Most newspapers use soybean-based ink rather than petroleum-based ink. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that newspaper poses no threat. The slick inserts, however, aren’t your best bet.
Rip the papers from top to bottom into 1- to 2-inch strips. For every 100 square feet of garden, you’ll need 25 to 50 pounds of shredded newspaper. The average weight of the Sunday New York Times is about four pounds.
When to Apply
Apply newspaper mulch only after the soil reaches a minimum temperature of 73 degrees F. Newspaper acts as insulator. Put it over cold soil and it will prevent the ground from warming up. Also wait until your plants are at least 5 inches tall.
How to Apply
- Apply fertilizer.
- Remove all weeds.
- Apply the newspaper mulch at a depth of 4 to 5 inches. Do not cover seeds.
- Overlap mulch to block all sunlight to the ground. Keep the mulch at least 2 inches away from all plants and tree bases.
- Add a one-inch layer of grass clippings on top of your newspaper mulch to increase nitrogen levels and keep plants from yellowing. If your plants still look a little yellow, spray foliar fertilizer.