Asked on Jun 28, 2014

With a ditch, is it smart to line it with rocks so we don't mow it.

Zoe Bolz
by Zoe Bolz
The ditch is about ten ft.long ,bee tween two culverts, Rural town , and I think put down garden cloth, small rocks in the deepest part, then larger rocks near the top. Is this smart?
  7 answers
  • Sharon Kavanagh Sharon Kavanagh on Jun 28, 2014
    Make sure you put down very high quality , heavy duty, professional landscape cloth or you will be pulling weeds from between rocks. I did not put down heavy duty landscape cloth at my first home and I lived to regret it. At our second home I went to Home Depot, purchased very heavy duty cloth. It was worth every penny.
  • Marianne Inman Marianne Inman on Jun 29, 2014
    I live in a house where the previous renters put rocks in the ditch.. I am now in the process of removing them (big rocks mostly) so that I can either put down the landscape fabric and do this correctly or just let it go to grass. Weed trimming on a long steep ditch is back breaking work, the weeds love it of course so all summer long we deal with it. I hate to use chemicals but it's either remove them or give in to the spray.
    • Sharon Kavanagh Sharon Kavanagh on Jun 30, 2014
      @Marianne Inman Have you tried spraying the area with a vinegar/dish soap mix? I have used this and it does cause the existing weeds to turn brown and makes them much easier to pull. It does not however prevent new ones from growing, but it might make your work a little easier. Put a gallon of vinegar (white or apple cider) in a garden sprayer, add 1/2cup dishwashing liquid and 1/4 cup of table salt. Spray your rocks, early in day without forecast of rain. By the next day or so, your weeds should be nice and brown and shriveled.
  • Leona G Leona G on Jun 29, 2014
    You might want to do some research on rain gardens. They use rocks and plants that are suitable for the conditions that exist in a drainage ditch. Good luck. Here is one site
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 29, 2014
    I love @Leona G 's idea of turning it into a rain garden. Joe Pye weed would love it there, and so would red-twig dogwood.
  • Marcia Mason Marcia Mason on Jun 30, 2014
    We also live in the country and have the same ditch that we have to mow (deep, between two culverts). It is back-breaking work to weed eat it. I would love to have our county put in a connecting culvert, add dirt and grass, so that we could mow it easier. I even suggested to my husband that we pay for the culvert. I tried planting spreading yews a few years ago. They did not take hold. Although we have used weed killer in the past, they still come back (and that stuff is expensive, not to mention what it does to the environment). So, we just keep weed eating.
  • Why not think about Shasta daisies, coneflowers, black eyed susans, along with other flowers especially native plants (like Joe pyed weed, butterfly weed, cardinal flower, etc) to fill the ditches with beautiful flowers and green like native grasses or even dwarf pampas, carl forester grass or a miscanthus like morning light or zebra? When we had our farm in IL we had a 1/4 mile of ditch between us and the neighbors which I planted with daisies and iris and every spring it was a beautiful picture of daisies with some iris mixed in closer to the driveway. On another side I had orange ditch lilies mixed in with the daisies too and drove the farmer nuts! Mixed in with rocks would be gorgeous too but if you put landscape fabric any flower or bush will not spread or reseed itself. So if it is a clean rocky look use fabric. If you love the flower idea, then do not put fabric but put down a tarp or black plastic to kill the existing weeds and grass and then plant flowers seeds later this summer.
  • Marianne Inman Marianne Inman on Jul 01, 2014
    Thanks everyone for the replies, I've tried the wildflowers, had some good luck with those but the county comes along and mows the tops off, they won't cut deep because of the rocks.. they come by maybe once every month.. or 6 weeks.. just when the flowers begin to bloom.. whack! I cannot make it a no mow area since these are not "native" and/or several other political reasons. I did find out that the previous owners "threw" the rocks in when they were trying to clear the yard area. Our county will not put a culvert in, I'd have to pay for that myself and being on a fixed income that won't happen. Over the weekend, one of my neighbors volunteered to take care of the ditch area if I could get the rocks out. So, now I'm trying to coordinate a "rock pickin" 4th of July party.. ROFL.. Free hot dogs, chips, watermelon for those the help with the project! Hmmm so far, no takers.. LOL.. Have a wonderful day, week, month.. I have to have a knee replacement in 2 weeks, I won't be doing any pickin' LOL
    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 01, 2014
      @Marianne Inman If you can get around the political issue by planting natives, all the better! The Joe Pye Weed I mentioned is native. Other Georgia natives that would be happy in wet spots: swamp cyrilla, clethra and inkberry.