Home Improvement Questions? Ask a Handyman for Answers
This is a very common problem in many areas, and it's not an easy fix. They have rake heads that can help, like this one, that are made for pine needles, but I haven't found them to be very helpful. The best thing I have found is a leaf blower on a low setting, depending on the rock size it can blow the rocks as well. I've known people to use shop vacs or other types of vacuums as well as using something like this and burning them. Again, depending on the volume of rocks, you could take them all out, wash them and put them back, but unless we're talking about a very small amount, this would be a chore. You could look at it as a once a year (or two ) job. If you decide to go the burning route, there's a few things to keep in mind
Someone else mentioned a power washer, but I think that would wash the rocks away as well.
Let me know if you want to talk more.
I couldn't say whether or not it would affect the rock, I hven't tried it myself, although I know people who have and said it didn't affect theirs, and aftr a couple of rains the scorch and ash was gone. It would absolutely depend on what the rock is made of and what you have planted there. You could always take a small amount, make a pile and try it and see if you like the results. Have you tried the leafblower as well, that seems to work ok (but not perfect) for me. If nothing you do works, you may have to call in a professional.
I apologize that I have not been more helpful, I can opt out if you like and see if any of our other experts have any ideas? Let me know
Mrs Chase has opted out and I would like to add some additional information to her great answers. I have successfully removed pine needles such as this by using a leaf blower with a vacuum attachment. First I vacuumed the area and then I used the blower feature to loosen more of the needles. Then I would vacuum again. Repeat this process until the needles are removed. You need to be careful not to rev up the engine too much if using a gasoline blower when using the vacuum feature since it can vacuum small stones if the speed is up. With a little practice the needles will be easy to remove. Burning with a propane torch can be used but you need to be very careful and have a water hose handy if the fire should get away from you. If there are not many needles this process would not bother either the rocks or the crushed brick. If there are a lot of needles I would suggest that most should be removed using the vacuum attachment on the leaf blower. Click here to see a leaf blower with a vacuum attachment. A Billy Goat Vacuum will work very well but is more expensive. See the Billy Goat operate in the video below.
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There is a device that a friend of mine made a few years ago that worked great for his rock garden. It is not commercially made so you would haver to make and adjust it yourself. It involves PVC piping and using a hack saw to do some cutting. Also you would need a shop vacuume. These are available for about $50.00 at the big box home improvment centers.
Please advise if you would like for me to draw up the plans for this device. I will then post it here for you to see, and print out, or just download onto your computer.
It is really not a difficult tool to make. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being washing the rocks, and a 1 being hiring someone to do it for you, it comes in at about a 3.
Awaiting your reply; THS