stones instead of mulch?

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  #1  
Old 06-13-05, 01:59 PM
Mom2Z
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Question stones instead of mulch?

Is it OK to use decorative stones to cover an entire flower bed instead of mulch? I'm tired of replacing the mulch every year and we've had problems with termites so I don't want to use the mulch near the house anymore but I don't want the flower bed to just be dirt. Will covering it with stone kill the plants (shrubs/evergreens and perennials) or will everything still thrive?

thanks,
Catherine
 
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Old 06-13-05, 09:00 PM
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You surely must keep mulch from touching the house to avoid termites. I never replaced mulch, I just add to it. Adding stones will increase the heat for the plants because the stones will retain heat and warm the plants thusly. This may not bother your plants. It depends upon the plant.
 
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Old 06-14-05, 02:43 PM
Mom2Z
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Question Another question

Thanks for your response, Chris, but now I have another question. The area the flower bed is in is mostly shaded. It only gets morning light. Since the stones will keep the area hotter can we now plant flowers there that require lots of sunlight. Or does the added heat of the stones not replace the required sunlight?
Thanks!
 
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Old 06-14-05, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mom2Z
Is it OK to use decorative stones to cover an entire flower bed instead of mulch? I'm tired of replacing the mulch every year and we've had problems with termites so I don't want to use the mulch near the house anymore but I don't want the flower bed to just be dirt. Will covering it with stone kill the plants (shrubs/evergreens and perennials) or will everything still thrive?

thanks,
Catherine
Catherine,

Both stone and mulch have their pro's and con's. My short story follows.....


Down here in Florida I haven't had great success with mulch, I never have a problem with it breaking down and having to add more since it usually washes out during our Rain and Hurricane seasons

After fighting the lost mulch battle.. I had decided to go with stone and as the other post suggested, it can cause your plants roots dry up from the heat collected from the daily sun. This can also be true for beds that may butt up to concrete walks and asphault driveways. But how much it will be effected is determined by the zone you live in and the types you have existing now or plant.

I chose lava rock since it was pourous and cool to the touch even in full sunlight. But cost and what your tastes are will determine what you choose.

I'll also comment on the last post by saying that rocks warming up your beds, will only do exactly that, warm up your beds

Plants requiring more sunlight for photosynthesis, will not get any benefit from the warmth stored in the rock bed.
 
  #5  
Old 06-14-05, 06:25 PM
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The stones will warm the plants more than otherwise. This should not bother most plants. I just mentioned it in case you have some tender plants there.
 
  #6  
Old 06-14-05, 06:39 PM
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chfite,

I guess I shouldn't have made it sound like the stone will burn up most plantings. Hope it's not percieved that way, just that the beds do require more moisture now than before


Wish I could just go back to good 'ole pine needles here, they worked Great. And with them always having to be cleaned up in the yard they were my favorite type FREE. They do look a little to rustic for most yards here.
 
  #7  
Old 06-15-05, 09:34 AM
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If you like the look of mulch but don't like having to put a new layer down each year you can look into recycled mulch. It looks like real mulch but is recycled rubber so it lasts for many years. It is more expensive than regular mulch but worth the investment.
 
  #8  
Old 06-18-05, 01:40 PM
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I've never been a fan of rock mulch. The rocks collect leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Over time, they tend to look rather messy. My favorite mulch has always been cypress. It can be easily cleaned up with small rake and fluffed up to look fresh. More can be added on as needed to freshen or dress up the beds. Wood mulches break down and are good for the soil. They conserve moisture better than rock mulch. Rubber mulch is a newer, more permanent type of mulch. Depending upon the color selected, temperature around plantings may be a concern. All mulches, though, seem to have their pros and cons.
 
