The snow is melting away and the blossoms are coming out as they welcome in spring. With spring comes one of our favorite times of the year: the landscaping and gardening season. Sometimes this time of year puts you in a tricky spot with making decisions, though. One of the common questions we hear is about when to use different kinds of mulches. Specifically, when do you use rubber mulch vs wood mulch? Luckily, we can help.
To understand which circumstances would benefit most from each type of mulch, you need to first understand the mulches themselves.
Rubber mulch is made from recycled rubber tires that have had the metal removed and are then shredded into rubber chips. Rubber mulch endures longer than normal wood mulch, lasting as much as 10 years, and is not blown away in heavy wind or storms. Rubber mulch is also non-porous, which makes it possible for water and fertilizer to pass through to the soil. Because the rubber does not break down, rubber mulch must be raked up prior to adding new soil or mulch in order to keep the soil healthy. Although rubber mulch can add no nutrients to the soil, it requires very little maintenance during use.
Wood mulch, on the other hand, has many benefits as well. While wood mulch does not last as long because of decomposition, wood mulch adds extra nutrients to the soil and can help to feed plants. Because it decomposes, it also does not need to be raked up before being replaced. Wood mulch must be replaced more often than rubber mulch, but it is also less expensive to buy the same amount. Wood mulch also can provide a more natural, earthy landscape, while rubber mulch looks more manufactured.
Both mulches have useful benefits when used correctly. But when should you use them?
Playground – Rubber Mulch
Rubber mulch is perfect for playgrounds because of its soft and springy texture. Rubber mulch is the best fit for children’s safety. Also, because of its durability, the rubber mulch can last for years, even with kids running on it all day. Rubber mulch also offers a plus for parents who don’t like kids tracking in dirt after being at the playground. Rubber mulch does not gather the same dirt and mud, and is non-toxic and non-flammable when made by reputable businesses. It can be trusted to keep a playground clean, fresh, and safe.
Gardening With Delicate Plants – Wood Mulch
Wood mulch can be the best choice if you are growing delicate plants that will benefit from the extra nutrients wood mulch offers. One of the concerns with rubber mulch is having it get mixed into the soil, so if you are going to be working the soil in a lot, rubber mulch can be a problem. Plus, raking up the rubber mulch while trying not to uproot your plants can be a concern as well. Wood mulch is a better fit for your young, budding plants.
Stronger Gardens (Like Trees) – Either
This circumstance can benefit from either. Because trees will require less constant weeding and tending, rubber mulch can work really well. One of the benefits for rubber mulch around trees is that rubber mulch is not an attractant for insects. Wood mulch, on the other hand, can attract termites if spread too deep and close around the tree trunk. It also provides the natural nutrients that will help the tree to continue to grow. Also, as mentioned, replacing the wood mulch will be simpler (since you don’t have to rake it up) but more often (since it breaks down). In the end, this one is really up to your preference.
Are you ready for landscaping to begin? If you are looking for where to get your mulch here in Utah, check out Express Landscape Products! We can blow them right into place for you!