Rubber Mulch vs. Organic Mulch

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Homeowners with lawns and gardens understand the need for an attractive outdoor space for aesthetics and curb appeal, and they take on many methods to get it to that picturesque state. Mulching is an essential practice to cultivating that desired outdoor space. Often referred to as the unsung hero of gardening, mulching plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy, vibrant garden.

Mulch is a layer of material spread around plants to suppress weeds, conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperatures, and improve plant health. It can be made from a variety of materials, including wood chips, bark, leaves, straw, and rubber. While the practice is simple enough, there are many factors to consider when mulching your garden, the biggest question being: what kind of mulch suits your garden best? In this article, we will explore the differences between rubber mulch and organic mulch to better understand what would work best for your needs.

Rubber Mulch

red rubber mulch

Rubber mulch is made from nonbiodegradable recycled materials, usually tires. It is a durable and long-lasting mulch that does not break down easily and can last for years. Rubber mulch is also water-resistant and does not absorb moisture, which can help to prevent soil erosion.

In areas with heavy foot traffic, such as playgrounds and patios, rubber mulch is the most practical choice. It is also a good choice for areas where weeds are a problem, as it is difficult for weeds to grow through rubber mulch.

However, rubber mulch does have some drawbacks. It is not as water-permeable as organic mulch, which can make it difficult for water to reach the roots of plants. Rubber mulch can also be hot to the touch in the summer, and it can release harmful chemicals when it burns. The heat of the summer sun in certain areas of the world can melt rubber mulch with prolonged exposure, making it difficult for anyone to walk on it.

Organic Mulch

Organic mulch is made from plant materials, such as wood chips, bark, leaves, and straw. It is a natural and biodegradable mulch that provides nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. Organic mulch is also water-permeable, which helps to keep the soil moist.

Organic mulch is a good choice for gardens, flower beds, and vegetable gardens. It is also a good choice for areas where children and pets play, as it is soft and non-toxic.

However, organic mulch also has some drawbacks. It can break down quickly, so it may need to be replaced more often than rubber mulch. Organic mulch can also attract pests and diseases, making monitoring the mulched areas a priority.

Which Mulch Is Right For You?

The best type of mulch for you will depend on your needs and preferences. If you are looking for a durable and long-lasting mulch that is not as likely to attract pests and diseases, then rubber mulch may be a good choice for you. However, if you are looking for a natural and biodegradable mulch that provides nutrients to the soil, then organic mulch may be a better option.

Here is a little more information summarizing the pros and cons of rubber mulch and organic mulch:

Rubber Mulch

  • Long-lasting
  • Not as water-permeable
  • Effective weed protection
  • Can be hot and harmful to the touch in high heat
  • Does not provide nutrients
  • Expensive
  • Made from recycled materials

Organic Mulch

  • Breaks down quickly
  • Water-permeable
  • Not as effective weed suppression
  • Stays cool
  • Provides additional nutrients
  • Less expensive
  • Natural and biodegradable

Ultimately, the best way to decide which type of mulch is right for you is to experiment and see what works best in your garden. Mulching is an essential practice and it will benefit your lawn no matter what you choose. If you’re not sure, contact a lawn care professional like those at Summit Lawns to help you make the best choice for your needs.