Ways & How

How to Make Mulch from Shredded Paper

How to Make Mulch from Shredded Paper

The most popular materials for making mulch are leaves and twigs. However, used and shredded paper are also perfect for making mulch, since paper is basically made from trees anyway. It is still a type of organic mulch material, just like compost, hay, and straw. The only concern that most people have is that the ink printed on paper might contain toxic material for the plants. But the fact is that newsprint is perfectly safe to be used for mulch. Just avoid glossy and colored paper, and you can include paper into your mulch heap. To learn how to make mulch from shredded paper, here are the steps:

  1. First of all, you need to have a good shredder to shred black and white newspaper. Avoid including paper printed with colored ink in your mulch heap. Also, plastic items like CDs and credit cards should be discarded from the mulch. These shredders will rip the papers from top to bottom in thin strips. To make 100 square feet, you need to shred 25 to 50 pounds of paper. If you don’t have that much paper, you can ask your local waste management facility or recycling center if you can have some of their shredded paper for your mulch.

    Again, make sure that you don’t use colored or glossy paper because it contains toxic chemicals.

  2. Before putting the shredded paper as mulch on your flowerbed, you first need to remove the weeds or use herbicide to get rid of them. You should also apply fertilizer on the soil to make sure that it remains healthy.

  3. Start applying shredded paper mulch on your soil once the new plants are already at least 5 inches tall. This means that the soil is warm enough for your mulch. You may also combine shredded paper with other mulch materials such as leaves and branches.

  4. Start applying mulch by spreading the shredded paper on the ground until it is 2 to 4 inches thick. You can use a rake in order to spread the shredded paper mulch evenly on the soil. Make sure that you overlap the pieces so that the ground is completely covered with mulch and no sunlight can penetrate it. In addition, you should keep the mulch away from tree bases, plants, and shrubs since these can die because of the mulch.

  5. Finally, cover the mulch with an inch of grass clippings. The problem with using too much paper for mulch is that it produces too much nitrogen. That is why it is important to also use other organic mulch materials to neutralize the effects of paper. Adding grass clippings on top of the mulch also adds to the neutralization effect, plus grass is a very good source of nutrients for your growing plants.

  6. If you’re not yet going to use your shredded paper mulch, you can put it in a mulch pile, together with other organic materials. Choose a location that is clear of any bushes and trees, but not too far away from where you are planning to apply the mulch. You may also create a contained place for the mulch by erecting a fence around it using chicken wire. Mulching bins are also being sold on the market.

The best thing about learning how to make mulch from shredded paper is that you can recycle the paper in your house and use it for your gardening needs. You can save a lot of money using shredded paper for mulch rather than buying ready-made mulch bags from gardening stores. Furthermore, organic mulch is much better than inorganic compounds, such as those made from plastic, polyester fabrics, carpet, or gravel.


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