In more recent years though – and especially in more populated regions like the New Hampshire Seacoast and New England areas we live in – rock mulch has become just as popular as organic material and with good reason. Both can help your plants grow and both look great. So which one is for you? That’s what we’re here to do today.
Here are the pros and cons of using Rock Mulch and Organic Matter:
- Super growth: Mulch has the ability to practically double how fast plants grow. If you’re looking to plant a newer plant – it’s probably the way to go.
- Less water: The primary function of mulch is to help decrease the amount of water evaporation in the soil. That means less time (and money) spent watering your plants.
- Temperature control: If organic mulch does anything outstanding, it’s the ability it has to regulate a plant’s temperature year-round. As a result, less stress is put on the plant over the calendar year and through the shifting seasons.
- You have to change it: If you really want your plants to get the most out of mulch, you have to replace it every year. Which means it’s an expense you’ll have to pay year after year.
- You have to manage it: Remember the old saying that too much of a good thing is bad? Mulch falls into that category. No more than 2-3 inches. Anything more can place undue stress on a tree.
- Too early/Too late: If you mulch too early, you can slow the warming of the ground. Do it too late and the mulch is far less effective at preventing weeds from germinating.
Rocks in your Garden
- Super low maintenance: You’ll never have to replace them
- Low cost: Because you don’t have to constantly replace them, they’re going to cost considerably less than organic mulch.
- Demolishes weeds: Weeds not only go away faster, but they stay away!
- No real benefit to the plants, themselves: Sounds kind of odd, right? It’s not that they don’t HELP plants in a figurative sense. They certainly do. What they don’t do is directly pass on nutrients like organic mulch does.
- They get really hot. They also get really cold: Forget temperature management. Especially when they get hot, they not only heat the plant, but they heat the soil. And the hotter the ground, the dryer it gets. The dryer it gets, the more water it needs.
- Be mindful of your pH: Trees usually thrive in solid with high levels of acid in it. Rocks tend to alkalize the ground – and too much of that can have a negative effect on the soil.
So what’s ‘better?’ If you ask us – organic mulch is better insofar as looking to get the best results possible for your plant. But it’s not a failsafe against problems as well as having a lot of shortcoming of its own that you’ll have to manage – especially the price. Rocks are a great, low cost alternative and we’d certainly encourage you to use them over no mulch at all!