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Lava Rock For Landscaping

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Lava Rock For Landscaping

When looking to transform your landscape you have many different options available to you. At times the options can seem overwhelming, however taking the time to learn about which products are truly best for your needs will allow you to love the end result. We’ve found that many homeowners and contractors in Bergen County are unsure of the differences between mulch and lava rocks and which is best for their landscapes. We’ve decided to delve into each option and provide our thoughts on each product for use in your flowerbeds, walkways and around plant life. Overall they’re both great options that can add unmatched beauty, however they both provide unique benefits that you may find meets certain needs best. Benefits of Mulch in Your Landscape There’s a reason why mulch has been so popular with gardeners throughout the years – it’s effective. A layer of wood chips can work very well as a barrier against the sun, preventing moisture in the soil from evaporating. At the same time, mulch is able to absorb and retain water, slowly releasing it into the earth and surrounding plants. This stops water from flooding the vegetation, while still guaranteeing that plants receive ample moisture. As an organic compound, mulch also breaks down and decomposes over time. This process replenishes the soil with nutrients and promotes healthy vegetation. Keep in mind that in areas subject to high winds or foot traffic, it’s smart to use an edging material around the mulch to prevent it from blowing away. Benefits of Lava Rocks in Your Landscape Gardeners who are looking for a more permanent solution for their mulching needs are realizing the advantages of lava rocks. These unique stones are rough and porous, which enables them to quickly absorb and retain both moisture and heat. This is good for two reasons. First, the lava rocks are acting in much the same way as mulch – blocking moist soil from the sun and retaining additional water. Secondly, the stones can hold warmth from the sun during the day and then redistribute it into the soil during the cooler evenings. This helps to maintain consistent soil and plant temperatures. One of the benefits that lava rocks provide over mulch is that they don’t decompose, which means that they don’t need to be replaced every year. They also tend to be heavy enough that they won’t blow away during storms or when using a leaf blower. We do recommend placing the stones either 1 inch below the ground’s surface or using an edging material to avoid displacement in areas with heavy foot traffic. Lava Rocks vs Mulch: Which is Right For You? Once you can see the benefits of both types of materials, you begin to realize that the debate of lava rocks vs mulch isn’t quite so cut-and-dry. Both can be used effectively to promote plant health, but there are a few factors that may impact your decision. Above all else, you need to consider the needs of the plants and vegetation you plan to have. If your plants are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations then lava rocks may be the better option. It’s also important to consider the look and feel that you want to portray. Some people prefer the more natural look and feel of mulch when compared with lava rocks. We recommend visiting your local landscape supplier to see both products if you’re unsure of which you think you’ll like best. Once you’re there you can speak to local experts about which they recommend and why. This should help you find the perfect match. Braen Supply is one of the largest landscape suppliers in northern NJ, including Bergen County. We’ve been assisting customers with their lava rock and mulch questions for more than a decade and would love to speak with you about your upcoming project. We have lava rocks and mulch available at wholesale prices and for bulk delivery and pickup across all of NJ, NY, PA & CT.
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Lava Rock For Landscaping

Red lava rock, technically called scoria is a colorful addition to a garden; some suppliers also sell black lava rock, which garners its visual impact from texture, alone. The red coloration is formed during eruption due to the oxidation of iron. A favorite for desert landscapes, lava rock will work best where it mirrors the surrounding terrain or is designed to be a standout feature, such as an island bed. Relative to other rock mulches, lava is lightweight, so less costly to transport and less onerous to move into the garden for spreading.
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Lava Rock For Landscaping

Pros for Gardeners Red lava rock, technically called scoria is a colorful addition to a garden; some suppliers also sell black lava rock, which garners its visual impact from texture, alone. The red coloration is formed during eruption due to the oxidation of iron. A favorite for desert landscapes, lava rock will work best where it mirrors the surrounding terrain or is designed to be a standout feature, such as an island bed. Relative to other rock mulches, lava is lightweight, so less costly to transport and less onerous to move into the garden for spreading.
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Lava Rock For Landscaping

Rock mulches don’t break down as quickly as organic mulches, but lava rock can wash or blow away if you use it in exposed locations. New Mexico State University Extension specialists recommend installing lava rock at least an inch below sidewalk level to reduce its movement out of planting beds. Despite being lightweight, lava rocks can damage mower blades if pieces end up on your lawn. Even if they remain where you place them, lava rocks’ sharp edges make the material difficult to work around, so it is best used in permanent plantings or other locations where maintenance tasks are minimal.
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Lava Rock For Landscaping

Cons for Gardeners Rock mulches don’t break down as quickly as organic mulches, but lava rock can wash or blow away if you use it in exposed locations. New Mexico State University Extension specialists recommend installing lava rock at least an inch below sidewalk level to reduce its movement out of planting beds. Despite being lightweight, lava rocks can damage mower blades if pieces end up on your lawn. Even if they remain where you place them, lava rocks’ sharp edges make the material difficult to work around, so it is best used in permanent plantings or other locations where maintenance tasks are minimal.

Lava Rock For Landscaping

Lava Rock Lava rock (also called scoria) is either red or black, and has a porous texture, which makes it stand out visually from other inorganic mulching materials. It’s lightweight in comparison to other gravels, so it’s easier to install. A popular choice for landscaping in desert areas, as it mimics the natural terrain, it’s also perfect for highlighting features like an island bed or walkway.
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Lava Rock For Landscaping

Mulching serves a critical function in temperature and moisture moderation. Lava rock absorbs heat during the day and releases it during the night. Rock mulches generally slow evaporation from the soil, although if days are warm, dark mulch means higher temperatures, with faster evaporation. If installed with a fabric weed barrier underneath, lava rock creates an effective weed suppressant.
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Lava Rock For Landscaping

Pros for Plants Mulching serves a critical function in temperature and moisture moderation. Lava rock absorbs heat during the day and releases it during the night. Rock mulches generally slow evaporation from the soil, although if days are warm, dark mulch means higher temperatures, with faster evaporation. If installed with a fabric weed barrier underneath, lava rock creates an effective weed suppressant.

A layer of mulch, whether organic or inorganic, gives your landscape an attractive, finished look. Lava rock is one of many commercially available inorganic mulching materials. Inorganic mulches won’t add nutrients to your garden or improve soil characteristics, but have the advantage of lasting longer than organic materials. The relative permanence of inorganic mulches makes it important to weigh if a material such as lava rock is a good choice for your mulching needs.
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Aesthetics are an important component of mulching. If you are concerned about curb appeal for enhancing real estate values, consider that red lava rock may be unappealing to some — and if you don’t like how lava rock looks after you’ve installed it as mulch, it is difficult and costly to remove. The rocks can also be used by neighborhood vandals to scratch graffiti onto surfaces.
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Cons for Real Estate Aesthetics are an important component of mulching. If you are concerned about curb appeal for enhancing real estate values, consider that red lava rock may be unappealing to some — and if you don’t like how lava rock looks after you’ve installed it as mulch, it is difficult and costly to remove. The rocks can also be used by neighborhood vandals to scratch graffiti onto surfaces.
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Both lava rocks and mulch can retain moisture in the soil, resulting in less frequent watering. Unlike rocks, bark and other organic mulches improve the soil quality as they break down. Lava rock helps provide optimum drainage to a bed, making it a suitable choice for low-lying areas that collect water or for plants that prefer drier growing conditions.

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