suggestions regarding red lava rock as a mulch?

    We are considering a load of red lava rock as a mulch for existing front lawn plantings and as a fill for areas to be targeted for planting in stage 2 of our GET-RID-OF-THE-DISFUNCTIONAL-LAWN campaign. Any pros and cons would be appreciated.
Naomi Glass Kirkland, WA, where it's pretty dry out there...
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How much will you be selling gas for, Naomi? :oP
Kidding, but in all seriousness in our area red lava rock= gas station landscaping.
Dave

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Some things to consider:
1. Heat trapping (lava rocks gets hotter than bark mulch or other organic) -- might make roots too hot 2. No soil amending abilities
As for #2, we have been using shredded mulch on our beds, and now have really nice black soil there. It has improved over the native clay wonderfully over about 5 years. When you go with rocks, this composting process doesn't happen.
On the plus side, I do think the rocks look nice, and you don't have to put on new mulch every year, as we do. But, we opted to apply the shredded mulch yearly for the benefits to the soil.
Hope this helps!
-- pelirojaroja ----------------------------------------------- "There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again."
-- Elizabeth Lawrence

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Some while ago I read the results of a study on soil ammendment from the top-down without churning or plowing. Top coatings of composted manures or mulching materials that break down in a single year, it turns out, don't just enrich the surface, but the nutrients do seep down, & in concert with root & worm action, soils are sustained at the highest quality to a good depth, even though never churned or plowed. Even in areas where trees naturally mulch the ground with autumn leaves, continuous improvement of soils occurs. Nature is just so fabulous, it so very often takes care of itself if we humans don't add some interfering ingredient. If gardeners despose of fallen leaves or lawn clippings, or cover the ground with barriers or undecaying mulches, we slowly destroy the soils in ways that cannot be fixed up by tossing peletted fertilizer around the place.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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