Rock versus Mulch in full sun for landscaping?

Asked June 24, 2016, 11:09 AM EDT

Behind our house (south side) I have 3 dwarf alberta spruce, 3 spirea and inbetween I have a row of Boxwood. Right now the ground is bare dirt. The majority of this area can get 10 or 11 hours of full sun during the summer.
My husband and I are debating putting mulch or landscape rock down after putting a weed barrier fabric down. I've read that the rock will heat up the ground. I know mulch won't heat up the ground. The rock should last forever but, the mulch we will need to add every 2 years or so..

Thoughts on which to use?
I will use the same material around the rest of the house also. I have different plants around the house.
Thanks!
Tammy

Mahaska County Iowa

1 Response

I always recommend the use of organic based mulches such as hardwood shredded, wood chips, cypress, etc. as they provide a wide array of benefits:

  • Moderates soil temperatures
  • Helps maintain even soil moisture
  • Breaks down over time adding organic matter into the soil

This is to name a few and rock mulch will not provide these benefits to your plants. Rock mulch will actually increase the stress on your plants especially during hot weather and I never recommend the use of rock mulches around plants.

I recently wrote an article about mulching and you can read more about mulching and how to here;

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/abhps/eb382/entry_11457/