Get Growing Blog

A Helping Hand from the Community

May 20, 2022


With an upcoming project and a desperate need for cardboard we reached out to local businesses, and they delivered.
Mulch can be a great tool for controlling weeds in the garden, but sometimes when weeds are particularly tricky to control, mulch alone may not be enough. Cardboard can be placed in the garden and then mulched over providing an extra layer of control.

Figure 1: Cardboard ready to be covered with mulch

The Norweb Tree Allée at The Holden Arboretum consists of a .3-mile walking path and two huge garden beds. Together these garden beds span approximately 1700 square yards. These beds are being covered in cardboard and then mulched to control weeds. As you can imagine covering huge beds like this takes a lot of cardboard!

Figure 2: The Norweb Tree Allée

At the Holden Arboretum, we like to tackle large projects as a team. Everyone in the Horticulture Department comes together from their respective gardens and lends a hand. Working as a team is fun, and it really helps get work done fast. When Sommer Tolan, the Horticulturist in charge of the Tree Allée, and I decided to bring the team in to help us cover and mulch this area we quickly realized we had a problem. We needed more cardboard! After searching around the arboretum and asking all our coworkers to bring in any cardboard they have, we still didn’t have near enough. Then we had an idea; we would ask some local businesses to donate cardboard that they would otherwise throw out or recycle. We called around and the response we got was amazing. The business owners were happy to share their cardboard with us, and even went out of their way to help us load our vehicles. The employees were very interested in our project and glad to be able to contribute. We collected eight truck loads of cardboard from five different stores and made considerable progress on the Tree Allee and it was all thanks to the generosity of these businesses: Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Heinen’s, Buckeye Chocolate, and Earthquaker devices.

Nicholas Chilson

Nicholas Chilson


Nick Chilson is a Holden Arboretum Gardener in the Rhododendron Discovery Garden and Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden. He began working at Holden Forest and Gardens March 2022.

Here’s more to explore

View all

What can we help you find?

Return to site

Debug info for popularity tracking: Disable within popularity-tracking.php file once ready.

Time: 1695600000 / Saved: 1695600000

Views (7 day(s) ago): 1

Views (6 day(s) ago): 1

Views (5 day(s) ago): 2

Views (4 day(s) ago): 1

Views (3 day(s) ago): 1

Views (2 day(s) ago): 1

Views (1 day(s) ago): 1

Views (Today): 3