I'm in Florida, and with termites it is only a matter of time until
they eat wood or other cellulose. Even PT. Depending on the size of
the area, the local conditions and your landscape plan, there may be
much better alternatives. Shredded cypress is really nice, compact so
it doesn't blow away, holds moisture, etc. In some areas around our
place, landscape fabric and river rock work well and look nice. Gotta
edge it so's the rock doesn't get into the lawn and get blasted by the
mower. Landscape cloth, as opposed to plain old plastic sheeting, is
water permeable and allows drainage and water to access plant roots. I
have a couple of small areas of rock where I first dug a hole in which
to place pots, laid down the fabric and rock, put the pots in. If
tender plants are going to freeze, I just pick up the pots and bring
them in the house; put 'em back out when weather warms.
Some leaves work very well - live oak leaves are great under our azaleas
and help produce the acid soil the azaleas need. Also keep from filling
up the dumpster.
Give more details about locale, plants, size of area, etc. Some
groundcovers (like hosta) help eliminate the need for mulch.
If you use a woody mulch, have to be careful to keep it minimum 6" from
wood parts of structure with clear area between so's you can spot mud
tupes if termites are on their way.
I was looking at rock, but the local quarries of my area have no nice dark
red rock. I don't think i want to go Lava rock. Looks as I will have to
get lots of bags of rock from lowes. I estimate 60 bags for under my deck,
which comes out around $240, and that does not cover the flower bed/
retaining wall I am putting in tomorrow($700 in materials). And of course I
have to fill in the flower beds with good soil and then my "mulch" selection
Use plants that fill the space, either clumps or spreading varieties
so's you don't need as much mulch. Shredded cypress is nice between
small plants, but filling the space with plants can be easier. Get to
the library and the garden center for ideas. Perrennials, like hosta,
fill space, don't require much care, and eliminate the need for mulch.
Mulch should not contact the plant - should be 3-4" bare soil, esp
around woody shrubs and trees. Stone isn't good if mixed in with a lot
of small plants.
River rock - the 2" or so size - is nice for areas that are difficult to
plant because it is easy to clean off with leaf blower. Lava rock and
bark is crap because it blows around.
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