limestone pea gravel

Hello Everyone, I'm new to this site and really enjoying reading all you extrememly useful tips and advice, so I know this this the best place to get advice ... I'm totally new to gardening so I hope I dont confuse you with my basic terminology .. I have heavy clay and last year I planted a few rhododendrons and azaleas and theyve grown lovely with no problems that I can see. As the garden was uneven, bluebell ridden with bindweed etc, we just did a quick fix by throwing down the membrane and adding the pea gravel and just planting thecouple of rhododendrons.   We had the house to decorate so a quick fix like this was the best option for us at that point. However, things are more settled now and I wanted to redo the garden properly, and therefore have been doing a lot of reading on my soil type and the plants Ive recently purchased.  All was going to plan, Ive levelled the garden, added compost and manure and had some lovely stones delivered just now to add some interest so it didnt look so flat and the membrane has been put back down.  My plan is to just slit the membrane and plant.  The pea gravel sits on top of membrane (entire garden). However, the chappy who delivered our stones has just informed us the we have 'limestone pea gravel' and althouh Im a beginner I know limestone is a no no with acid , loving plants.  Could you tell me, will it affect my plants as the garden is covered with membrane (the gravel wont sit directly on the plants) or am I doomed and have to buy different gravel.  Much much thanks in advance for your time and advice, Ness


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,227

    Hello Flitzbug. Nice name. I don't think that you need to worry about the lime content of your limestone. Whatever plants you have will have their roots firmly in the soil below the membrane and any influence from the gravel will just be in a bit of runoff after the first few rainfalls. After that, the gravel will be clean and not touching the roots anyway. Most plants can take a certain amount of limestone in the soil and you should be fine.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FlizbugFlizbug Posts: 4

    Hi Pansyface... Nice name too image

    Aw thank you for replying,  much appreciated.   Ive bought a good number of plants most of which are acid lovers.  The gravel hasnt been put back down yet and although our budget is tight, I wanted to check with you experienced people before it did go back down as my plants are more precious the gravel, so if it had to be replaced I'd prefer to do that than kill my plants. Big thank you for replying.

  • lisa masseylisa massey Posts: 252

    Hi flizbug, any water that passes over limestone will pick up traces causing the water to be slightly alkaline. I don't know if this small amount would have any adverse effects on acid lovers, but this action would happen every time it got wet. It may just cause your soil to be nearer neutral than it previously was.

  • I think you may have a problem here. None of us will know until the plants tell you personally.... if the leaves stay green you are OK, but if they yellow you will know that the alkaline levels are harming your shrubs. You could add iron sequestrene and if this doesn't work you may have to start again.

    Could you move them to somewhere else now while they are small and young, and replace them with lime lovers. In the long run it's best to go with your conditions rather than fight them.

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