The Cardboard Method of Weed Killing


Weed control is a constant battle in many home gardens. Getting rid of weeds in a new or overgrown bed may seem like more effort than it's worth, but there are ways to simplify the process. Standard mulches prevent some weed growth, as the weed seeds cannot access the light they need to germinate. A cardboard mulch is an inexpensive way to kill out the weeds in a large area. Since cardboard is too thick for many weed plants to penetrate, it also helps choke out any existing weeds, as well as preventing seed germination.

Step 1

Break down cardboard boxes so they lay flat. Cover the bed with the cardboard sheets, overlapping the edges by 5 inches so weeds can't grow between the seams.

Step 2

Water the cardboard until it is thoroughly soaked.

Step 3

Cover the cardboard with 8 inches of straw mulch or wood chips. The additional mulch layer prevents any weeds that do penetrate the cardboard from reaching maturity. Allow the mulch to settle for one week.

Step 4

Cut holes through the cardboard and plant your seedlings in the holes. Alternatively, apply the cardboard the year before planting so most of the weeds are completely killed by the spring planting season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some grasses may still penetrate the cardboard. Pull these immediately so they do not compromise the effectiveness of the cardboard against other weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Mulch


  • Cornell University Extension: Soil Basics
  • University of Missouri: Establishment and Care of Herbaceous Ornamentals
Keywords: cardboard weed management, using cardboard mulch, preventing weed growth

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.