Rock Versus Mulch for Landscape

Overview

Mulch comes in two basic types, organic and inorganic. What type you desire to use is mainly a personal preference. Both types will work, but both types also have their drawbacks and advantages. Knowing your garden's needs will help you decide which one is best.

Stone walkway. image by Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeremy Levine

Description

Stone mulch is inorganic. It consists of pea gravel and assorted sizes of stones. Organic mulch consists of pine bark, cedar chips and pine straw.

Differences

Stone mulch will not deteriorate over time. The stones might sink into the soil, but they will not break down. Organic mulch will break down over time and mix with the existing soil. It will add nutrients to the existing soil whereas rocks will not.

Advantages

Stone mulch has a long life and will need replacing less frequently. It is a good choice for walkways or drought-tolerant gardens. Organic mulch retains moisture and heat in the soil and is easier and lightweight to install.

Disadvantages

Stone mulch is harder to weed, if herbicides are not used. It will also retain heat and remove moisture from the planting area. Organic mulches have a shorter life and will need replacing annually. They can attract bugs.

Considerations

Consider placing rock mulch in areas where plants do not require much moisture, but desire heat and dryness. Consider using organic mulch in areas that require moisture and heat.

References

  • Using Rock and Organic Mulch
  • Information on Mulch
Keywords: rock vs mulch, inorganic and organic mulch, facts about mulch

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.