Has any one tried adding newspaper to soil as you would add compost, leaves
or for that matter peatmoss?
Is there anything that makes newspaper less attractive than other organic
additives (assuming that the inks are biodegradable)?
When Newspapers are suggested by many as great weed barriers, when added
into the soil, why would newspapers not help improve the soil texture-
especially clay soils?
Please share your thoughts/.
I haven't researched it extensively, but I think everything in current
newspapers is okay. I've heard stay away from colored sections, but it's
hard to avoid. As far as ink, supposedly now they all use soy based
carriers and organic dyes. I haven't seen anything about the environmental
impact of the dyes, only that they are now organic (as opposed to
containing heavy metals). Black ink is typically/aways(?) carbon black, so
you should be okay there. Regardless, I would still stay away from
Here is a industry manufacturer's page that I saw earlier, although I don't
think it's same address, it looks like the same content.
(it's not in Spanish)
Further down, it says: The typical pigments used [in newspaper ink] are
Phthalocyanine blue for cyan, Lithol Rubine for magenta, and Diarylide
yellow for yellow.
Since newspapers are mostly cellulose, they will take a while to break down
especially if packed against hard clay soil (I think anaerobic
decomposition will take much longer than aerobic) and so if you want faster
results you probably should use something different, like compost or
gypsum. On the other hand, fluffed up newpapers make good homes for
insects such as earwigs, so if you can coax them into crapping out their
daily rummagings in a suitable place, that might be something.
I've used 8-layer newspaper in quite a few places around my yard --
mostly to expand existing beds and reduce lawn space, but in a couple of
weedy, overgrown, neglected corners as well. The soil in these areas
were hard enough that I didn't want to make an effort to dig or till.
Not excessively full of clay, but too compact to plant in as was. I
scalped any grass or weeds, placed the newspaper, and covered.
The places where I covered the newspaper with just bark mulch took about
a year for the newspaper to decompose into scraps small enough to not be
recognized as newspaper. The places where I covered the newspaper with
soil or compost the newspaper decomposed similarly in about six to eight
months. Because of oddly shaped beds, and liberal overlapping, I did
have some places where I had pieces big enough to discard (in the
compost bin) when I dug holes for planting.
Overall, I have to say that using newspaper has been the best thing I
learned from this newsgroup. It comes ahead of shredding leaves and
using them as a winter mulch only because that one was pretty obvious.
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