Rock gardens can set off your landscaping skills. They are an easy to maintain addition to any garden, yet they are prone to weeds from sprouting up.
Besides this, they take little care and can be a great focal point in your yard and emphasize the rocks you used.
In our guide, you can get a rough overview of how to make a rock garden from scratch, but most of all, you can learn how to stop weeds from growing in rocks as you do this.
By the end of our guide, you’ll have all the knowledge to know how to keep your rock garden weed-free without any extra effort. (Learn How Long Does it Take for Roundup to Work)
What to Put Under Stones to Stop Weeds?
A rock garden can make a difficult spot in your yard glamorous. When you add bushes to your rock garden, you have plant life that won’t require constant tending.
However, they are not free from weeds, and as these sprout between your rocks, it affects the appearance and fights against your plants for nutrients.
Here is a quick rundown of the weed control options you have when dealing with these weeds growing.
Landscape fabric: Landscaping fabric is the ideal thing to stop weeds from popping up. It is best laid when you are building your new rock garden. This works to smother any weeds underneath, or it stops weed seeds from reaching the soil.
Rocks as Garden Mulch: Small rocks like river rocks and gravel are often used as mulch to stop weeds, yet it is more expensive than bark. It does, however, last forever compared to other organic mulches, yet it doesn’t offer nutrients. Keep rock mulch 2 inches away from trunks of bushes to help prevent root rot.
Chemical Herbicide: You can opt for a chemical option in the form of a post-emergent herbicide, as it will kill weeds when they sprout. Make sure you have a non-selective herbicide so that it will kill any weed.
If using this, take care as it will kill bushes and the weeds. You can protect your bushes by placing plastic or cardboard between the bush and the weeds you are spraying. Besides this, make sure to only spray on days that are not windy. (Learn the Best Time to Spray Weeds)
Organic Weed Control: Pull weeds by hand, or you can save the effort and pour boiling water over the weeds’ tops. You will find this kills them by cooking them.
For even more effectiveness, you can pour vinegar on them at the same time as the water. Salt kills weeds, yet it will change the soil, and plants may not grow.
What is Best to Put Under Landscape Rock?
Rock beds are low-maintenance, and to stop weeds from growing, you need to place a weed barrier under a rock and your soil.
The best barrier can be heavy-duty landscape fabric, although you can use other materials such as black plastic. If landscape rocks are situated, you can help prevent new weeds from growing by treating and discarding the weeds before dropping seeds. Should you pull weeds, get the roots.
If you are readying an area to lay landscaping rock, you should prepare the area appropriately. You can use a steel edging border at least 3 inches high as these can prevent weeds, grasses, and other plants from sending roots to your rock beds. (Read Killing Creeping Charlie With Vinegar)
While you can use black plastic, many are biodegradable and will rot; besides, you’ll need to make holes in it to allow water to penetrate.
Landscape fabric is the best, yet if you want to add something else to make sure no light can pass, you can block the sun more by adding a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard on top of your fabric.
What Do You Put Down Under Rocks?
Horticultural vinegar comprises 20% acetic acid and can be great to stop potential growth. Add the vinegar to a spray bottle and spray on the weeds and let it soak into the leaves. You can also use a pre-emergent to stop weeds from sprouting. (Learn What Kills Weeds Permanently)
Is Landscape Fabric Necessary Under Rock?
Landscape fabric, or better known as weed fabric, is widely used by landscape professionals. It stops weeds, yet it can cause issues and have some drawbacks. Landscape fabric won’t last forever and will only be used for one application. When you use it with stone, it serves a couple of purposes.
The first is to stop weeds, and the second is to stop the stone, river rock, or sand from settling and sinking into the ground. Weed barrier fabric lets water through, unlike plastic, which stops water from penetrating the ground and diverts it away from your plants or grass.
You may think about using mulch, yet landscaping fabric and mulch are defeating the object. Mulch will break down quickly and enrich any soil on top of your fabric. Weed seeds can thrive in this as they could in the soil. Fabric isn’t that good under the surface of compost either.
One other thing you can find is when mulch breaks down, it creates a natural fertilizer, and when you use weed control fabric, this stops the leeching from the mulch to your plants.
After a few weeks, you could eventually see weeds grow. It doesn’t take long for these to break through weed control fabric from the top. Removing and controlling weeds can be relatively challenging as you now have roots above and below your fabric. (Read Trim Arborvitae)
If you are building a rock garden, you shouldn’t think that weed control fabric is the ultimate solution. It can last longer than other methods to cover the ground, yet with a little planning, you can get the same effect when you cover the ground with a thick layer of newspaper alone.
It will break down and work its way into the soil, and then you need to begin using a differing form of weed control.
Vinegar is a good weed killer and can be suited to rock gardens more than weeds in the grass of your lawn.