Will cardboard mulch attract termites to my yard?

arrowleaf(z6 NJ)April 30, 2012

We just put in new, raised vegetable beds, and there is now grass growing around them. I read that we could put a layer of wet cardboard down, then put straw on top of that for the paths between the beds (the cardboard is to block the grass and weeds). But someone else told me that laying down cardboard on the ground was like an invitation to termites, since cardboard is like half-digested wood to them. We just moved here, and have a lot of empty cardboard boxes we could use, but I don't want to attract termites, because after they finish the cardboard they may want to move into the house!

Can any knowledgeable Entomologists tell me if this is a valid concern?


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The termites that you have in New Jersy eat dry cellulose, not wet, so any cardboard (it does not necessarily need to be wet when you lay it down) you put in contact with your soil will become wet and of no interest to any termites you may have around.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:32AM
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arrowleaf(z6 NJ)

Thank you so much, that's a big relief to know!!!!!!
(Gardenweb is wonderful!)

- Arrowleaf

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:35AM
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I had the same question but I'm in Miami converting my lawn to a mulched space. I used vinegar to kill the grass and thought of putting down weed sheeting then mulch to top everything off. I do not intend to plant anything else there. Would I still need newspaper or cardboard. Don't want termites.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 5:16PM
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The reason for using either newspaper or cadboard is to deprive any plants growing under that material from getting the sunlight they need for growth. Deprive them of that sunlight and they will die. If there is no growth, or if the mulch material is dense enough to do that then there is no need to use newspaper or cardboard. So if you put down a 6 inch layer of mulch that should deprive anything attempting to grow under it of sunlight.
The primary reason for using newspaper or cardboard is to enable one to use less of the quite expensive mulch material then would other wise be necessary.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Thanks much.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 9:33AM
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