Ask a Question forum→Replace mulch with pebbles

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Boston
4dimad
Jun 4, 2018 3:19 PM CST
Hello, I would like to replace mulch with pebbles. Should I remove old mulch first or just cover it with landscape fabric? Thank you!
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 4, 2018 5:58 PM CST
Remove and replace mulch with pebbles? Where and for what plant??
It has been my experience on this site that replacing anything with pebbles is NOT a good idea.
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 4, 2018 7:58 PM CST
Neither is landscape fabric.

Mulch breaks down (and enriches the soil) and needs to be replaced every couple years. Pebbles keep the ground warmer in the summer, have no nutritional value and sink into the soil so need to be replentished periodically. But, in the mean time, instead of breaking down, they just make your soil rocky.

Here in the high desert, we use pebbles because the likelihood of them blowing away in the 60 mph winds is much less. Smiling (You can always tell a Pilgrim because they are the ones filling up their gardens with wood chips.)

Landscape fabric was invented by someone who wanted you to spend more money on your yard.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 4, 2018 8:44 PM CST
I happen to be one of the gardeners who like using landscape fabric, as long as it is heavy duty contractor grade. It has saved me countless hours of labor and kept my gardens looking good and almost totally weed-free. Others do not agree and that's okay. Thumbs up

I won't ask why you want to use stones in place of mulch. Your garden, your choice. nodding First, remove the existing mulch, remove any weeds, add 2 layers of heavy landscape fabric (that will keep the stones from working their way into the soil). Then use a pre-emergent such as Preen to prevent weed seeds from successfully germinating. Add an edging of some type to keep the stones in place. Then add your stones.

Not every plant likes to live with stones so I'll leave that for someone else to answer.

There are pros and cons to both mulch and stones.
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
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ctcarol
Jun 4, 2018 9:22 PM CST
In my opinion stone look great for a while. The problem is that debris eventually settles in them and weeds start to sprout. It's a lot more difficult to remove weeds from between stones than from bark/dirt.
Name: Rosie
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (Zone 7b)
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MISSINGROSIE
Jun 4, 2018 10:09 PM CST
I use stones on heavy landscape fabric..which prevents their migration.
I would remove the mulch if there is any level of thickness..a thin layer of mulch need not be removed...I think a thick layer would perhaps need more inches of stone to make it all look nice and level..not lumpy.

I don't use landcape fabric under mulch...the stuff lasts us a year and a half if we are lucky. This year I put down 146 bags of mulch (last count) ..our landfill is being expanded and so the shredded (no treated) hardwood mulch is not available by the scoop..as is our usual method.

The few weeds that sprout on stones have no footing and pull right out
I suppose you can use a spray to control ..I don't use that stuff ..we have a well

The stones are in shaded areas ..no heat issues..not sure about sunny spots.
I also use glass mulch .. very sparkly.. also landull... no heat issues even in sun..a quick spray of water keeps it sparkly. Lasts years on landscape fabric.. A quick spray of water also keeps the smooth pebbles looking fine.

We use a flexible edging to contain the stone and the glass ..

Different strokes for different folks and needs and conditions !! 😊
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Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
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MindiHammerstone
Jun 4, 2018 10:32 PM CST
I was recommended to use sand for my Zinnias. Helps keep the water in. Kind of looks nice. No problems with it.

😀

Mindi
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 5, 2018 4:15 AM CST
I use mulch and replenish orvtop dress every year. I have few weeds growing in my beds and as the mulch breaks down, the decomposition heats the soil surface in the beds.
It maximizes water retention.
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