1. Collecting materials from the lawn. If you need to gather grass clippings to mulch your garden, or round up leaves for composting, place a tarp on the ground and rake the materials directly onto it. Once you get a good load on the tarp, just drag it where you need to and dump the materials by flipping or rolling the
tarp over. If you happen to load the tarp to the point that it’s difficult to drag away, use a rope or chain to tie the tarp behind your riding mower/tractor (if available) and sip a cold beverage as you ride away with your organic bounty in tow. No more repetitive stooping and lifting to load lawn materials in a wheelbarrow!
2. Trimming shrubs. Place a tarp directly under the plant(s) that you’ll be pruning. As you work, most of the cuttings will automatically fall on the tarp below. When you’re through pruning, just drag the tarp away. No more picking up the pieces after pruning!
3. Truck Bed Liner & Unloader. The next time you haul bulk items (mulch, manure, gravel, etc…) in a pickup
truck, line the bed with a tarp before you load in the material. That can save a lot of time and cleanup. Because, when you unload enough of the material that what remains on the tarp is at a manageable weight, you can empty the rest of the truck just by pulling the tarp out. No more tedious shoveling or sweeping to
4. Compost Cover. There may be times when you want to cover your compost pile with a tarp; either
to retain moisture and help keep the outside of the pile from drying out, or to exclude moisture by preventing rain from saturating the pile.
5. Plant Protector. If you use a pickup truck or trailer to haul trees and shrubs home from the nursery, cover or "wrap" the plants with a tarp before you head off down the road. That can make a huge difference in getting your new investment home safely, by preventing the leaves and stems from being shredded by highway winds. Just be sure that the tarp is tightly secured, as a tarp that's left to "flap in the breeze" can cause mechanical damage if allowed to whip against the plants.
Note that for the first three items I listed, you’ll be subjecting the tarp to some abuse by dragging it around. I
recommend using an old tarp that’s already “seen better days”, unless you don’t mind putting some wear-and-tear on a newer tarp.
What other gardening or landscaping uses have you found for a tarp? Please share your tip(s) by posting a comment on this blog.
blog entry by Mark Murphy, CMG