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Stabilized decomposed granite good for plants?

Posted by robinpla 10 (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 1, 08 at 17:39

I have been ripping out my front lawn to cut water consumption, lower my water bill, minimize my carbon footprint, and to have fun. I am planning on creating a desert landscape using decomposed granite as the ground cover. I will add lots of rocks and gravel to make it look natural and eventually start planting plants.

So my question is if I should go with the stabilized DG or the normal DG. I understand that the stabilized is good for pathways, patios, and places with foot traffic. I am not planning on walking around on it and there are no pets that should be running around on it. There is a slight slope on one side, but I am planning on putting lots of gravel and rocks in that area. Is the stabilized DG too hard for plants?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Stabilized decomposed granite good for plants?

Not solving any of your questions Robin, just a few dots and dashes for your amusement.
When speaking about using crushed, or decomposed rock material, is this the norm for thinking what plants grow in in the desert south-west.
You wish to cut your water consumption. Is this really a problem--having to fend off water.
I know Vegas is encouraging new residents to the city to think no-grass for lawns and instead find other ways to landscape but we often think the desert is a place where plants get along without much moisture and to their credit, they look good doing it.

We have a housing project near us in cottage country Ontario...with the many lakes within usually a mile or so and in this particular area rock is very prominent.
Around all the homes are rocks, you cant go more than 100 feet without bumping into a rock. I mean that literally, there's so many rocks they have had to make them part of the landscaping.
Every tree on a residential property is surrounded by a pit...the walls being large boulders. Lawns, where a boulder might fetch hundreds of dollars to bring one to, have so many you gotta watch out the lawn mower doesn't bump into one with every pass.
Yet, as this visitor scanned the neighborhood thinking 'should we' move to this idillyc site with the lake right behind our door----we thought of it for a day or so and decided rocks aint for us, we like the pasture-look and have no compunction to letting the mower run where it will.

I suppose the look of the desert can grow on you.
It is still though something to give up green and replace with the rock look.

Sorry, just an observation.

RE: Stabilized decomposed granite good for plants?

I applaud your attempts to reduce water consumption. I really think we're headed for huge water shortages in the near future and we need to have some people showing that we can reduce water use and still have nice landscaping.

I'm cutting my water usage by switching to native grasses. They'll stay alive with no water other than the natural precipitation they'll get (even here) and they should stay green if I water once or twice a summer (instead of once or twice a week).

I don't really know that much about decomposed granite, but I heard or read someplace that some of the soils around here are are acidic due to the granite content. I think most desert plants generally prefer alkaline soils, so if I'm remembering correctly and granite is acidic, you'll need to be careful not to add too much.

RE: Stabilized decomposed granite good for plants?

Since granite dust is not soluble there is no way to test the pH of that. Decomposed granite dust is a by product of mining, or making, granite products, the dust left over. It is a very stable rock dust. Some people add "stuff" to that very stabile dust to stabilize it and call that "stabilized decomposed granite" and charge more money for it. This product is used to establish a very stabile base for patios, driveways, etc. and it can also be used to make paths, providing it is well compacted.
Would this be good for the purpose suggested, most likely providing provisions are made to direct any water that might fall is properly directed to the proper drains because any water that does fall on properly installed granite dust areas (compacted) will just run off.

RE: Stabilized decomposed granite good for plants?

I'm not familiar with "granite dust" as a soil substitute, but in the San Diego area there is a great deal of naturally occurring decomposed granite soil. I live near Vista CA at an altitude of 1000 feet on a very ancient granite mountain/hill. The soil is decomposed granite - in various stages of decomposition, ranging from fairly normal looking soil, to very hard soil that when dry only responds to jack hammering, to exposed old weathered granite rock.

Although the soil has good mineral content, it is very lacking in organic matter. Plants do much better when the soil is amended with organic matter. The soil drains well - the challenge is to keep it adequately moist in summer with our southwestern slope exposure.

My DG soil forms a hard top layer resulting in a good deal of water runoff, but that helps to irrigate plants lower on the slope.

"Stabilized" DG is used here for construction purposes for paths or as a base for pavers in path and patio construction. I find that my unamended soil is fine as a paver base material as well.

I have had very good results planting in soil that is a 50/50 mix of topsoil and DG. Plants thrive and it still holds together well on a steep slope to minimize erosion.

RE: Stabilized decomposed granite good for plants?

I don't know about a groundcover, but Charles Wilber, the world record tomato guy, uses granite dust in his compost.. However,That a whole differed ballgame than covering your whole lawn in it..


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