foundation perimeter landscape question

i have around my home, some shrubs, hedges and other assorted plant life.
i think the previous owner had some "mulch" in the areas where those plants were.
other areas have a lot of rocks, that, from one landscape guy told me, he didn't lay down a fabric, so the rocks just over the years sank into the dirt.
my question is, which is better ?
(a). to go with root mulch (not the wood type that termites love),
or
(b). rocks with a layer of anti-weed fabric underneath
i think the rocks are a better idea, because it "should" help water run off during storms... right ? i mean at least that's what i think rocks in a perimeter drain do. (house does have a perimeter drain system by the way).
but i have no experience with this type of stuff and am wondering what most people choose (and why).
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There's no one answer that's right for everyone and every area. Rock isn't going to do anything as far as letting water run off. The water is just going to go right through the rock and then through the landscape fabric, which is permeable.
Advantages to rock: You may like the way it looks and it's available in wide variety of types Doesn't require periodic renewal No termite issue
Disadvantages: Over time, dust, debris, wind blown dirt, leaf debris, etc will accumulate and some weeds will still manage to grow. When you want to add/remove a plant, it's a pain because you have to ty to pull back the rock, not get soil in it, etc It's not good for plants, particularly in hot, full sun environment
Advantages to mulch Retains moisture, better for plants Easier to work with when adding/removing plants
Disadvantages: Has to be renewed every few years. Possible terminte issues
Personally, I've had both and tend to prefer mulch.
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On Apr 4, 9:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Oh, and forget to add with stones, some always manage to make it into the lawn where they can be hit with a mower.
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On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 06:18:41 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I brought home about 15 - 20 bags a large bark for the landscape, bought it from the local nursery place.
Didn't realize I brought home an invading army of crickets! When we found them at night, having seen a few already I went on a late night spraying to kill them off in large numbers:)
Watch what travels home with you...

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crickets do no harm, and the chirping sounds kinda nice on a summer night......
i have thought about buying some big ones at the pet shop and releasing them in my best friends basement.
he has a hearing problem but it would drive his family nuts:)
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alt.home.repair:

Trader4 covered most of the issues. Here are a couple more: * The smaller the stones, the more trouble you'll have. Pea gravel moves a lot. The wind can blow it around. Baseball-sized stones stay put, and you can remove and replace them more easily when you have to replace the fabric in a few years. * Did I mention that the fabric will have to be replaced in a few years. You'll *love* that job. * Wind-blown dirt will eventually fill in around the stones. It's a pain to dig them out.
--
Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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Steve wrote:

It comes labelled for how long it is supposed to last. Ours is about 8 years old, doing fine, but it doesn't last forever.

A border is important to keep rock out of the lawn. I have seen med. river rock break glass on second story. As for water, the ground should slope away from the house, and water would run off rock more quickly (leass permeating the soil) during heavy rain. Landscape cloth lets through plenty of moisture and the rock keeps ground from drying too much for the plants. No heat issue that I have observed. I would not consider pea gravel,lava rock, nor sm. river rock. Lava rock ic crap. Med. river rock stays in place with leaf blower so you can keep most debris out of it; sm. river rock moves easily.
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mr smith wrote:

For mulch that you refer to first, if it isn't wood then, what? Bark? Bark lasts much longer but is worthless and blows around too much. Shredded (not chipped) cypress is my favorite because it holds moisture well and stays in place, even with leaf blowers. Thick enough, and fairly compacted, it keeps weeds down very well and keeps the ground moist..
We have used both cypress and rock around our condo. I have had to clean up the messes like you describe where folks used rock without landscape cloth. We used river rock, med. size, with landscape cloth where nothing else will grow, and placed pavers in it in places so my bare feet don't have to tred on rock to go to the faucet.
If you keep it clear of debris, then it won't support weeds. I had a few small plants that were not hardy, so I put them in pots and put the pots into the ground surrounded by rock. When the weather got too cold, I just pulled the pots to take them indoors and stuck them back in the hole when the freeze was over with.
Allegedly, pine needles make good mulch but didn't work for us. We have a lot of hedges, so the cypress was easier and more effective for us. If you have a lot of trees, you might want to shred the leaves and use them for mulch ... great for azaleas, rhododendrons. If you have a lot of room to fill, you might want to consider non-invasive ground covers, like hosta.
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Much enriches soil as it decomposes, mulch holds water and keeps dirt from drying, so you have to water less when its hot out, rock collects debris, sinks and makes replanting hard.
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I tend to use mulch if really needed, but most of the time I don't use anything other than dirt or maybe grass or other living ground cover. Overall I think people greatly over do the much thing.

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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

It does serve a purpose, but I don't like spreading money on the dirt :o) It can protect trees and keep maint. down by circling trees with it - keeps mower from having to cut too close and possibly injure the tree. Also, around plants, grouping of plants can shade the soil and accomplish the same thing that mulch does by making the ground too shady to support weeds. Can help keep plants healthy, as well, by retaining moisture. Organic mulch breaks down and helps fertilize, but initially takes up a bit more N in the decomposition.
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Speaking of mulching trees, the new trend here in NJ is to see yards where the mulch around trees is piled 2 ft high. I don't know if it's ignorant city dwellers moving in that do it themselves because they think it's good for the tree, or they like the way it looks or landscapers doing it out of ignorance or trying to get more money. I doubt it's the latter, as they could charge these people just about any amount for the job, regardeless of how much they actually use and they'd never know the difference.
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wrote:

And do they have any idea that it can cause damage?
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Joseph Meehan

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On Fri, 4 Apr 2008 20:25:59 -0400, "Joseph Meehan"

Recycled tires make good mulch. Pick your color.
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I used reground Bark. over landscape fabric 3 years ago. the weeding is minimal . I hardly ever have to water the plants, and I dont have to mow any grass. Frankly I dont understand your Statement about overdoing the mulch Some people like high maintenance yard work, I dont.
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It would depend on local conditions.
I believe I was specifically referring to those who pile up very thick much around trees. Around here they like to do it because we have a lot of crab apple trees and they like to put out suckers. Some how they think that more mulch will stop the suckers. What it does do is provide a hiding place for mice who can damage the trees. Thicker is not always better when it comes to mulch.
I likely use less than most people and I would not say that anyone who uses more than I do is using too much. But many seem to. I could not tell about your yard. I would suggest that if it makes you happy, then you are doing it right.
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Joseph Meehan wrote:

Everything I have read instructs not to let much contact the plant, because, as you say, it harbors pests. Also sometimes promotes fungus infection. A circle of mulch can help keep from injuring trunks with mowers and edgers. You are also right about not using it too thick, but thick enough keeps weeds down and too thin is wasted effort.

It isn't rocket science, but a couple of bags of bark scattered over a long row of hedges is useless and wasted effort. Far better to group plants and let them do the mulching :o)
Ground bark? Never heard of that. I believe ground nut shells are a good mulch, too, but have never seen them in stores.
We have lawn service do the mowing at our condo. Various lawn people have damaged the posts for yard lights, some being knocked over. Finally planted a small circle of grassy ground cover around each post. Looks nice, doesn't spread and mowers don't hit the post. Simple solutions to lots of lawn problems.
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