other options besides wood mulch- rubber? just compost? thanks

ksquiresApril 1, 2013

Hi everyone,

I have done a lot of research on wood mulch, and while I think its looks great and will/can benefit my flowerbeds, it is not an option for me. My flower beds go right up to my house and we have had termites before. There is no way I can convince my husband to let me put down wood mulch. We have flowerbeds in the front of the house that are about 400 sq. foot. For the past few years I have tried groundcover, weeding, and putting down Preen constantly. I am ready to do something more drastic. I bought a small bag of rubber mulch today ( just to see what it is like) and did not think it looks too bad. Yet, I read on here how so many people do not like rubber mulch...has anyone used it and liked it? And, if I can not use rubber mulch nor wood mulch, what should I do? I was thinking just compost? Or pebbles, rocks, etc. I am really open to suggestions, just know that what I have been doing is not working and wood chips are not really an option either. Thanks in advance for your help!


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The benefits of using such mulch is that it keeps moisture in the ground won't absorb water or nutrients. Allows water and nutrients to permeate into the ground. It drastically impedes weed growth and reduces seed germination. Rubber mulch has no nutrients to support weed growth. It does not decay away, will not rot, mold, mildew decompose and it minimizes dust. No foul composting odors or fumes, does not smell, mat or melt from the sunâÂÂs heat. Does not sink into the ground as well as it will not attract insects, rodents or other pests.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:03PM
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As I stated in the Soil forum, "Before shredded tires were found to be something that could be sold as mulch they were considered to be a hazardous waste product and the soil under tire dumps was removed and taken to special landfills because of high levels of heavy metal contamination. Once it was found that people would pay for this waste product those concerns disappeared. Rubber will add nothing worthwhile to your soil.
The moist soil conditions might attract termites, whether the mulch is wood chips or rubber. Perhaps this article from Iowa State University might be of some help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Termites and mulches

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:19AM
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Thank you Kim and Nelson...so what do you suggest I use then?

Nelson- what do you use? Have you used rubber mulch?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:50AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Gosh, the few times that I've experienced rubber mulch, it smelled to high heaven! Truthfully, it's an environmental problem on many levels.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 5:34AM
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I have rubber in my beds and around my trees and I can't say a bad thing about it! I agree with everything that nelsoncastro mentioned about it. And yes, it does have a strong rubber smell to it while you're putting it down, but after a day or two, the smell is gone. And it might not have any nutritional benefit for the ground, but there's other ways to add that. And the best thing is, it doesn't fade or rot out like normal wood mulch does. So, no more replacing it every year.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 4:48PM
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That's the advantage of using such mulch in the garden..

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I would strongly encourage you to read the article Kim linked. I'm assuming you have your house treated for termites on some regular basis, so as long as you don't put mulch up against the house, or the treatment doesn't really work, the use of an organic mulch should have no bearing regarding termites eating your house.

Gardening is all about building good soil, from which comes healthy, vigorous plants that don't need fertilizers. Otherwise one is just planting, from the plant down, not gardening from the ground up. Nothing wrong with that, but there is a difference. Building good soil takes a few years and is an ongoing process.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 11:43AM
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We used Rubber Mulch for landscaping around our house and have had a good experience so far (been a little over a year). Looks the same as it did originally, and as I mentioned in another thread or two, has no noticible smell.

I'd recommend it as a low-maintenance option. We chose it because of that and because our windy yard used to cause mulch to spread all over the place.

We bought some bags at Wal-Mart, though they seem to be out of it hear us. Does anyone have any ideas where I can find more in the Southwestern, PA/Eastern OH area?

Here is a link that might be useful: Rubber Mulch Store Find I used already.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Those that are not too concerned about the legacy they are leaving their children can use things such as rubber mulch and synthetic fertilizers and broad spectrum poisons to control the insect pests they will have along with the plant diseases those plants will have.
However, those of us that desire to leave the world we live in a better place for our children and grandchildren will forsake the use of those synthetics and do what we can to make the soil we have better then we found it growing plants that do not need poisons to protect them from insect pests and plant diseases that also do great harm to the beneficial insects we need to have the food we need to exist.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 6:56AM
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