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Tired of Mulch, looking for something longer lasting. I know there is no perfect solution for this, a miracle rock that will never sink into the ground and block out all weeds. What else is everyone using for around their bushes?
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In my area, some people use pine straw.

I use mulch. We have hot summers. The mulch keeps the roots of my shrubs cool in the heat. Also if we sometimes get dry spells during the summer. The mulch helps maintain soil moisture. I have looked at rocks but they don't retain the moisture, don't keep the soil cool and don't prevent weeds.

PSU
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Mulch, then wait for the bush to shade the ground. After the bushes get some size not much of a mulch refresh is required. Mulch is good for the plant year-round too.

glh
Get 40 to 60 yds hardwood much each year
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Get 40 to 60 yds hardwood much each year

Mulching a football field?

PSU
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Right now my mulch beds are full of thriving weeds. :)

Now that my taxes are off at the CPA and I can start cleaning out the beds and I’ll be watching for posts on alternatives.

Lucky Dog
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Right now my mulch beds are full of thriving weeds. :)

Nothing seems weed proof however I've never been a fan of mulch, termite attraction, loses its color quickly, looks nice for about a month etc.. Probably going with some stone.
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It depends on the plants. If they are acidic luvin' plant, similar to blueberries, peatmoss minimies the weeds in the blueberries. But few plants like this...


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Nothing seems weed proof 

No but preen can help in beds where you aren't using seeds.

