent plants, so I now have about 100 new plants for free. All my favourite varieties.

I used my Hori-Hori knife to cut a cross in the paper and then dug out planting holes for the dahlias. A new sharp-pointed trowel made the task quick and easy.

The paper is thick enough to block out light, and therefore suppress weeds, but there are microscopic holes to let air and water permeate. Plants are so far growing well. I’m having to do much less watering than usual.

This product is supplied by Mulch Organic, a family business which offers environmentally-friendly alternatives to black plastic for mulching. They say the products are natural, made from renewable sources and eliminate the need for chemical herbicides. The paper mulch is 100 percent organic and biodegradable. It should last a whole growing season, and at the end of the year, can simply be tilled into the soil to decompose naturally.

There’s also a crepe version, with expansion ribs to allow for stretch for use over mounded beds. These also work well with drip irrigation systems, and can be used in poly tunnels.

As well as the paper rolls, there’s a mulch film made from cornstarch.

Here’s one last photo of Monty. We were out in the garden until 10pm as the temperatures were too hot in the day. I’m hoping the mulch will save time – giving me more time to spend sitting in the garden reading, with Monty on my knee. That’s the plan anyway. I’ll let you know if it works out!

Here’s some of the dahlias I’m growing again this year. This one is Nuit d’Ete.

Dahlia David Howard. A lovely deep orange flower. Cut flowers last 10 days in a vase.

Eveline is a lovely white decorative dahlia with a delicate blush pink centre and tips to the petals.

Thank you for reading the blog. Have you tried any products to combat weeds? Let me know how you are getting on with your gardening projects.

Here’s the links for more information: https://mulchorganic.co.uk/

I wrote about the Hori-Hori here https://bramblegarden.com/2020/07/10/niwaki-tools-review-and-some-garden-snips-to-give-away-gardening/

The trowel I’m using is this one: https://marshallsgarden.com/products/kent-and-stowe-capability-trowel-10907234?variant=32599100424243&currency=GBP&ds_rl=1278790&ds_rl=1284267&ds_rl=1278790&ds_rl=1284267&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8IaGBhCHARIsAGIRRYoqnS-u91aeS1AJK273Nb2YXeLUfNBNiKVEBso0HNaTi-PeyK5Fiq4aAp6zEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

19 thoughts on “Products On Trial – Weed Control Paper Mulch

  1. I’ve been using this for a while now – it’s really good for leeks and kale over the winter, too, as it holds weeds back after planting until they stop germinating quite so much. For the leeks you can just make holes with a dibber.
    I bought it to help with weed control, but over the last few years it’s been invaluable for holding moisture in. What with that, and no-dig mulching the whole plot with a couple of cm of compost once a year when it’s convenient, I’m amazed at how well the plot holds moisture in now. I’m hardly having to water at all at the moment.
    For the commenter who mentioned covering the paper with compost – I don’t think you need to do that if you’re just laying it on a more or less weed-free bed. Certainly when I have got soil on top of it, weeds have parachuted in and started growing away, so I try and keep it clear.

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    • Thanks for your advice, Pippa. I’ve got some leeks and curly kale seedlings to plant for the winter. I’m also going to try planting my sweet williams and wallflowers through it. I’ve also noticed that it holds the moisture in and I’m not needing to water the dahlias at all. instead of using sprays to kill the weeds, the paper keeps weeds down and saves an enormous amount of time. Ive noticed baby frogs like it too. They seem to like the moisture under the paper – and they are helping keep my slug populations down. Thanks again for reading my blog and for leaving a comment. Keep me updated on your growing, please.

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    • Forgot to say…. I’m using stones and upturned terracotta plant pots to hold my paper down. I decided not to cover it with soil. The upturned pots also are a refuge for the frogs, as I keep bantam hens, and they like to eat them!

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  2. You are obviously practicing No-Dig here. Should you have enough compost to put on top, you’ll be well away!
    I use strulch as a local friend buys it by the pallet and lets me buy three. I’m amazed that it is lasting for at least two years and seems to repulse slugs with its prickly surface. Maybe we could get a local delivery sorted out?

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    • That would be great Suella. I’ve used strulch before and buy it in for clients. Slugs hate the scratchy surface. They don’t seem to like the paper mulch either, which is great news as we have lots of slugs here. Yes, no dig is the way forward. I’d never be able to manage the plot if I had to dig it over. Will report back. Xx

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  3. that looks like a great cat toy!. I use cardboard (leftovers from deliveries etc) but mainly to keep the cats off the soil rather than suppress the weeds. It has worked quite well for potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes. I do need to keep an eye on watering though and water through the holes if there’s a dry spell. Good luck

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  4. Will be interested to hear how you get on with this Karen. I gave up my allotment at the end of last year but have two new raised beds at home for veg growing which I should really mulch. Do you ever lend Monty out to aid and assist fellow gardeners? 😄

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    • Hello Anna, lovely to hear from you. The amount of food Monty is eating, I might just do that soon! He very good at chasing all the pigeons off the plot! Good luck with your raised beds, and thanks for getting in touch 👍💚

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    • Thank you Mary. He is a funny character. I’ve never had a cat like him. He’s more like a dog than a cat. So playful though and such cheerful company in the garden. Do hope there’s less weeds- and more Monty time. 🙂🙏

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  5. Sorry, Monty stole the show! There’s no way I can think about mulch and decomposing paper when you have such a handsome companion in tow.

    The Dahlias are gorgeous, but not as much as Monty is, and the benefit of Monty is he doesn’t have to be planted. Lucky you having him cosy up on your knees while you read. 🙂 xx

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    • Thank you. That’s so kind of you to say so. Yes, Monty usually does steel the show with whatever I’m doing . I even missed the start of the radio show I do on a Wednesday when he was meowing so loudly I decided to feed him to keep him quiet. I thought the record before my chat was a bit longer than it was! Luckily the presenter covered for me. Hope that makes you smile too. 🙂❤️

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      • He really is a lovely boy. Can’t say I’ve ever had a cat like him before. Have a super weekend. We are out in the orchard sitting under the fruit trees, reading and sipping lemon verbena tea. And crunchy cat treats for Monty 🙂👍

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  6. Hi, Karen, I shall be interested to hear how well it works. Weeds are a major challenge in the very fertile growing conditions we have here in SWFrance. A French supplier offers options of similar products made from hessian and other fabrics. I’ve not yet tried them but have contemplated doing so!

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    • That’s interesting to hear. I expect hessian would work as well. Years ago of course, we used to use bits of carpet -until they all started disintegrating and we ended up with a mess that couldn’t be recycled. I’ve used black plastic before, but it looks awful and isn’t environmentally-friendly. I’m hoping this works. So far, it’s conserving moisture – so that’s saving resources. And the little dahlias are growing away strongly. They seem to enjoy having their roots protected. Traditionally, growers would use straw, but I saw a gold medal-winning grower lose a lot of his dahlias last year because the straw mulch was possibly contaminated with weedkiller residue. I’m not risking it, even though straw is cheap. Will report back. 🙂👍

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