The 5 Best Rubber Mulches [Ranked]

Rubber mulch is made of recycled rubber and used by many people as a filler for gardens, playgrounds, and a variety of other unique, outdoor uses (Source).

Before it makes its way into your garden, playground or patio, the rubber mulch you use was – usually – tire buffings or chunks of synthetic rubber after a whole tire has been ground up.

There are two main ways that this makes it to you in mulch form; usually either shredded or in small rubber chunks. The steel in rubber mulch should be removed but this doesn’t always happen as thoroughly as it should (Source).

Buyer Advice

We mention the possibility of steel in your rubber mulch because many buyers suggest you double check your mulch for this. This suggestion is especially important when it comes to using this mulch in your yard or on a playground where someone may fall or step with bare feet.

Another note: if you're looking for organic mulch, as opposed to rubber, check out GROW!T Planting Chips.

Many buyers also suggest that you also check on how much mulch you will need before you make your purchase. This will make purchasing the amount you need easier instead of buying and learning later that you have too much or too little. You can easily find the amount you need if you look at the area you are trying to cover along with the depth of the space (Source).

Rubber Mulch Compared

How The Mulch Brands Compare


Each of the options we are considering today are worthy choices of rubber mulch for any use that you may need it for.

The Rubberific black rubber mulch, though, does offer the best value on rubber mulch by comparison to the rest of our list.

When it comes to color, though, there is a wide range on our list so you can find whatever you may need.

The NuScape and one of the Rubberific choices are available in brown. However, if you need different colors, our second choice for Rubberific is black and the International Mulch Co.’s rubber nuggets are red.

The International Mulch is also the only product on our list that offers you a lower deal per bag when you buy in bulk. When you are buying in bulk to cover a large area - such as when you are looking to buy outdoor playground turf – this is extremely helpful.

Benefits of Rubber Mulch


  1. By blocking light, rubber landscaping mulch helps to keep weeds at bay.
  2. Mulch blocks evaporation as well, so it keeps moisture in soil.
  3. In addition to blocking evaporation, rubber mulch itself doesn’t retain water. So, any water that passes through it to get to the roots of your plants won’t be a problem and your plants will stay nourished.
  4. Rubber mulch lasts a long time, so you won’t usually have to worry about replacing it but around once every ten years.
  5. Many people are off-put by how much it can cost to have rubber mulch installed, but when it comes to frequency, you are saving money over other types of mulch.

Best Rubber Mulch For 2017

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This redwood rubber mulch offered by International Mulch is durable, versatile, and an excellent choice for playgrounds and commercial landscaping applications. Users love that the mulch minimizes dust and provides a soft playing surface, but some do note that it’s overpriced.

The International Mulch redwood ground cover is made of 100% recycled rubber, and it allows you to create a pliable outdoor surface with ease. Moreover, it’s designed to inhibit the growth of moss and fungi to keep the children safe while playing. Another great thing about this playground rubber is that it’s ASTM certified, and it has a five-year warranty against color loss.

In general, users have a favorable opinion regarding this redwood rubber mulch, and they are satisfied with its color and durability. A reviewer comments that rubber nuggets look beautiful and that they don’t attract any pests like termites.

Another buyer states that he doesn’t have any issues with the rubber ground mulch and that he is very satisfied with the color. He adds that it doesn’t retain water and that he highly recommends it. A purchaser also observes that he managed to fill his small sandbox with one bag of mulch and that it’s a solid filling material.

However, some customers have warned that they found metal embedded in the rubber and that it may pose a choking hazard to small pets and children.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Well-made
  • Deep color
  • Easy to maintain
  • ASTM certified
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Complaints of embedded metal
  • Not the cheapest option

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

If you are looking for top-rated ground cover mulch, you might take a look at this black rubber mulch offered by International Mulch. Users love that the color doesn’t fade with time, but some do note that it’s slightly overpriced.

This rubber mulch is made of recycled rubbers tires, and it’s suitable for playgrounds and gardens. Another great thing about this product is that it doesn’t emit fumes on a hot day, and it’s suitable for areas with a warm climate.

As a whole, buyers have a high opinion regarding this black rubber mulch, and they don’t have any major complaints regarding its durability and usefulness. A reviewer comments that the mulch is shredded and that it looks wonderfully in his mother’s garden. He adds that the black color is long-lasting and deep.

