mulch - Knowledgebase Question

Naugatuck, CT (Zone 5B)
Avatar for fanzutti
Question by fanzutti
July 24, 2005
I have just planted a perennial garden my back yard. (connecticut) (heather shrubs, shasta daisys, perwinkle and black eyed susans.)
the area gets a good four hours of sun a day. I have a load of pea gravel to use as my mulch but I am concerned that using pea gravel as the mulch will heat the ground too much and dry out my plants. Should I use the cedar mulch instead or does it matter. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks so much.

Answer from NGA
July 24, 2005
In my experience it is always better to use an organic mulch in a flower bed. A finer shredded material or even chopped rotted leaves will work well. It will break down over time and help feed the soil, and when you dig and divide your plants or re-arrange them it is much easier to brush aside the organic mulches. The gravel will work down into the soil making it difficult to dig whereas a little of the organic mulch does no harm if it slips into the hole or is worked into the soil. And, as you mentioned, the gravel holds heat both summer and winter and can stress your plants as a result.

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