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Black Lava Rock

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Braca on March 12, 2006 12:52 AM
I was at home depot the other day pricing mulch and such. The guy there told me that you have to replace bark mulch every year or so. This struck me as odd but then I saw some black lava rock. Can I use this in place of bark? If so are there any special considerations or do I use it the same way? Will this limit what plants I can put in the bed and will it limit weeds as much as bark?
by Jiffymouse on March 12, 2006 03:04 AM
braca, the person at home depot is about half right. you will need to add to your mulch every year because the much is organic and will break down (which is good for your beds). But a total replacement is unnecessary unless it starts to show signs of disease or fungus.

that said, there are times when replacing it all is in order, even if all is healthy. those times are usually when you are wanting to clear out a bed for reorganization and/or redesign. then, you put the mulch in the compost bin to further get your moneys worth and to continue recycling.

now, about the lava rock. great idea except.

you generally cannot work in a bed that has rocks deep enough to deter weed growth, the rocks are just too heave, sharp, cumbersome, and will get in the soil and they do not break down. so the bed has to be "finished" before you put the rock down. however, using rocks in a bed in areas that have large foundation plants is great, because they don't shift as much and animals don't usually dig in them.

i hope this helps!
by Braca on March 13, 2006 03:14 AM
Thanks Jiffy. I guess lava rock might not be the best idea since I'm basiclly starting from scratch and am not sure what to do yet.
by Jiffymouse on March 13, 2006 11:27 AM
if you are starting from scratch, you definitely want to go with the bark. it is so much easier to work with, and if you decide you dont like the look, much, much easier to remove/relocate. just make sure you get the natural color stuff. that painted stuff isn't good for your garden.
by SpringFever on March 13, 2006 10:49 PM
Yep used the rock before.. would never use it again.. It is really sharp!! and hard to work with and I don't like gloves.. Real pain in the neck.. but that is just my opinion

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