AC *Costco sells a huge container*
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Nothing seems weed proof

~~~

Concrete is, basically...


ww.fact.pl

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Up here in NH I get black "lightly oiled" mulch. Works like a champion. Only need 6-8 yards for a decent 1/2 acre lot. Landscape fabric can be easily put down after raking off old mulch in areas that got weedy before. Don't need to do it every year either. Red mulch will also work. But like has been said, stone over dirt doesn't do the job.
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Use mulch as needed, some of my beds only need it every other year. Do extended release preen a couple times a year. Have one bed that gets plenty of free mulch from my neighbors pine trees. Only place I use rock is around our raised vegetable beds and that is primarily to make it easier to work/walk around. Do have a weed barrier underneath which works like a charm and have in a few other beds as well.

JLC
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In May 2019, on a visit at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, a 127-acre botanical garden and historic site, located in Arcadia (an adjacent city east of Pasadena), I noticed that in the large rose garden area their landscape crew was quickly and efficiency installing what they called “Lasagna Mulching” - a version of sheet mulching with used cardboard that the Arboretum created in 2014 during the five-year (2012-2016) California drought to conserve water, suppress weed growth and rebuild topsoil. The crew’s supervisor told me that after laying down all the cardboard, they would wet it down and then covered it with their mulch material to get it a finished look. The rose beds were dripped irrigated and I don’t remember the supervisor’s answer to my question if the drip lines would be installed atop or below the cardboard cover.

Here’s a good installation article about the LA County Arboretum’s Lasagna Mulching.
4/25/2020 Cardboard makes fine meal in lasagna mulching
https://www.pressreader.com/usa/san-diego-union-tribune/2020...
Excerpt:
Lasagna mulching is kind of a miracle, the closest thing to an easy fix for lousy garden soil, suppressing weeds and rebuilding our disappearing topsoil.

Added bonus: The vital starting ingredient — cardboard — is available for free, in mass quantities, from grocery stores, dumpsters and recycling bins.

Not convinced? Just check the lush growth at the L.A. Arboretum’s Crescent Farm, where six years ago a group led by artist-in-residence and interpretive horticulturist Leigh Adams converted nearly an acre of compacted old lawn, overrun with nut grass, into a croissant-shaped, water-wise garden of edibles, native plants, wildflowers and trees.

Arboretum botanists were a little dubious too, in the beginning, said Adams, a 70-year-old sprite with purple glasses and hair, “but now the county has claimed this as one of its best management practices. It’s really gratifying to have that change take place while I’m here.”

————————

In October 2016, the Arboretum reported its comparative soil analyses of lasagna sheet mulch versus original unamended, bark mulch and Hugelkulture.
Soil Analyses at the Crescent Farm at the Arboretum
https://www.arboretum.org/crescentfarm/soil/soil-science/
——————————-

Here are other recent applications.

• 2/18/2022 Sheet Mulching with Cardboard-Do's and Don'ts
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=5160...

• 3/1/2014 Break up with your lawn, use cardboard to say goodbye with no regrets
https://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/news/break-up-with-your-lawn-u...

——————————————-

I have 21 rose bushes in my yard with drip irrigation, but have not yet tried the Lasagna Mulching method. I use a granule form of rose fertilizer with systemic protection that must be worked into the top soil. Next season, I plan to switch to a liquid fertilizer and might try lasagna mulching.

Prior to the 2012-2016 California drought, for my vegetable garden, I would buy a bale of straw that I would spread several inches high around the base of vegetable bush plants that worked quite well suppressing weed growth and conserving water moisture. But during the disastrous 5-year drought, I completely stopped vegetable gardening. In spite of an ongoing 2020 to present California drought, in Spring 2021, I decided to try vegetable gardening which did well through the summer without any water restrictions. Using straw, during the peak heat of summer up to 98 degrees, my vegetable plants could go 2 or 3 days without any watering.

But in September 2021, due to drought conditions throughout California, the Governor declared a drought emergency and requested for water users to voluntarily reduce usage by 15% for Stage 1, compared to 2020 water consumption. There are 6 stages with increasing percentages. In response, my water company filed with the California Public Utilities Commission its Water Shortage Contingency and Staged Mandatory Water Conservation and Rationing plan to its tariffs for all its customer and service areas that mandated the following for Stage 1:

• Outdoor irrigation is restricted to 3 days per week.
For addresses ending in even numbers (0,2,4,6,8), watering days Sunday, Wednesday, Friday.
For addresses ending in odd numbers (1,3,5,7,9) watering days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

• All outdoor irrigation must occur between the hours of 7 pm - 8 am.

• Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in the installation of a flow restrictor device along with associated fees for installation and removal.

There's a long list of no no's, e.g., use of potable water for washing hard-surfaced, non-porous areas like buildings, structures, sidewalks, walkways, driveways, patios, and tennis courts.

Anyway, this 2022 season using straw, I believe that I can get by with the Stage 1 restriction of 3 days per week for outdoor irrigation of my vegetable bush plants. BTW, although the straw has seeded stalks, very few, if any, of these seeds have germinated.

Regards,
Ray
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Hi imuafool,

After reading all the articles, this cardboard mulch sounded interesting but it seems more to be a weed/grass killer and soil builder, not something I would use around shrubs.

In the first article, they talk about building layers totaling 8 to 18 inches of various organic materials from grass clippings, leaves, wood/bark chips, manure, etc on top of the cardboard layer with optional additional cardboard layers.

It is more like a compost pile, spread out, to create a future soil to plant into.


Gene
All holdings and some statistics on my Fool profile page
http://my.fool.com/profile/gdett2/info.aspx
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I had lousy soil in my front and back yards and used the lasagna method last fall to improve the soil. Put down a cardboard layer with a thick layer of arborist wood chips on top. The wood chips have been decomposing over the winter.

This spring I'm following up in the front yard with the addition of a walkway along the driveway and installation of a rain garden to collect water from the downspouts on the front side of the house. I have a layout from a local landscape designer for planting this area which will start in a couple of weeks with an large order from a local native plant nursery. In the end, this area will have no grass and a variety of native plants to support local native pollinators. Since the plants I am using are native to the area and acclimated to our wet winters and dry summers they will require minimal irrigation after the first year.

The back yard is on a holding pattern right now and will likely not be redesigned/planted until 2023. It's a happy hour gathering spot for friends during the summer and currently referred to as The Backyard Bistro.
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Concrete is, basically...

I want to do this! Seriously just some concrete water fountains 3 of them that flow on into the other. That would be amazing.

I simply have 3 beds in front of the house on a slope enclosed in wood ties (rectangles) and tired of the mulch.
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concrete water fountains...3 beds in front of the house on a slope enclosed in wood ties (rectangles) and tired of the mulch.

Simplest? If there are shrubs in those beds, pull out the wood ties and rake out the mulch, leave a little semicircle of mulch just under the bushes, and plant grass (shade tolerant if its a shaded.)

Or put peastone, color of your choice around those fountains and the shrubs, after raking out the mulch and putting down landscape fabric to keep the weeds down, and done.
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I tried using cardboard for mulch in my garden path, and ended up with a broken wrist! We're on a 8% slope, and no one told me that the cardboard would be as slippery as ice when it gets a bit wet.
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Ended up with some nice white/grey rocks, looks nice and I'll just have to spray and pull some uglies every few weeks I guess.
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I want to do this! Seriously just some concrete water fountains 3 of them that flow on into the other. That would be amazing.

I simply have 3 beds in front of the house on a slope enclosed in wood ties (rectangles) and tired of the mulch.


3 or 2 questions for you. How much of a slope? How far apart are the beds? And maybe a few more later.

FYI, we bought out palatial estate north of N’Orleans in 1990, an older house with on 4.77 acres including a tennis court, pool, pond, stable and out buildings (interesting history about the property - area, yes). One of my first outside projects was to put in a 3 X 12 foot raised bed for tomatoes enclosed by landscape timbers. Durn near killed myself digging through the 3 or 2.5 foot surface layer of clay to get drainage for that bed.
;-(
Over time, I rented a Ditch Witch and ran water & electric lines from the house & pool house to the tennis court, detached garage, etc., etc. and learned that treated wood doesn’t last more than 15 or 10 years down here among other things.

Anyhow, to make a long story a bit longer, I was in Lowe’s a year or two ago (yes, I own stock) and found what I would call “tree skirts”, semicircular brown “plastic” panels that would be placed around trees, bushes, etc. instead of mulch. They would have to be water-permeable unless one runs drip system feeder lines under them. You might check around at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. for something like that.
;-)

C.J.V. - if I was 60 or 50 years younger, I’d start a company to make them, me
;-)
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