To help control weeds in garden beds between my plants I have put newspapers down on the ground and added a layer of mulch over this.

I have also done this where there are trees in the garden beds (an Autumn Blaze maple and a Japanese Lilac).

I am wondering if it was a good idea after all when it comes to the trees.

As well as making fertilizing more difficult, I'm afraid that the additional layer of newspaper will prevent some water and nutrients from going into the ground and may restrict oxygen going down to the roots.

Should I remove the newspaper layer? Could it be detrimental to the trees?

1 Answer 1


Newspaper is not anything like impermeable to water or oxygen, and will break down naturally in a fairly short time - I would anticipate no issues whatever from a layer of newspaper, unless it was thicker than 1/2 inch or so of paper (and I'm not sure even that much would be much of an issue.)

Trees, in general, are not in much need of fertilizer, and are more often damaged by a well-meaning excess than a lack of it.

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