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Of cheap shrubs and rock mulch

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Cheap shrubs and rock mulch

By the way, I just ripped out the overgrown, impacted irises and hosta you see above as well as the spirea.  I just love giving myself more work!  😉

So I went over to the neighbors to talk veggies (I’m helping her plant her first vegetable garden) when I saw that HER neighbors were ripping out weeds and junk along their fence line (and taking out the fence) and planting shrubs.

Me:  Oh, what kind of shrubs are you planting (I didn’t have my far away glasses on!)

Neighbor’s neighbor:  Blueberry bushes, my wife got them through her work for a great deal.

Me:  Oh, that’s great.  What kind are they?  Are you amending the soil?

Neighbor’s neighbor:  I just said, they’re blueberry bushes and what do you mean amending the soil?

Blueberry 'North County'

Me to myself:  uh oh

Me to Neighbor’s neighbor:  well, there are different types of blueberry bushes and I was just wondering what type you have.  And by amending, I mean that blueberry bushes need the soil to be more acidic than we typically have here.  They need a pH of 5 or 6 and most of us have about 7.  I would suggest that you add some peat moss to the planting hole.

(They looked skeptical, probably thinking, “who’s this garden interloper”)

Turns out, after I explained who I was and why I would know that stuff, they DID get some peat moss.  Normally I would’ve said get a soil test and some elemental sulfur, wait a couple of weeks, but they were in the midst of it and I knew that they had to get it down while they had the time.  (5 kids in that family!)

Remember, a good deal is only good if you know what you’ve got and how to plant it!

Now for the rock mulch my neighbor wants to place, well, I couldn’t talk her out of it but at least she’s putting it (mostly) in the appropriate spot.  When she gets to it!

If you’re going to use rock then let it be anywhere you are NOT planting.  Rock mulch does not allow for water retention and the rocks can heat up causing issues with some plants.  If you ever want to remove the rock, rent a rock vacuum.  Seriously, or say you’re giving it away and hopefully someone will come along and remove it for you!

rock and plastic 2

Rock vacuum

Rock vacuum

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