It was a beautiful spring weekend but much too early to plant msot things here in the Twin Cities.

So what's a Minnesotan to do? Mulch.

Spreading mulch was the outdoor chore du jour, judging from the people I saw working outside in my neighborhood and around town over the weekend. Gardeners were even talking about mulch at church and posting photos of their freshly spread mulch on Facebook.

Wood-chip mulch is a good thing in garden beds for a whole host of reasons:

1. It conserves moisture, helping plants stay hydrated in the heat of summer.

2. It improves the health and fertility of your soil as it breaks down.

3. It inhibits weed growth.

4. And it greatly enhances the visual appeal of most landscapes. 

I always feel left out of the whole mulch conversation because my current yard doesn't have anywhere to put it. Whoever landscaped our place around 1990, the year the house was built, spread a layer of golfball-sized rocks around all the front-yard trees and shrubs. 

Sure, I've tweaked the landscape over the years. I've chopped down aging scraggly junipers and planted a few Endless Summer hydrangeas. But I've never done a major refresh of the original landscape. And after 25 years, it's definitely time.

I'd love to dig out a few more ugly overgrown shrubs and replace them with some charming little specimen trees. And I'd really love to surround them with mulch, not rocks.

So here's my dilemma: Can I take the easier way out and cover those rocks with a thick layer of mulch? Or do I have to remove all the rocks first and start from scratch? Anyone out there undertaken the rocks-to-mulch transformation?