Any Thoughts on Brick Chips as Mulch?

bradespMay 29, 2007

I have a weekend lake home in North Carolina that I want to landscape with materials that will not require constant attention. I love the look of fresh triple shredded hardwood mulch, but I'm wondering if anyone has ever substituted brick chips in lieu of hardwood mulch?

Is there a way to use a color and type of brick chip that would look reasonably natural?

Thanks!

bradesp - raleigh, nc

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saypoint(6b CT)

If you do a search of this forum for "gravel" and "stone mulch" you'll find a lot of threads where this topic was discussed.

I don't see any way that brick chips will look "natural". The color is too red, and the texture is wrong. You will also find in time that it creates its own maintenance problems.

Well established groundcover that is dense enough to suppress weeds, or a lawn that is mowed once a week are the easiest to maintain, IMO.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:58AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

My preference is almost always for organic mulches since they break down over time and improve the soil. (The one exception has been a rock garden with scree plants.) All mulches will get some weeds; with organic mulches they are easy to pull. With masonry or stone mulches dirt and weed seeds blow in, but it's much harder to pull the weeds since the soil doesn't have that soft layer of organic material on the surface. The hardwood mulch is easy to add a light layer to annually or as needed to keep that appearance you like. Most folks eventually regret a stone mulch, and removal is a serious issue.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:02PM
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marymd7

I think it sounds like a really bad idea.

Ugly. Will do nothing for the soil. Won't keep weeds down effectively. Will be much more difficult and high maintenance than reapplying some shredded bark once a year.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 1:38PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Yes, I have a thought.

Do. not. do. this.

I also have some reasons! ;~)

1) Invariably, dirt and debris are going to settle into your mulch. It WILL grow weeds. no matter what you do. It won't be pleasant to weed...brick chips are prickly.

2) If you ever change your landscaping you will have to remove the brick mulch. It will be a PITA to do so.

3) Some of the brick mulch WILL work it's way into your soil. It will remain sharp little pieces of brick. While this might deter voles in the area, it won't be pleasant to work in. Hardwood mulch, when it works it's way into the soil turns into...soil.

4) Eventually you will no longer own this weekender. Subsequent owners will curse you as they remove your weedy, ingrained, pointy perma-mulch. Trust me on this. I've removed several tons of white landscape rock...and I have at LEAST a ton or two more to go.

5) I don't think it's going to give you the look you want. Fresh mulch is brown, sure, but it lies on the earth looking fairly soft and organic. Crunched up brick, even if you find brown brick, will look...like crunched up brick.

OK--so the reason number 4 is the MAIN reason for my rant. Yeah, it's personal.

melanie

PS--typed this up before I left for work this morning...came home and realized I'd not hit "submit"...so now I am. If the above have been covered...mea culpa!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 3:42PM
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view_west

Yuck.

JMHO, VW

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 3:49PM
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nippersdad

Not to pile on...but really, I can think of nothing worse to garden in than the area of sharp brick bits that will inevitably get into your soil. Would give new meaning to the phrase "working your fingers to the bone"!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 1:08AM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Instead of looking to the mulch to control the weeds, you might consider getting a product called "Preen" which is what I use in my yard. I'm not sure all the ingredients, but corn gluten is one of them. It inhibits the sprouting of weed seeds. You just shake it over the garden to spread it. It has worked very well for me, and I'm gone for long periods of time. I sprinkle it over the soil before I add the mulch. You can also sprinkle it on last years' mulch before you add this years. It makes the weeds much more managable. Also laying down landscape fabric could help. But anything non-organic (meaning stones, gravel, brick chips), is acually MORE work than the organic mulches. Organic in this case meaning plant-derived, coming from something that was once alive.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 1:15PM
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blue_velvet_elvis

Some evil previous owners of our home had put red lava rock everywhere. We curse them every time we dig, pull weeds, weed, etc. Fortunately after three years of serious landscaping most is gone but a little red rock reared it's ugly, sharp head a few days ago in my front bed.

Please don't do it. Red is ugly in a a garden as a mulch. Red rocks, red mulch and red bricks all look unnnatural. It will cause years of being cursed by the next owners or maintainers of the property.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 9:22AM
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