underlayment in basic bed

Old 09-29-19, 07:07 AM
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underlayment in basic bed

I built a basic flower bed in front of the house with 4x4 posts. Inside there a few small globe arborvitae bushes that are already established. I dont plan on planting flowers between them and want to do little maintenance.

I was thinking laying gravel instead of wood mulch so I dont have to replace it for a long time.

What should I use for the underlayment?
Old 09-29-19, 10:31 AM
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Dozens of opinions I'm sure, but I would use mulch and not gravel. You will get strays in it regardless and getting them out of the gravel once they're gotten started can be a real chore. And some people do make a chore of mulch too I suppose, but it is about as easy to maintain as possible. Sprinkle some Preen or other pre-emegent on the soil first if you're so inclined, this will address the seeds that are already in the soil, put lay at least 3-4 of mulch, don't scrimp, and you're done. Next spring, take a steel rake or hand cultivator, whatever you have, scuff up the mulch, roll it a little bit to give it a fresh look, and it's done. Granted, we're in the country so maybe don't fuss over it as much as some, but have some areas that I would guess we don't spread any fresh mulch but maybe every three years or so.
Old 09-29-19, 10:43 AM
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I like to lay newsprint under the mulch to help deter weeds. Some like landscape cloth but weeds will come thru and are a lot harder to pull when they do.
Old 09-29-19, 08:14 PM
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Depending on whether you need to divert water, I would use plastic or landscape cloth keeping in mind the area around the plant which would need to be cut out of plastic for enough water to get to the roots of the plant. I understand your choice and prefer rock myself but make sure you're out there at least weekly pulling out the little plants that have started growing before they become difficult to remove.
Old 09-30-19, 04:52 AM
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I would be interested in using plastic but dont want water to pool in the bed. I sloped away from the house but i am assuming i would have to divert water to either side with plastic since it wont allow saturation.

Maybe thats more hassle than just simply picking a few weeds.
Old 09-30-19, 08:27 AM
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Rock beds are a pain, as noted they get full of leaves etc and that turns to dirt then weeds grow!

Mulch is much better, it holds moisture for the plants. You dont need plastic, newspapers, or fabric as long as you install 6" of mulch, has to be that thick to keep weeds from growing!

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