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Home » Information » Is Rubber Mulch Better Than Wood?

Is Rubber Mulch Better Than Wood?

Is Rubber Mulch Better Than Wood?

Moisture retention, insulation, and weed suppression; mulch is a vital component of a healthy landscape. While wood mulch has long been the go-to choice, in recent years, rubber mulch has become increasingly popular. Whether you’re freshening up your garden beds or you’re planting an entirely new one, you might be trying to decide if rubber mulch is a better option than wood.

Is Rubber Mulch Better Than Wood?

To help you make an informed decision, below, we explore the differences between rubber mulch vs wood mulch and examine the pros and cons of each option.

What is Wood Mulch?

Wood mulch is made of recycled wood, such as bark, branches, and even old wood pallets. These materials are ground down into wood chips, which can vary in size from chunky to fine. The color and texture of wood mulch vary and depend on the type of wood that the mulch is made of as well as the type of cut that was used to make it. Some popular varieties of wood mulch include:

  • Cedar
  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Hemlock

Pros and Cons of Wood Mulch

Pros of Wood Mulch

Since it’s organic, wood mulch is good for the soil. It biodegrades (breakdown) over time and as it does, it feeds the soil and the plants housed within it with vital nutrients. Wood mulch also provides a layer of protection around your plants and soil, as it helps to prevent erosion.

Certain types of wood mulch cedar, cypress, and pine, for example – can even help to keep pests, such as fleas, at bay, and can invite helpful species of fauna, like earthworms, into your gardens. Organic mulch (wood) is also easy to install, it’s available in a variety of colors and sizes, and it will add a natural look to your landscape design.

Cons of Wood Mulch

On the downside, wood mulch compacts over time; the smaller the chips, the more they will compact. Additionally, because it’s organic, it isn’t unusual for fungi growth to occur and once it does, it can take hold and impact the health of your plants and shrubs.

Another potential issue that can occur as a result of wood mulch is pest infestation. Wood mulch attracts termites and other wood-boring pests which can cause serious problems.

What is Rubber Mulch?

Rubber mulch is comprised of recycled tires from cars, trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles. While it’s often used as a ground covering in outdoor play areas, it’s also used in garden beds. Like wood, rubber mulch is available in a variety of sizes. When used in landscape design, rubber mulch usually resembles wood; however, there are several color options to choose from, such as red or green, if you’d like to add some interest to your garden.

The Pros and Cons of Rubber Mulch

Pros of Rubber Mulch

Since it’s made of recycled rubber tires, this type of mulch is considered environmentally friendly; in fact, this is one of the major advantages of rubber mulch. Additionally, owing to its denseness, rubber mulch is durable and long-lasting.

Rubber mulch can withstand all types of climates and weather conditions. It also won’t shift or move in high winds and heavy rains, which is a good thing, but since it’s so heavy, it can also be difficult to work with. Rubber mulch retains its color for long periods of time and because it isn’t organic, it doesn’t appeal to pests or fungi.

Cons of Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch contains zinc and other components that can inhibit plant growth. Another disadvantage of rubber mulch is that it is much more costly than wood mulch and other organic materials.

Which is Better?

Wood and rubber mulch both offer advantages and disadvantages. Which one you should choose is ultimately up to you. Considering your specific needs will help you make the best mulch choice for your landscaping project.

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