Shredded paper as mulch?

goofyisgreen(Z8 PacNW)April 7, 2010

I'd like opinions or suggestions regarding the contemplated use of shredded old papers (business 8/5 x 11 with either inkjet or laserjet ink) as mulch or a soild amendment in the garden.

Is this advisable or inadvisable, and why? Will the inks cause any problems (papers are between 5 and 15 years old)? Also, how will/would adding this type of mulch or soil amendment affect the nutrient availability & content of the existing soil, particularly as relates to N-P-P and the trace minerals?

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I would not try using shredded paper as a mulch because much of it would blow into my neighbor's yards.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:22AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The Bottom Line
 Newspaper and cardboard sheet mulches can be effective for annual beds if they are properly
 Sheet mulches can prevent water movement and gas exchange if they are too wet or too dry.
 Use site-appropriate mulch materials. Permanent, ornamental landscapes, non-maintained sites,
and restoration areas are not appropriate locations for newspaper and cardboard sheet mulches.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Myth of Paper-Based Sheet Mulch

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 4:38AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Shredded is a different application than sheet mulching. I see no harm in the addition of shredded paper in the soil other than maybe the ink toxicity, if it exists. Whether the ink is bad or good is what the OP is asking. That, I don't know. If the ink is good I see no harm in it though.
I have never used paper as a mulch or additive. It seems like a lot of work for a little organic gain. My paper goes in the recycle bin.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 7:14AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Will still pack down like grass clippings and have other characteristics of paper.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:28PM
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PDX east wind will unpack it, unless it has transformed to paper mache'.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:29AM
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goofyisgreen(Z8 PacNW)

Thanx for the responses. I will weigh them all before acting, although I'm leaning against, just was hoping I could get something beneficial after the shredding machine.

Into the recycle bin, it looks like.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:45AM
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shredded paper makes an excellent addition to a compost pile, and especially worm bins. Its a good source of carbon when leaves or straw isn't available.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 4:19PM
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goodbyekitty(Zone 6 Wa/Sunset 3)

I can see it used in a compost pile. I used some shedded paper once for a banana plant. I could see something wasn't right with the plant so I dug it out.

The dirt and paper it was in was so hot and saturated it freaked me out probably as much as the poor banana plant! It responded well after I changed the soil.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:16AM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

goofyisgreen .....

Google "The Dark Side of Lasagna Gardening"

In regards to paper use in the garden, and what it means to recycling.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:44AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Bboy I said I didn't see any harm in the addition to shredded paper IN the soil, not ON it. It can be spaded in, for instance.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 8:14AM
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