Landscaping Mulch: What Should I Choose Rubber Mulch vs Natural Mulch

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Pros & Con's of Durability, Environment and More ...

When choosing your landscaping either for business or residential, there are a lot of options to choose from.  When you think about landscaping you want to make sure you know your hardiness seasons for certain plants and bushes as well as if you want annuals or perennials.  Normally the last piece of the landscape puzzle is mulch.  Yes, you have many options here as well and we aren’t talking about color.  There are different types of mulch, such as rubber mulch or natural wood mulch for your landscaping. So, it’s more than a desired color to match your landscaping, it is based on if you want environmentally friendly or if you want longevity of the product.  And technically there isn’t a right or wrong answer, just preference of your own accord. Below we will go through the pros and cons of each, and you can decide what works best with your landscape!

                           

  1. How long do each last?

Rubber mulch will not break down and should last for the life without any upkeep.

Natural mulch, made from wood, will eventually break down and decompose, forcing you to replace it once or twice a year. This will ensure the mulch stays strong and keep the aesthetic you are searching for.

 

  1. Soil Safety

Rubber mulch has a higher chance of leaking chemicals into your garden. Rubber mulch is made from recycled tires and brings in things the tire has come into contact with during its time on the road. Rubber also has a tendency to leak high amounts of zinc into the soil, which can throw off the balance of chemicals. Soil contains zinc already, so if you live in an area with low amounts of zinc this may not be an issue, but if you live in an area already high in zinc this may throw off the balance of your soil.

Natural mulch is made from wood chips and is generally a safer alternative as it will bring fewer chemicals into the area. Natural mulch is just that, natural, there is a much lower chance of any processed items or chemicals coming into contact with this option. Non-dyed mulch is even safer for your plants and soil as it contains even fewer chemicals.


                 

Pests

Rubber mulch does not attract bugs and other pests due to the fact that is it not composed of organic material that these pests are drawn to. Rubber is more difficult for insects to travel through and cling onto, making it less likely they will make their way into the soil of your landscapes.

Natural mulch is a different story, however. Pests such as termites are drawn to wood that they can easily travel on and eat for a snack. Natural mulch has everything termites need to survive, wood to eat that is easy to get around in and a damp place to thrive. These pests can end up being an issue if the mulch is near other plants that can be consumed by insects.

Aesthetics

Rubber mulch may stay longer than natural mulch, but is that always a good thing? If you want to change up the look of your landscape rubber mulch is much more difficult to move as it is heavier and will not just break down. Another con may be the unpleasant smell that lingers after rubber mulch is installed.

Natural mulch is able to decompose, giving you the option to change it up if that is what you want, and it is much simpler to remove than rubber mulch. Natural much also comes in many different colors and textures as there are many different varieties of trees.

User-friendliness
Rubber mulch is heavy and more difficult to install. It is harder to move when gardening or attempting to pull weeds, making the task even more difficult.  Rubber mulch will need to be picked up and removed in order to tend to the soil as it is basically just a top coat.

Drainage
Rubber mulch offers excellent drainage for soil and helps the soil to retain the moisture, as well. It also provides protection for the soil from harsh weather conditions that may disrupt it.


Natural mulch retains the water, which can cause problems such as mold in your landscape. It will not drain as quickly as rubber mulch but will decompose much faster, meaning that if you do have an issue with drainage it is easy to replace natural mulch and add rocks to it to help with drainage.

User-friendliness
Rubber mulch is heavy and more difficult to install. It is harder to move when gardening or attempting to pull weeds, making the task even more difficult. Rubber mulch will need to be picked up and removed in order to tend to the soil as it is basically just a top coat.

Natural mulch is easier to install as it is not as heavy and easily spread. Due to the fact that natural mulch breaks down over time it can be tilled into your soil, giving it even more nutrients. It can be easily changed each season because it decomposes or add more mulch.

Rubber mulch and Natural much are both excellent options when trying to decide how to prepare your landscape. Hopefully these comparisons help you to decide which mulch is right for you and your landscaping needs. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.