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Discussion Starter #1
I have prepared my landscaping beds by the house for it's final stages, mulch. I am torn between the lava rock or traditional treated mulch. I see pros and cons with both. The problem is that I have already put down $50.00 in landscape fabric only to learn that you shouldn't use it with mulch. I really don't like the ideal of using nothing under the mulch because of the weeds.

I am leaning toward lava rock but I have the following concerns: heat retention, lack of nutrients for plants, harder to clean out grass clippings, leaves etc. I would really like to hear any of your experiences with either or both. Anybody have any regrets with the lava rock? That is the one that would be the harder fix should you want to change it. You would have to haul it off where wood chips would just dissolve into the ground.

I know that lava rock is 3 -4 times the cost of mulch too. But I assume that the rock would be no maintenance for several years. Thanks
 

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Went through this dilemma also coming into spring. Had mulch around the front of our house and really wanted to use lava rock. Actually I thought along the same lines as you in that it would be maintenance free for several years. I figured it would be easier to blow the leaves out from around the bushes in fall, as in using my leaf blower I always blew alot of the mulch off around the bushes doing cleanup. Hated that and thought ok, the lava rock won't budge.
But yes, the lava rock is more expensive and due to budget constraints I went ahead with the mulch again this year much to my dis-appointment. As for the landscape fabric, I don't understand why it would be recommended not to use it with mulch. I've had it down for years and never a problem :).
 

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Shop = My Therapy
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I always put fabric under mulch. I am not a big fan of rock of any kind as mulch. It never seems to stay where it should and gets into the grass. Then the mower throws it across the yard. Mulch is a little more work, but it think it works btter and I like the look of it better.

IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I was told that the fabric can hold in too much moisture and cause the wood mulch to mold or rot. In addition, when it breaks down it has no place to go except lay top of the fabric. Since I have already put down the expensive fabric, if I go with regular mulch I will cut it out around the plants so they roots can benefit from the nutrients when it dissolves.
 

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Each has good and bad points as noted. We use lava rock for a couple of reasons. First, I don't like the added fire hazard of having wood chips around the house. We don't smoke but others do and too often I've seen smoldering mulch from discarded cigarettes. Second reason is there is a red rock pit about six miles from us and I get a dump truck load for $30.00. Takes a few years to use up one load.

Mike
 

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Mows Too Much Gr***
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Others have brought up great points regarding both materials. I really like mulch because to me it's a more natural look, and if you want to change plants or any of the landscaping it is MUCH easier. Once the rocks are down, they're down, baby. The previous owner of our house went crazy with rocks in every bed, lava rock, white rocks, rocks of all kinds. Talk about a REAL pain to get rid of. But if you really like rocks go for it hahaha
 
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