Carol S Newman John E Short RULH Elementary names ‘Go Green’ Students RE/MAX Local Experts opens in Williamsburg RULH wraps up ‘No Shave November’ fundraiser Eleven indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Donald C Vance John C Morris Rebecca E Simpson Hot start sets pace for Broncos’ 85-40 win over CNE G-Men get off to 1-1 start Lady Rockets start off season with tough string of road games Basketball Special: 2017-18 Katherine J Wolfe Virginia J Germann Rev Commadora Manning Mona K Kirker Ohio Rural Heritage Association donates to Food Pantry RULH FCCLA attends meeting in D.C. RULH MS students try ‘Tabletop Twitter’ Ripley Village Christmas update Bonita Planck Carol J Wagner Christopher O Richey Sr Five new members to enter WBHS Athletic Hall of Fame Blue Jays ready to soar under Woodward Fischer named to OPSWA All-Ohio First Team of football all-stars High school girls’ hoop action kicks off in Brown County Formation of new joint Fire & EMS District discussed RULH students learn about ‘Global Food’ Personal financial management class at RULH High School Dale G Ferriel John E Slack Nicholas A Arthur Bonnie J Roush Charles E Faul Phyllis A Mills Carl L Watson Marc W Bolce Robert R Moore Robert K King June R Williams William T Ishmael Sr Deborah J Napier High school hoop action begins Fayetteville SAY Girls Wing Soccer Team finishes season among state’s Final Four Devils visit Georgetown for OHSAA Foundation Games Grandfather charged in boy’s death ‘Real Money’ at RULH Middle School Ripley High School celebrates Veterans Day Reward increases for information leading to conviction in Stykes’ murder Ripley Village Christmas update Kenneth M McKinley Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Aberdeen Police Department receives ‘Shop With a Cop’ donation Benefit to take place Nov. 17 for Grace Copple St. Michael students take part in Community Soup Supper Voters return Worley to the bench Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber RULH NHS welcomes new inductees K-9 Units and handlers visit RULH High School EMS members honored for service Road work on Ripley streets to begin Russell K Wolfer SHAC recognizes volleyball all-stars SHAC cross country all-stars take home awards Eastern girls finish runner-up in SHAC golf standings Week 10 football roundup Kathleen J Bright Sister Marjean Clement Veterans Service Office Moves RULH MS students hold first Science Club meeting Bald Eagles spotted 2017 Celebration of Lights being planned Carlos L Beck Georgetown XC teams qualify for regional championship meet Warriors advance to Div. II Regional Meet Lady Rockets reach end to successful volleyball season Week nine football roundup Lady Warriors regional bound Amy J Caudill

Is stone mulch better than wood mulch?

Our garden center sells quite a bit of bulk stone mulch, particularly to landscapers who do commercial projects. Washed river stone of one-inch (pebbles) and two-inch diameter (cobbles) has been popular for many years in places like office parks and fast-food restaurants, because it reduces the need for regular weeding and mulching for the first few years after it’s installed. Personally, I would never use it on my own landscape, however it’s worth a discussion of the pros and cons.

Stone mulch should always be applied over weed barrier fabric. If care is taken to keep it free of organic debris like grass clippings, dirt, leaves, bird droppings etc. it will remain weed-free for several years, and won’t need re-mulching each year like wood mulches. It keeps its color, doesn’t wash onto pavement or lawn areas, and looks quite sharp in certain types of plantings. But is it good for plants?

Let’s assume that, before planting and mulching, you take the trouble to thoroughly till your beds. We call this “adding air” or “making fluffy dirt”, and it’s the secret ingredient for healthy plants. Spreading stone mulch adds tons and tons of weight on top, quickly squeezing the air out of the soil and suffocating plants. Simply spreading weed barrier fabric on hard-packed soil and cutting planting holes in it isn’t healthy for plants, and their growth will be restricted.

Years from now, once stone mulch has become polluted with wind-blown weed seeds, it will be twice as hard to pull the weeds. Some stone mulches, particularly lava rock and white marble chips, are only practical in very clean setting like pool decks and parking lot islands. Lava rock attracts clippings and debris like Velcro. Once the stone is dirty and full of weeds, the fix is to dig up and remove tons of stone. It can’t be simply tilled into the soil like wood mulch. Colonizing perennials and groundcovers won’t take over and cover it.

We like to say that whatever you add on top of your landscape each year, that’s what your soil will become. Some wood mulches, pine bark in particular, are very beneficial to plants and improve your soil over time, provided you don’t put a layer of plastic fabric between the mulch and the soil below. Weed barrier fabrics will prevent existing weeds or sprouted weed seeds from coming up, however they do nothing to prevent windblown weed seeds, bird droppings etc from sprouting on top of the mulch. They also prevent the natural process of soil mixing with mulch, so mulch will pile up on top of the fabric and have to be removed.

So, what’s the answer to weed control in landscape beds? First and most important, prepare your beds by killing all the existing weeds and grasses beforehand. Glyphosate (Roundup) will kill most weeds in a week or so. Stubborn weeds like wild violet, nutgrass, ground ivy and clovers may need special weed killers. Only when every last weed is dead toast is it time to till and plant. After planting, you need to apply enough mulch to smother any leftover weed seeds. The best weed control is complete darkness, so three inches of mulch is a minimum. Then you need to renew your mulch every year in March or April, before weeds start to take over.

Sound complicated? Then perhaps stone mulch over weed barrier fabric is for you.

Steve Boehme and his wife Marjorie own GoodSeed Nursery and Landscape, located 9736 Tri-County Highway, near Winchester. More information is available at www.goodseedfarm.com or call 937-587-7021.

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