  #9  
Old 06-23-05, 02:34 PM
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i agree with 12pole - growing up, my mom used those rocks instead of mulch, and every fall we'd have to sift through it all picking out all the leaves & sticks & twigs & whatnot, but try to leave all the rock. what a pain. much easier to just rake out leaf debris and not have to worry about throwing away good rocks - if you accidentally rake up some mulch, no problem - you were going to add a fresh layer anyway to keep the depth 2-3" (it will settle & decompose a bit) and the color fresh (it seems to fade & look dry after a season).

what about cedar mulch? will termites eat that too? i thought it was a natural insect repellant? no?

one comment about the lava rock - i'm not a fan, although it's attractive. that was in our landscape at our first house, and it's so lightweight, that during a hard rain, it tended to float away!!!
 
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Old 06-23-05, 04:07 PM
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I Guess none of you have ever used a Propane (LP) tourch like a Big Bertha.
We used those in every commercial job with stone. Burns everything that you don't want to bend over and pick up. Works like a charm and I've even used the smaller wand style to do the beds at my home and my 3 rental properties.

Have to agree with you that lava rock is light weight, but through the last 4 hurricanes here in SW Florida, Charlie boasting the largest winds here of 93mph I haven't lost a single stone due to wind, and also with the flooding of my yard and drainage ditches all stayed in the beds. Mind you they have to come over 1" of lip from the boarder.

I forgot about the newer rubber mulch, what a concept. Wish I would have thought of it!!!
I will have to look into that when I finish my summer home in Wisconsin. any choice you make will have it's pro's and con's.
 
  #11  
Old 07-04-05, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by poolspapro
chfite,

I guess I shouldn't have made it sound like the stone will burn up most plantings. Hope it's not percieved that way, just that the beds do require more moisture now than before


Wish I could just go back to good 'ole pine needles here, they worked Great. And with them always having to be cleaned up in the yard they were my favorite type FREE. They do look a little to rustic for most yards here.
Has anyone ever seen pine needles available for purchase?

By the way poolspapro, have you moved? Is that why pine needles aren't available to you any longer?
 
  #12  
Old 07-04-05, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole
I've never been a fan of rock mulch. The rocks collect leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Over time, they tend to look rather messy. My favorite mulch has always been cypress. It can be easily cleaned up with small rake and fluffed up to look fresh. More can be added on as needed to freshen or dress up the beds. Wood mulches break down and are good for the soil. They conserve moisture better than rock mulch. Rubber mulch is a newer, more permanent type of mulch. Depending upon the color selected, temperature around plantings may be a concern. All mulches, though, seem to have their pros and cons.
I'm not too familiar with cypress. Don't they breakdown like wood mulches?

Thanks.
 
  #13  
Old 07-04-05, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Annette
i agree with 12pole - growing up, my mom used those rocks instead of mulch, and every fall we'd have to sift through it all picking out all the leaves & sticks & twigs & whatnot, but try to leave all the rock. what a pain. much easier to just rake out leaf debris and not have to worry about throwing away good rocks - if you accidentally rake up some mulch, no problem - you were going to add a fresh layer anyway to keep the depth 2-3" (it will settle & decompose a bit) and the color fresh (it seems to fade & look dry after a season).

what about cedar mulch? will termites eat that too? i thought it was a natural insect repellant? no?

one comment about the lava rock - i'm not a fan, although it's attractive. that was in our landscape at our first house, and it's so lightweight, that during a hard rain, it tended to float away!!!
How does cedar mulch differ from cypress? I looked at a few pictures of each on the internet and they 'seemed' to look quite similiar.
 
  #14  
Old 07-07-05, 03:48 PM
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Hey iowa -

I don't know if the big box garden centers carry it in your area, but pine needle mulch (we call it pine straw in this area) is readily available in NC.....
 
  #15  
Old 07-08-05, 08:11 AM
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i never cared for any decorative stone buy a family member had it done last year and it looks great. no idea what they have besides slight color to it and most are 1 - 1.5 inches in diamter (they are oval and rounded).

i just put small stone under my kids swing set to alleviate replacing mulch every year.
 
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