Straw mulch sucks

Weed free my a$$. Every year it does this. Not using it anymore.

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You mean seed free? Looks weed free to me but the hay obviously went to seed prior to being cut.


Now you don’t need to buy it next year. Just remember to sickle yours before seed.


Any kind of organic mulch will eventually have stuff sprout and grow thru it, in it…

To get better results with straw or hay you need to put down a nice deep layer every 6 to 8 months.

I can get hay at a reasonable price and have used it successfully for years


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I have been using cardboard and hay. The cardboard is finished by the end of the year and just turns to dirt. The hay is just to hold it down.


Perfect time to lay down some cardboard and find a local source for wood chips and leaf compost. Check recycling centers or waste transfer stations or tree removal companies, you might find a lot of chips for free


I’ve gotten tons of chips from those guys on the side of the road cutting. Many of them have to pay to dump them and are more than happy to give them to you.


You could do a hardscape with rocks but no mulch is weed proof but if your brave a weed torch and an adult beverage is a relaxing chore ( ONLY ON HARDSCAPE)

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The weed torch is purely for adding ash to the soil below, for fertilizer right? :wink:

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Eventually, sure. This crap starts growing a week after I put it down.

I don’t expect weed-proof but it would be nice if it didn’t make it worse than no mulch at all.

100% organic herbicide/grill starter

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Next time buy corn straw.

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Bought some straw from Lowe’s the other year that did the same thing. Looked like I reseeded the garden. I’m still fighting patches. Never again.

I will say - true straw, to my knowledge, is not supposed to have any seeds in it. Hay on the other hand, good luck. This sounds to me like whoever is supplying your straw is giving you a poor quality product.


Again… you have to put down enough…

Lay down a thin layer of wheet straw (which almost always has at least some wheat seed still in it)… no combine can perfectly remove all the grain. But if you put down a thin layer… it will suppress weeds for a short while (depending on how thin)… super thin, no weed (in this case wheet) suppression at all… get it on a good foot deep, after hard rain… and you will get some serious weed/wheet suppression for several months…

Hay (which I use a lot) is loaded with all kinds of seed… and when I put on a thick layer of deep hay mulch, absolutely nothing grows thru it or in it for 6 months +.

It depends on the location a bit… In a full sun location, the weeds will come on a little faster… but still in that 6-8 month time frame.

I planted some Josta Berries and Currants in a Morning Sun / Evening Shade location last year (half day morning sun only)… and gave them a deep hay mulch. Right now… there are still absolutely no weeds, nothing - growing up thru that deep hay mulch.

If you have things growing in half day to more shady locations… per my experience a deep hay mulch is very cheap and last a long time and does the job remarkably well.

If you use deep hay mulch in full sun locations… here at my Zone 7a Tennessee location, in full sun, a deep hay mulch will block all weed growth for a good 6 months… depending on time of year… possibly 8 months… then you will start seeing some stuff sprouting up in it, or thru it…

When that first start happening, for a few weeks you can just easily pull that stuff up, and just lay it on top of the mulch (it will compost too eventually)… but within a month or so of when you start seeing stuff sprouting or growing up thru the hay mulch… you need to lay down another good foot deep layer of hay mulch… then you are good for another 6-8 months.

In a half day sun or more shady location… you may well get by with only one application of deep hay a year. I did last year.

Good Luck !


PS – I created this deep hay mulch bed in Summer 2019, planted it spring 2020… this pic was taken 3/31/2021.


Straw is made from wheat and does have wheat seed in it. It’s a trick we use here to start a yard we shake straw all over the yard so that the wheat comes up quickly to stop erosion. We use brome hay as well to start a new brome patch sometimes. A good farmer waits until the wheat or brome seed is ripe to bale the hay or straw so they get the seed in the process. The seed is where the actual value comes from.

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PS… My Brother in Law… is a cattle farmer, has huge hay fields, and a huge barn he loads up with his own hay… and he still does the smaller square (well more rectangle shaped) bales.

In late spring, early summer, when he is getting ready to make his first cutting of hay for the year… if he still has several bales left in his barn from his last fall cutting…

Well he is ready to get that out of his barn, to make room for the new crop.

He makes me a real deal on it, and I come and take it off his hands (as much as I can store anyway).
Last year, he just gave it to me… which is a deal that is sure hard to beat.

So if any of you are considering using Hay or Straw for mulch in some situations… check with your local farmers, find out when they make their first spring cutting… and ask them about making you a deal on the old straw or hay that they still have in the barn. You might just get a real deal.

When they have new wheat or hay cut… that old crop they would really just like to get out of the way, to make room for the new.

Good Luck



If anyone is wondering the process of making straw this is how it is done. Wheat is the primary crop and the straw is the secondary crop. This video shows the easiest way to do it but around here It’s a much more labor intensive process.


What I would really like to do is get away from using any type of mulch that I have to apply on some kind of frequency… and do it the permaculture way… living mulch, ground cover crops, clover, mints, strawberries… true food forest style.

I have a nice long bed 4’ wide by 90’ long, with deep hay mulch, that is working great.

That is as long as I keep it up, pull weeds occasionally, put down new mulch every 6-8 months…

But that is not the true permaculture way at all… they call what I have “plants on display”… and I agree. I have my very nice plants, fruit trees, berry bushes, all shown off nicely, in a mulched bed.

Plants on display…

Where in a true food forest setup… you would have fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, ground covers… all living mulches. With everything working together to support the whole project.

I would really like to get there… some day.

Have any of you all done that ?

I think that would be the ultimate goal… self supporting, no help from me at all… doing it’s own thing, producing nicely, thriving, just like the forest does.