What is Rock Mulch?

You might be aware of the wonders of mulching and how it protects your lovely plants but have you heard about rock mulches?

Are you considering switching to rock mulch? What about its maintenance or its cost? this article answers all of your questions.

Rock mulch is small pebble to golf ball sized rocks that are placed in your garden beds instead of mulch. It is great for weed prevention.

Now some of you might be unaware of the different types of mulches there are and its benefits.

Well, mulches are materials that are spread over the soil to protect the soil and the seed from the effects of water and temperature additionally it improves the fertility and the health of the soil and helps in the conservation of water.

Mulches may be organic or inorganic in nature.

What are Rock Mulches? 

Rock mulch is a type of inorganic mulch that consists of small stones, crushed rock, pea gravel, and small stones. It is used to cover the soil to prevent muddy conditions and discourage weeds from growing. 

They are mostly used for their decorative nature. It varies in size from a pea-size to a golf ball. They are sourced from river beds and are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.

So if you are concerned about how your bark, straw, or wood mulch decays and destroys the look of your garden or flower beds may be switching to a rock mulch might be the best option for you.

However, please be mindful that your soil may need additional application of fertilizers as rocks do not add anything to the soil. 

Why Should you Switch to Rock Mulch?

1. Low Maintenance: Rocks do not degrade easily therefore maintenance isn’t an

issue for rock mulches. Moreover, replacing of rock mulches can be done after 4

to 5 years of initial application. Thus, it is a low-maintenance option.

2. Lower Cost and Easy Availability: Rocks are long-lasting therefore less

expensive than organic mulches which take almost 1 month for preparation

itself. They are also easily available and are comparatively inexpensive.

3. Non-Flammable: Dry organic mulch can be a potential hazard in hot and dry

areas where wildfire is an issue. Rocks are inflammable and can be a very good

replacement for organic mulch.

4. Weed Repellant: Rock mulches keep persistent weed from growing. Thus,

keeping your garden or flower bed clean. The lack of weeds will also give your

plants longevity and healthy life as they won’t have to compete for nutrients.

5. Wind-Resistant: They are excellent at preventing soil erosion in windy areas.

Moreover, in areas that do receive a lot of rainfall rock mulches are excellent at

decreasing the velocity of rainwater will help in preventing water erosion of


6. Perfect for Rock and Cacti Gardens: Rock mulches can be an excellent option for

rock and cacti gardens. They will not only help in the beautification of the garden

but also act as a great mulching agent for your beautiful plants.

7. Variety: You can choose from a variety of rock materials to beautify your garden.

Moreover, you can choose different types of stones for different parts of the

garden. This will give your garden a unique look.

Types of Rock Mulch

1. Decomposed Granite

Decomposed granite is available in over 30 colors. It can be bought as rough stone or as a finer material that has been crushed and screened depending on its use.

It is versatile, easy to install, easy to maintain and aids in draining. It is formed when hot magma or lava cools and solidifies to form igneous gravel.

When the crystals undergo natural weathering and break into small pieces, it becomes decomposed granite.

  • Natural Decomposed Granite: This form of mulch provides the soil and the

surrounding plant life with small amounts of nutrients. Additionally, it will keep pests

away and last longer than other varieties of mulch. You can use it in that part of the

lawn or garden where grass and other plant shave difficulty growing.

  •  Decomposed Granite With Resin: These kinds of rock mulches are found in

playgrounds, pathways, and some driveways. It is easier to install and remove and

can withstand regular traffic. It is more permeable and a natural-looking form of


  •  Decomposed Granite With Stabilizer: This type of mulch is used to build

pathways or even patio surfaces.

2. Pea Gravel

This form of rock mulch is used as a decorative alternative to concrete in driveways, pavements, and patios. This doesn’t deteriorate easily and won’t spoil the look ofyour lawn.it comes in a wide selection of natural colors.

Moreover, it is easy to work with and less expensive than other types of rock mulch. The stones for this rock mulch usually comes from river stones that have been smoothed by flowing water. Pea gravel is mostly naturally sourced.

3. Lava Rock

This type of mulch is a good option for maintaining the soil temperature and moisture level. It absorbs the heat of the sun during the daytime and releases it at night. Its capability of regulating the soil temperature helps it retain moisture levels in extreme environments by slowing down water evaporation.

They are mostly placed in yards with matching surrounding terrain, mostly in desert terrains. As the name suggests it is made when the lava from a volcano cools and solidifies.

The rock is then collected and broken down into stones for better transportation and use. It is lightweight and easy to spread around the garden.

4. River Rock

This type of rock mulch is very useful when your property is suffering from a drainage problem. This helps by diverting the excess water away from the garden. Many people use this mulch to build creek beds.

The formation process of this mulch is similar to pea gravel. However, these rocks are larger, round, smoother, and flatter whereas pea gravel is smaller and consistently uniform. They are mostly used for walkways or pathways for adding a sophisticated, defined look to your garden.

Bottom Line

With so much to choose from choosing the right mulch can be a difficult task. However, if you remember certain questions like what are you using the rock mulch for? How much time are you going to invest to upkeep and maintain rock mulches?

Or are there any issues that need to be solved by applying rock mulches? If you have the answers to these questions, there is absolutely nothing that you need to be worried about while choosing the right mulch for your lovely plants!

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