Is Gravel Still Mulch?

Every year you see truck after truck going down the highway loaded to the hilt with ground hardwood bark mulch. It’s a yearly ritual and rite of Spring, to re mulch the Landscape Beds. But does it have to be hardwood mulch?

Lately there is a trend toward using other materials that don’t have to be re-done each year. Gravels are extremely popular, low maintenance and in the long run cost less over the lifetime of the Landscape.
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Advantages of gravel mulchs

1) Less expensive over the years.
2) Doesn’t have to be refreshed each year.
3) Is available in as many colors as hardwood mulch.
4) Will stay put in rain and wind better than hardwood mulch.

Disadvantages of gravel mulchs

1) Higher initial expense than hardwood mulch
2) More labor intensive to place, it’s much heavier and harder to handle.
3) Bagged decorative gravel mulchs are much more expensive than hardwood mulch.
4) If you don’t keep in contained with edgers or some type of restraint, it will creep into the lawn and can be thrown by mowers.

So consider a decorative rock, washed rock from a gravel pit, or even creek gravel if you have a creek nearby that you are allowed to get it from. It can change up the landscape from monotonous brown mulch. You don’t have to do it all at the same time. Do part of the beds this year, then convert the rest next year. Or just go half and half. Either way, it’s a good substitute for wood mulch.

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