How long should I wait to plant after sheet mulching and killing the grass?

Asked June 4, 2018, 4:52 PM EDT

I want to sheet mulch my lawn so that I don't have to mow, and to create a native plant garden. If I sheet mulch it in June (cardboard, dirt/compost, then bark mulch), when should I plant? Would some plants be better to plant in the fall, and then others wait until spring? Or should I plant some things immediately after sheet mulching?

Ottawa County Michigan

1 Response

Most native plant professionals suggest that weed control prior to a planting go through a full growing season (spring, summer, fall) and many use glyphosate (solarization can be an alternative). This is done to help exhaust the weed bank (built up weed seed in the soil). In the case of your sheet mulching the cardboard and bark can inhibit weeds but it can also inhibit drainage and cause other issues. Check out these links: https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/newspaper-mulch.pdf

https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/bark-mulch.pdf

When to plant will depend on whether you are seeding or using plants. Plants could probably go in early summer but irrigation is probably more vital. Avoid the heat of late summer. Planting through the cardboard will probably be necessary. A late fall seeding is usually successful especially if the seeds need stratification. Check out native plant nurseries online for additional preparation and growing information. (https://www.mnppa.org/members.htm)

I hope this is helpful,