How much stone to remove.

I am in the process of digging out and adding compost to the soil in a border.  My mum ( a very keen gardener) has told me to remove stones from the soil.  Is there a reasonable amount to leave in?  It's a big border.



  • Unless you have a particularly stony garden I wouldn't remove any. Adding compost will have the effect of reducing the proportion of stone. Stone aids drainage.

    What is your stone problem?

  • AubreiiAubreii Posts: 16

    I'm not sure its a problem.  There is some stone, I was going to remove a few big chunks.  It is a very big border, about 14 metres.  I don't want to be sifting soil to remove stone if I don't need to.


  • OK to remove some big chunks, but sifting not necessary. Focus on improving the soil with your compost. No need to hump stone unnecessarily. 

  • AubreiiAubreii Posts: 16
    Thank you very much. I'm a novice, this has saved me work.

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,817

    A friend used to spend hours picking up stones from the border.she thought she had done so well ,used to show off her border'showing me a clump of flowers a couple of foot along the border another clump of plants  . But in between just  a spread  of stoneless soil.   I looked at the plants , she pointed out the flat stretch of soil without stone

    Last year she started to buy top soil by the cartload , her borders were dropping below the height of the lawn . So again picking off the stones  And now wondering what the hell to do with this cartload of stones she has accumulated.!image

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,125

    When I dug my borders we had enough rocks to built a little dry stone wall along the front of the property. They couldnt have been left but I do leave any that are up to  1·5 inches accross, anything else gets dumped.


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • AubreiiAubreii Posts: 16

    I'll take out any bigger than a few inches and just work the rest in nicely.


    Thanks for the help!

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,135

    I leave the small stones, but the broken glass, pottery, old batteries and scrap metal gets removed. For once I agree with Mr. Allen. In normal conditions every stone is a little water reservoir. The soil under a stone stays cooler and wetter and the stone itself has a film of water on its surface. Besides who has the time to be so tidy?

  • AubreiiAubreii Posts: 16

    Tidy?  Not me.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 7,925

    Small stones also help the soil to warm up faster (in scientific terms, they have a lower specific heat capacity than wet soil) as well as aiding drainage.  The only place you don't really want them is where you are growing carrots or parsnips as the roots will fork when they hit a stone on their way down. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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