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).
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
Benefits of Rubber Mulch
- By blocking light, rubber landscaping mulch helps to keep weeds at bay.
- Mulch blocks evaporation as well, so it keeps moisture in soil.
- 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.
- Rubber mulch lasts a long time, so you won’t usually have to worry about replacing it but around once every ten years.
- 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.
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.