Rubber(ized) Mulch?

thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)June 24, 2007

Ok, so last week, I was talking to my neighbor to the south and she was telling me that one of our other neighbors had ordered some of this "rubberized mulch".

Hmmm.... I've seen it on TV, but never in person.

Later that day, I'm talking with my neighbor to the North who (unprompted) starts talking about the same stuff. She says she's seen in at her golf course (Bracketts in Lakeville) and that this same neighbor had ordered some.

Ok, so here are my questions, if you have any experience with it:

1. I've read it can destroy landscape plants. True or not?

2. How difficult is it to blow leaves from it in the fall?

3. Does it have an odor?

4. How much was it and where did you get it?

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juniebug-2006

I can only answer one of your questions, and only half of that one! #4. I don't remember seeing the price, but Home Depot carries it. I didn't want to buy it as I felt it wouldn't enrich the soil because it wouldn't decay like the other mulches I've used.

Chris

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 10:34PM
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deeje

I've heard of using the rubberized mulch beneath swing sets and the like -- makes for a soft place for the kidlets to land -- but, like Chris above, I'd NEVER use a product like that in a garden.

The main purpose of mulch, after all, is to enrich the soil while suppressing weeds. I can't imagine how you'd plant, transplant, or divide anything without working that rubber stuff into the soil.

And if you're bound to have it blend into the soil, what's the advantage of rubber mulch over real, organic mulch? I'd be tempted to chat up that neighbor to see what his/her plan is.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 4:18PM
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cnord(4)

I have seen this used in the south for years. As stated; under swing sets, in parks, etc. I was pretty impressed by the thought of using up old tires for this. But as for in a garden I wouldnt do it. I put some in an area that our dogs have decided to claim for their personnel use. It is along side an ugly chain link fence and the mulch works very well. At first it did have a rubber smell but that is gone. And the dogs havent seemed to be bothered by it at all-not growing a 5th leg or second head. And when they "scratch" it doesnt seem to fly as much as the regular mulch. So I guess it has its purpose, just not for gardens.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 9:29AM
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gary_mn

I looked at some rubber mulch from Menard's. It was tire chunks with a brown paint type of covering. For my application--on top of black plastic--it would have worked OK except the color was flaking off, so it didn't look very good; I ended up with the red lava chips.
-Gary

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 5:56PM
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longwoodgradms

rubber tires are full of synthetic polymers and heavy metals, that do break down (over decades). The known culprits are arsenic, lead and especially zinc (which in elevated levels will kill plant roots quickly and then inhibit root growth in anything you plant in that soil).

Rubber mulch does stink, but only in intense heat.

It sounds commendable to reuse rubber mulch on playgrounds BUT since i'd not let my kids play in a tire dump, touch tires and getting their knees, hands, faces dirty with the soot and grime, I sure as hell wouldn't want my kids falling in it on a playground.

Regular mulch (that isn't dyed or from treated lumber remnants) is much safer. Even tho it breaks down you know you're not contributing to dumping non-degradable crap all over the soil. That or good old grass and dirt.

They ever have the audacity to use rubber tire chips in wetland resorations (to increase soil aeration), which totally seem inappropriate as you are infusing shards of junk into soils that would be impossible to remove outside of digging out topsoils later on.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 8:48PM
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garystpaul(4)

The issue has resurfaced on the Soil, Compost and Mulch forum, thanks to the previous poster. A lot of wildly divergent views for those interested. Gary

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:50PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

The EPA has done minimal testing.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 10:54PM
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