Mulch comes a variety of organic and stone choices. Each one provides a different look for your landscape. This segment discusses the advantages and disadvantages between the two types.

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Which is Best, Organic or Stone Mulch?

There are lots of choices with mulch. Some are organics that are made from a plant-based material. And, there are rocks and stones that can give you a different look for the landscape.

Many people prefer the organics because they provide benefits to the soil as they break down. You can use cypress mulch from the garden center. Or, you can use larger chunks for a different look.

Mulches come either in a bag that you can easily load into your car to take home and distribute in your landscape, or you get them in bulk at the garden center. If you have a typical soil, it’s best to use about three inches of mulch with either the organic mulch or rock type mulch.

As you’re applying the three inches of mulch, you can use the bag for a gauge. When it lies flat, it’s about three inches thick. So, if you lay the bags side by side you can determine if you’ll have enough mulch to cover your area.

Stone is another option for mulch. However, stone generally holds heat. So, they will warm up the landscape early in the spring. And in the summer, the stones will radiate heat around the plants. So consider the placement of stones carefully.

Stones don’t break down in the landscape because they’re not organic. So, you won’t have to apply them very often. But, you won’t get the benefit of them breaking down and adding nutrients that helps the soil. But, there are lots of options – larger stones that are white or a washed, speckled look. And there are smaller stones if you’re looking for a different texture for the landscape.

This feature story prepared with Gregg Eyestone, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Riley County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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