Landscaping Pros and Cons of Rocks vs. Mulch

Mulch is very beneficial to your soil and plants, and it can also be used as a decorative material when landscaping plants and trees. But how do you know what kind of mulch is best for your landscape? You have a variety of different options, largely split up into organic and inorganic mulch. Rocks are an example of inorganic mulch – materials that don’t rot and break down like traditional mulch.

So, which one is right for you? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of rocks and mulch.

Why should you use organic mulch?

Organic mulch like bark, leaves, and grass cuttings break down over time and add nutrients to the soil it is covering. This is beneficial to your plants, shrubs, and trees because it feeds them and helps them to grow faster. A study even found that mulching can almost double the growth rate of your plants.

Mulch also helps your soil health and plant growth by stopping weeds from growing, so your plants have less competition for all the nutrients and water in the soil. Plus, the barrier mulch provides prevents the water in the soil from evaporating, leaving more available for your plant roots to absorb. This means you won’t have to water your plants as frequently.

Mulching is important over winter, too, because it helps to protect your soil from frost and raise its temperature. At the same time, it helps to keep it cool in the summer, so your plants should also be at the optimum temperature.

Why should you use rocks?

Rocks have many of the same benefits as organic mulch. The main difference is that they do not add nutrients to the soil and, therefore, don’t aid the growth of your plants. When it comes to raising the temperature of the soil, rocks can also do this too much and cause the soil and plants to overheat.

One benefit of rocks over mulch is that they will rarely need replacing. Organic mulch will need replacing every one or two years due to decomposition, whereas rocks don’t have this problem. This can also make them more cost-effective. Although rocks can be slightly more expensive to buy, they will last much longer.

If you live in an area where wildfires are common, then rocks also have the added advantage of being inflammable, as opposed to organic materials like grass and leaves.

Rocks are popular not just for benefitting the soil, but also for decorative purposes. Rocks are perfect for around water features and statues, and for creating rock gardens and fire pits.

Depending on what you’re using mulch for, rocks can be a great alternative, and there are lots of different varieties to choose from. You can browse our selection of natural stone at Stratford Landscape Supply online.