rubber mulch rings for J. maples?

mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)December 9, 2008

I bought three nice J. maples this past spring and got some of those crushed rubber mulch rings to go with them. I stopped using them as they were harboring sow bugs/pill bugs when it was warm. Now that it is cold, I'm thinking of putting them back. But first I thought I would seek out opinions on them. Do they work? Do they cause any problems? Should I just use oak leaves for mulch? I have the things so I kind of hate to waste them. thanks

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herman_neutics

Breeze,

I don't have any experience with rubber mulch rings.

I recently read this article that mentioned them.

Here is a link that might be useful: The myth of rubberized landscapes

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 11:14PM
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mjjones453

I work for a school District that uses rubberized mulch in the play ground. Somehow a fire started, and traveled underneath the mulch. Kind of scary as it was not so well noticed. The guys that cleaned it up were covered with black soot from head to toe! What does it do for the soil? Does it add nutrients to the soil? For what its worth, Mary

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 9:22AM
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mutantplantlover

I use the rubber tree rings on my maples and dogwoods. I like the neat clean look they provide. They hold the moisture in also. They are quite different from loose rubber mulch. I wouldn't use that mulch at all, for a variety of reasons. Don't understand why the OP stopped using the rings because of sow bugs underneath. They don't hurt anything and indicate a moist, cool environment, which is what you want.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 12:03PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

rubber mulch absolutely does anything benefical to the ground other than keeping weeds out. Organic mulch is much better way to go as it improves the soil, improve growth, improve health, better moisture retention, etc.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 2:53PM
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mrbreeze(z6/7 OK)

It is a myth that sow bugs/pill bugs/rolly pollies are harmless. They are just as bad as squirrels but worse since they can hide in pots. I mainly grow orchids and there is nothing those yard-shrimp like more than to munch on fresh growing root tips. I've seen them in the act. I've also seen them eating my clematis. For those reasons I'm paranoid about them eating my maples.

I have no shortage of natural mulch but I also have the rubber rings. The wind often blows the mulch (leaves) away from around my trees. I would use them during winter and summer if at all, our dryest times of year. I'm a little bit worried about summer however because the rings are black. It gets hot enough as it is and I wonder about having a black mat absorbing heat when it is already over 100 F. Luckily we've had mild and wet summers the past two years so there has not been a great need for mulch.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 6:01PM
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gardengal48

Personally, I wouldn't use the things at all, but most particularly, I'd keep them away from maples. One of the primary complaints against rubber mulches is that they leach heavy metals and in particular, zinc. Both maples and oaks are quite sensitive to zinc toxicity. Zinc is also more easily accessed by plant roots in acidic soils, which J. maples prefer, compounding the problem. I just wouldn't want to risk the health of my trees for the sake of the ease of care a rubber mulch or mulch mat might provide.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 12:22PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>They don't hurt anythingIn addition to what gardengal48 posted, read article at link posted above.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 5:13PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Circular rubber mulch mats?!! You gotta be kidding. I don't want my yard looking like a cartoon.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 11:04AM
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