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Inorganic Mulches

Inorganic mulches, often made of stone or plastics, tend to stay in place, do not rob the soil of nitrogen, and do not harbor weed seeds. However, they have numerous disadvantages when used in the garden. Over time, stone mulches can migrate down into the soil making future digging difficult. Light-colored stones can reflect heat onto plants, scorching sensitive plants. Stones also tend to work free of beds and can be thrown by lawn mowers, potentially causing injury. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage, however, is that these mulches do not contribute organic matter to your soil. Contact Nolasco-Inc. at 954-772-7394 or 954-974-0512. to discuss the mulch that is right for you.

bulletCrushed stone, gravel, volcanic rock. These mulches are available in a wide variety of textures, colors, and materials and are used in rock gardens, driveways, and walkways. Think carefully and be certain you really want this type of mulch before putting it in place, because these mulches are more or less permanent. It is best to underlay these mulches with landscape fabric to reduce movement of stones into the soil. Once gravel becomes mixed with the soil, it is nearly impossible to remove. Many gravel and stone mulches are made from limestone and cannot be used around rhododendrons, mountain laurels, and other acid-loving plants. When leaves, twigs, and other debris fall into coarse rock mulches, they are difficult to remove and can make the mulch considerably less attractive.
bulletPlastics. Plastic works well for keeping weeds down and retaining soil moisture. Although it prevents water from leaving the soil, it also prevents it from entering the soil, making it unsuitable for landscape plantings that depend on rainfall for their water supply. Plastic is best reserved for vegetable gardens, where irrigation systems can be placed under the plastic and bare spaces left between rows to allow water entry into the soil.
bulletGeotextiles. These are fabric mulches of polypropylene or polyester. They work much as plastic does, but allow water and fertilizer to enter the soil. For the best weed suppression, choose closely woven geotextiles. Generally, the fabric is placed on weed-free ground and covered with another mulch, such as wood chips, to improve its appearance, keep it in place, and reduce damage to the fabric by the sun's rays. With these mulches, it is important to remove weeds as soon as they are noticed. Otherwise, roots can grow right through the fabric and become difficult to pull. 


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Copyright 2002 Professional Quality Tree Service; Nolasco-Inc.
Last modified: January 13, 2003