What is Rubber Mulch?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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Rubber mulch is quickly becoming a replacement for many other types of mulches. Mulch is a protective soil cover, and there are plenty of different varieties like organic ones, and even ground stone mulches. The rubber type is principally made from the leftover materials that create tires and from old tires. Many favor this mulch because it helps to get rid of the numerous tires that end up sitting in dumps or in disposal areas, and due to some of its advantages. There are also those strongly opposed to the use of this mulch.

More than one source claims that rubber mulch could be hazardous. There are certain things known about it, like its inherent flammability and difficulty to extinguish if it does catch on fire. A few other claims made regarding potential pitfalls include that rubber mulch doesn’t tend to control weeds as well as organic mulch, that it may contain very dangerous chemicals that will leech into plants and be dangerous to kids who are constantly exposed. It is fair to state that the information on this mulch represents two diametrically opposed views, and consensus has not yet been reached on which view is entirely correct.


Some of the pluses of rubber mulch include the fact that it is longer lasting than some other forms of mulch, especially most organic forms. It may also prove beneficial to plants as a covering because it doesn’t breath well and thus can the heat the ground in which plants grow. Rubber mulch is often said to be aesthetically pleasing because it be dyed in a variety of colors.

There are additional claims about the benefits of using rubber mulch including the fact that it tends to keep insects away, and that it usually won’t mold or attract fungi. City planners or simply folks at home trying to provide a safe place for children to play may be drawn to this mulch because it has an inherent “bouncy” quality to it, which may make jumping, running, and simply hard play much safer. The other attraction is the fact that the mulch is made from recycled materials, and that seems extremely worthwhile to lots of people who are trying to create less environmental debt.

In light of the very diverse opinions regarding rubber mulch, people might want to explore this issue more before choosing this mulch. There are alternatives, though some note difficulty in finding organic types of mulch since rubber mulch has grown in popularity. Organic mulches are still available, however, and also have many advantages in gardening and landscaping.


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