Anyone using Rubber Mulch?

johnkr(z5 PA)May 2, 2009

I tried some rubber mulch in the front lawn and it seems great. ItÂs guaranteed to lasts 20 years and wonÂt rot or create organic runoff when it rains. The bag says itÂs resistant to mold and approved for use in playgrounds. ItÂs also nice to walk on and keeps weeds from getting sunlight.

IÂm thinking of using some near my pond. Anyone have any experience with it?

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I will admit up front I think the stuff is disgusting. I spend alot of time working to improve the soil in my yard and rubber mulch does not improve anything.

Aside from that - I know that any uncovered EPDM liner on my pond will get hot enough in the sun to kill baby toads climbing out of the water. (the really stupid ones will even climb out on rocks and die) I would be careful using rubber anywhere that frogs and toads might get on it as it might get too warm.

I have a neighbor who used stones for mulch a few years back. Eventually dirt and leaves got mixed with the rocks. She had to dig out all those stones. It took her weeks. She put them in buckets and I brought them home and spent a few hours with a hose (very pleasant on a hot day) washing them. They are now part of my "creek" - where they are collecting more dirt and leaves.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 9:23PM
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The only place I'm planning on using rubber mulch is in my rose garden, which is against the house. I've seen termites in organic mulch and I don't want it so close to the house for that reason. Also, since I won't be pulling my roses up any time soon, I don't have to concern myself about the rubber mulch getting mixed into the soil.

However, around the pond where I tend to keep annuals, I prefer the organic mulch because it doesn't matter if it gets mixed into the soil when I pull up the annuals. It will decompose and is beneficial to the soil.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 9:33PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Killing frogs! That is a new one to put on the list of reasons not to use it. I've heard a lot of people say they won't use it for one reason or another including concern over heavy metals but very few say they like it. I've just never paid much attention. I'm still sifting little pieces of weather worn plastic out of the soil and trying to capture styrofoam beads that wind up in the pond. Give me a couple of days and I am sure I can run up a list. I sure would worry about the heat gain if I had any intention of using it. Sandy

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 9:57AM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

The rubber mulch I've used so far is in the front yard. I'm not too worried about it mixing with the soil as I have a layer of weed guard material separating the mulch from the ground. It's more of a landscape/weed control feature and the only plants are shrubs.

My cousin has had it in his front lawn for three years and the stuff looks like he just put it down yesterday. He also has only shrubs and they are doing well. I'm not so sure I would use it in an area containing flowers. A major plus for the rubber mulch is termite control. Placing wood mulch next to your house is an open invitation.

I was thinking of using the mulch to create a pathway between my pond and an isolated patio area constructed of cobblestones. I'm looking for weed control and low maintenance. I think the mulch would be easier to walk on then stone.

I know things get hot from the summer sun, but I can't imaging frogs burning up on rubber mulch. Don't frogs leave the pond at night to catch insects and return before the sun heats things up? That's what my frogs do. Does rubber get that much hotter compared to rocks? I know the rocks surrounding my pond get very hot, but not to the extent of causing injury. Perhaps the heat would be more of a problem in a southern climate. Does rubber really get that much hotter? Has anyone ever gotten burned from changing a flat tire on a hot day?

I'm not committed to the mulch pathway yet, but I like the idea of recycled rubber put to good use as opposed to being dumped into our landfills.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 4:10PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I think its fine to turn tires into other things that will then be recycled. I'm concerned when they start making stuff out of recycled tires that will just end up in the throwing tires in a landfill. No different......and maybe even worse, since it puts this stuff into areas that aren't expected to be toxic, but might be. (Like if someone in the future buys your house and plants veggies in the stuff).
I would never, ever use that stuff in the ground.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 7:56AM
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tomkaren(z9 Citrus Co FL)

My neighbor has had rubber mulch for a driveway. It has been there for a couple of years and still smells like rubber. Not pleasant to me. IMHO I can't see it not getting into other places then where it was originally put.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 7:52PM
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johnkr(z5 PA)

IÂve been using rubber mulch for over a year and have been very pleased with it. The temperatures have reached the high nineties several times this summer and the mulch does not get hot nor does it have a rubber smell. It does stay in place and for the first time, I did not have to replace the mulch due to rotting. It dries quickly and IÂve seen no mold when I raked it this spring. The natural mulch would always have some mold.

Heavy rains would also carry the wood mulch into my lawn. Not so for the rubber mulch.

The rubber mulch I purchased was labeled as "approved for playgrounds". The main reason I used it was because it does not produce mold or attract termites.

I would worry more about dyes used to color wood mulch and what harm they may create.

As mbentley has pointed out, rubber mulch is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency. I think itÂs kind of funny how it was condemned by some posters for reasons that are simply not supported.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 5:37PM
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