To date I’ve used weed suppressant matting to cover my old allotment’s soil to kill weeds by starving them of light. This works really well for killing annual weeds and grasses and, if left for at least a year (sometimes it takes two) it will also kill perennial weeds like bindweed and nettles.
However, normal weed suppressant matting – the black fibre stuff – is made of plastic, breaks apart easily polluting soils and can’t be recycled, making it bad for the environment. An alternative I’ve been using is cardboard boxes covered with compost. The card kills the weeds and decomposes into the soil over the course of 6 – 12 months, and can be covered in compost allowing you to plant into it.
Organic Mulch’s biodegradable paper weed suppressant attempts to combine the best of both worlds. It’s made of paper 122cm wide, sold in different lengths, and it is certified organic, which isn’t always guaranteed with cardboard boxes – not just because of ink on them but because of chemicals used in making the card. This paper is made from renewable sources, better than plastic, which isn’t.
I’ve started covering some areas of my new allotment with the paper roll and my initial impressions are very good. The width is perfect for typical borders and it’s strong too. It’s easy to roll out by hand and it looks good, I felt like was gift wrapping my allotment! All I needed was sticky tape and a bow. The roll itself is quite heavy so it may take two people to lift into position – I was fine by myself.
Step one: I weighed the end down with some stones
Step two: roll out and adjust to position
Step three: easily cut at the other end with a sharp knife or scissors
Step four: repeat
Step five: cover with compost to weigh down or secure from wind carefully (note my compost isn’t ready yet so I’ve used random stones and other heavy things)
In the next week or two I plan to continue covering the rest of this area and to cover it with a 3 – 5cm deep layer of compost. I can then plant into the biodegradable paper mulch by cutting little slits into it using a knife (I use a hori hori) or trowel. This will be important early on because this is a tough paper that won’t break down for a number of months.
Do weigh the paper down with everything you can find because it’s easy for wind to get under the edges lifting the whole sheet away. For this reason, it’s also important to lay it when it isn’t windy. Gently soaking with water afterwards helps, so rain is your friend. Water can permeate through easily but weeds can’t.
So far I have to say Mulch Organic’s biodegradable weed suppressing mulch is very promising. Come back to see how I get on when it comes to planting, and then later in the season when I’ll be able to say how it works after a number of months for weeds suppressing and crop growth.
Long term impressions
Please come back in a few months for an update once I’ve trialled the biodegradable suppressing mulch further.
Thank you very mulch to Mulch Organic for sending me the sample to trial.