Paper Mulch Mat
Mulching Blackberries, Raspberries & Blueberries
Paper used as agricultural and
horticultural mulch has been tried many times in
We purchased some
paper mulch mat made up to 87-percent by weight
from recycled waste paper and post consumer recycled
paper that might otherwise go to landfill.
On July 15, 2007 we laid our first
paper mulch roll at Neal Creek. We have been
using paper mulch cut into discs for early weed control
and soil moisture conservation on tomatoes and
peppers. About June 15 we planted 5 each
blackberries, blueberries and raspberries as test
plants for determining if the varieties we have
chosen will do well in our location.
Photo Update July 30, 2007: In 2-1/2 weeks you
can see the vigorous grass growth
beside the edge of the paper mulch. No weeds in
the row. We have had about 2 inches
of rain in the past week including 9/10th of an inch
on Saturday night.
We suspended the roll which is 1 meter wide and 100
meters long (3'3" x 330 feet) from
the front loader on the tractor using an old steel
fence post as the arbor. The roll weighs
about 80 pounds (36 kilograms).
The tractor is positioned so that the roll will
unwind parallel with the row of
blackberry and raspberry plants.
Pam unrolls the paper mulch along the length of
The blackberries and raspberries are planted on 5
foot centers, so she is rolling out
about 65 feet of mulch mat.
The next step is to cut lateral slits into the mulch
and pull it into the row. Note that this
blackberry already has a disc of paper mulch around the
base of the canes. We put the disc
down the day we planted the berries.
The row of blackberries and raspberries is now fully
mulched, assuring no hand weeding and
good soil moisture conservation. You can see
the tops of the pins holding the mulch
down. Our creek bottom soil is very rich in
nutrients and is also about as rocky as
any soil anywhere. We broke 4 pins trying
to get them past the rocks.We completed the same process on the blueberries (on
10 foot centers) which are in the short row to the
right. We put some chipped tree limbs on top
of the mulch to provide some extra
protection against wind lifting the edges of the
mulch during the next big thunderstorm. We
will spread the chips along the edges of the mat.
Time to mulch 15 plants, about an hour.
You can see the results here from across the garden.
We are waiting for the neighbors
to stop by and ask what in the tar-nation are you up
One of the inestimable benefits of organic mulch
rather than the use of chemical herbicides
is knowing that these 4 almost ready to fledge baby
bluebirds which are in the top of an old
fence post between the garden and the berries will
not be exposed to poisons. And, when we
eat our first crop of berries, neither will we.
Note on the bluebirds: They fledged on Tuesday, July
17. Just got this photo in time!
Click here to see what we are doing for
organic weed control on pumpkins and vine crops.