Another reviewer mentions that the mulch arrived boxed and that it hasn’t changed its color even after a whole season. He also states that no weeds grow through it and that the outdoor rubber mulch is easy to maintain. The buyer recommends it as the best rubber landscaping mulch. A user also observes that the mulch arrived quickly and that it doesn’t attract termites.

The customer also says that after three years the color is still dark and vibrant.

Pros

  • Long-lasting color
  • Suitable for playgrounds
  • Durable
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Not the cheapest option

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

This Rubberific brown rubber mulch offered by International Mulch is easy to maintain, durable, and safe.  Users love that the mulch lasts for years, but some do note that it’s not the cheapest option on the market.

This bagged brown rubber mulch has a shredded look, and it’s made of recycled tires. Another great thing about this product is that you can cover 10 sq feet at 1”-depth with one bag. It’s considered safe for use in and around playgrounds, so it’s an excellent choice if you want to create a safe playground surface for your children.

A customer comments that he replaced the stones in his garden with this brown rubber mulch and that he was very pleased with the result. He adds that the Rubberific mulch is worth its price and that it looks great after two years.

Another buyer mentions that the quality of the playground much is exceptional and that he doesn’t have any problems with weeds. He highly recommends this as the best rubber mulch. A user also notes that the color is very elegant and that the mulch stays in place even during storms.

He states that this is the only brand of rubber mulch that he buys and that it’s perfect for landscaping. However, one customer has said that the mulch floats around.

Rubberific Mulch Video Overview

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Well-made
  • Shredded lock
  • Safe for playgrounds

Cons

  • Not the cheapest options
  • Some quality complaints

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

If you are looking for mulch for landscaping or gardening, you might consider this earth ground cover offered by International Mulch Company. Users love that the mulch looks realistic, but some do note that the bag is smaller than they expected.

This earth ground mulch is made of recycled rubber, and it’s designed to inhibit the growth of moss and fungi. Another great thing about this product is that it minimizes dust, and it has a 5-year warranty against fading color. What’s more the mulch is ATSM certified, and it’s 99.9% wire-free. 

As a whole, users have a favorable opinion of the International earth ground mulch, and they agree that it looks great. An online reviewer comments that he is very pleased with the earth mulch and that he highly recommends it. He adds that the color is vibrant and elegant. The user also shares that he gladly bought three more bags.

Another buyer mentions that he is amazed how realistic the rubber mulch looks and that he doesn’t have any complaints. He states that the mulch will last for years with almost no need for maintenance.

However, some customers have said that they are disappointed by the quantity of the mulch and that the price is too high for such a small amount. 

Pros

  • Looks realistic
  • Inhibit moss and fungi growth
  • Minimizes dust
  • A 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Some quality complaints
  • Not the cheapest option

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

These redwood rubber nuggets offered by International Mulch are well-made, long-lasting, and suitable for playgrounds because they cushion falls.

Users love that the nuggets preserve ground moisture without absorption and keep plants healthy, but some do note that they are too expensive.

The International redwood rubber mulch is made of 100% recycled rubber, and the color won’t fade or rot even after years of exposure. However, the mulch contains chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects.

Pros

  • Well-made
  • Long-lasting
  • Cushions falls
  • Durable color

Cons

  • Contains chemicals suspected to cause cancer

How To Add Mulch To Your Garden


The first step, you'll want to excavate the area- purging it of weeds and grass. You can grade the area so that every 10 feet it slopes down 1 inch. This helps to naturally enhance drainage, preventing water pooling.

The next thing you want to do is to use weed killer. Spray it around and then overlay the outdoor area with some permeable landscaping fabric. Next, make sure that you incorporate some edging around the perimeter of this mulched area so that the landscaping fabric is secured with the edging.

Lastly, you will then spread between 2 inches and 4 inches of rubber mulch, smoothing it out to effectively cover the area. Make sure that you tamp it lightly so that it can pack into a solid surface.

Rubber Mulch Risks

According to SFgate.com, there is a chance that rubber mulch will increase the planting areas temperature. This means that it's best to use heat-tolerant plants, including century plants and blue-mist shrubs that are resilient to heat.

Another issue- you shouldn't use rubber mulch nearby plants you intend to eat-because there is a risk that it will leak selenium, zinc, molybdenum, chromium or cadmium. These chemicals can potentially be absorbed by plants through their roots, additionally poisoning edibles as well as damaging ornamental plants.

Indeed, rubber mulch is a somewhat controversial landscaping material because of the potential of adding chemicals into the earth, heating up the ground surface and potentially scorching plants.

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