Carpets and the organic garden

Question ...

Our allotment committee has decided to ban the use of all carpets for mulching on plots. We are having a debate here about the use of carpets and whether you would agree with banning all types, and what are the reasons for this change in opinion?

Answer ...

Our guidelines for gardeners on the use of carpet as a mulch have been reviewed (Oct 2006) and we no longer recommend using any carpets in this way. It was felt that where previously we advised that only natural fibre carpets could be used, many carpets now are treated with moth repellents and fire retardants. Even if you know the fibre content of old carpet you are unlikely to know what other treatments it may have received that may pose a problem especially if the carpet is left in place to decompose. It therefore makes sense for us to advise against using all carpet on the garden or allotment and to recommend the many other safe alternatives such as cardboard over newspaper, weed control fabrics and permeable mulch matting that can be reused to keep areas covered when not in cultivation.

Garden Organic members can see our factsheet about Mulches: weed prevention and control for more information.

Garden Organic members can see our expert factsheets for further advice on organic gardening. Access to factsheets requires a members' password.