Mulching With Cardboard Just Got Easier

Not all cardboard boxes are built the same. Learn which boxes are best at suppressing weeds and killing grass.

| June/July 2014

Large Cardboard Boxes

Large cardboard boxes from refrigerators and large appliances are easier to break apart and apply as mulch than smaller boxes are.

Photo by Fotolia/leungchopan

Mulching with cardboard and newspaper is a classic method for suppressing weeds and grass. However, I found out the hard way that finding and breaking down dozens of cardboard boxes is tedious. Plus, weeds and grass grew between my cardboard sheets by mid-June.

One day I lucked out and scored two big appliance boxes — one from a hot-water heater and one from a refrigerator — and both were thicker than the smaller boxes I had previously used. The boxes didn’t allow any light to penetrate, and it took much less time to lay them out. Often, stores have to break down their own cardboard and some even pay for its removal, so this could be a win-win for both parties!

Belea Keeney
Apex, North Carolina

8/6/2016 11:15:27 AM

I used the heavy cardboard from refers in the bottom of my raised beds. Soon after built we had a VERY heavy rain and all 4 beds became ponds. I had to punch holes in the cardboard to allow the water to run out.

dairy goat


Aug. 5-6, 2017
Albany, Ore.

Discover a dazzling array of workshops and lectures designed to get you further down the path to independence and self-reliance.