Which is better? Rubber Mulch vs Wood Mulch

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Is Rubber Mulch from Recycled Rubber Tires a Damage to the Environment?

Which is better: Wood Mulch vs. Rubber Mulch Rings

Recently there has been some concern about Recycled Rubber Mulch as Tree Rings and Molded Products. Are they a damage to the environment? Are they any better than regular wood mulch? Why should I use one over the other? 

We thought this would be a good topic to visit before the warmer months arrive in full swing. Considering we are sellers of Rubber Mulch Tree Rings, we don’t want you to think we are going to be one sided and report the news biased. We are looking to understand the benefits and uses just as much as you are. So after research and looking into things here’s some of the stuff we thought was important to address.

For us personally, we will say we have sold rubber mulch mats and tree rings to our consumers for years and have generally had great reviews from our customers. In the process of our research we did find some downsides and we’re glad to share that information with you.


How reliable and sturdy is the rubber mulch compared to wood chips?
Rubber mulch has the reputation for being long lasting and durable, and has been growing in popularity in recent years. It’s especially popular as a ground cover for playgrounds because of its soft and springy bounce. But it has been gaining ground in the garden as well. Rubber mulch is a recycled product, made of old tires that have been stripped of metal parts. landscape ideas


 Get your very own Edge Border Here!

Want to use it for Landscaping 

Landscape experts say that the mulch does not fade as fast as traditional wood mulch and won’t float or blow away like many softwood mulches do during heavy rains or high winds. Rubber Mulch is also not stained and will not dry out in color from rain and other outside forces of nature that may attack it. If you buy red mulch for example, You will find the soil to have a reddish color and the mulch getting lighter over time. With the rubber mulch this is little to not little at all. Wondering how rubber mulch is made?

What does the Rubber Mulch do to weeds?
Mulches suppress weed growth by blocking the necessary light most weed seeds need for germination and early growth. A sufficiently deepen layer of rubber mulch, usually 2 inches or more, provides similar weed suppression capabilities as wood mulch. Although this weed suppression ability provides distinct advantages, rubber mulched areas must be weeded by hand.

Rubber Mulch Pathways are a lovely addition to your home garden! 

How much maintenance is required to keep the rubber mulch vs wood mulch?
{Properly installed} rubber mulch requires less to none maintenance compared to wood mulch and can last for 10 or more years; wood mulch is generally replaced each year. Rubber Mulch and Wood Mulch allows water and fertilizer applications to pass through to the soil. Sometimes wood will soak it up.

Have a funny or weird shaped yard and need to more customized rubber mulch layout for your garden?

Check out our Commercial and Residential Pour in Place Rubber Mulch Kits

Lexington KY Interstate Rest Stop pour in place. Thanks to ChurchHill Mcgee Construction for their great job

Rubber mulch also does not attract termites or carpenter ants like wood mulch does, which will protect your flowers, plants and home from the pests. One negative is its price; it’s quite a bit more expensive than other mulch products. But because it lasts significantly longer, you may actually see cost-saving benefits over the long haul. See what a 48 in Tree Ring looks like here…

What happens to old tires that are not recycled? Shop NOW!
Old tires that cannot be recycled are usually found in landfills. They are not biodegradable. Other tires are being burned releasing toxic chemicals in the air. In the U.S alone Americans throw out 300 million tires a year.

Environmentalist such as Conserv A Store reuse these tires so they are not being uselessly thrown aside. Manufacturers are now more open to recycling these tires and making them into something that is new and innovative which creates a circular economy. These manufacturers are taking the tires and shredding them down into other items such as rubber bands, tree rings, mulch, auto parts, and rubber belts.


What does rubber mulch vs wood mulch do to the soil?
Rubber mulch cannot be tilled into the soil, therefore weeding is usually done by hand. Recycled Rubber also does not provide the nutrients or organic matter to soil that wood does when it decomposes. This mulch must eventually be removed. To lay down weed fabric; helps with preventing weeds and also ensures that the rubber doesn’t get into the ground.



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Our experts say it’s extremely hard to remove it when it does. Experts agree that mulching in the spring or fall is a good way to inhibit weed growth, retain moisture and add to the aesthetic appeal of your landscape. Rubber mulch also blocks evaporation and prevents the soil from overheating. The mulch itself isn’t porous enough to hold any moisture on its own and will not soak it away from the soil. We have 60in Tree Rings for Purchase Here! 

How easy is it to install Rubber Mulch?
Rubber mulch may also require a little bit more effort considering it is lasting for 10 years or more at a time. With this being said it is also heavier and may take some planning ahead of time. For planting beds, the soil must be fully amended prior to installing the mulch.

Overall it may be a combo team of yourself and someone else to help you get it perfectly because it will take more effort than buy and place. Sometimes you may need to cut it to fit your garden perfectly and or if you get Pour in Place Rubber Mulch you need to fit an unusual area it will take more research to do it correctly. We even have one of the largest Rubber Mulch Tree Rings available on the market and it’s easy to place and leave: See the 72in Tree Ring here

It’s this easy…Click here 

Does Rubber Mulch give off toxic chemicals that can damage my garden?

Toxicity concerns from chemicals leaching from the rubber are the main disadvantage of rubber mulch. Heavy metals sometimes can pose a health hazard, so it’s best not to use rubber or wood mulch for vegetable gardens or edible plant beds.

Leached chemicals can stunt growth and eventually plant death. Unfortunately, the chemicals may also leach past the garden bed and taint groundwater sources so we suggest purchasing a quality rubber mulch that has been stripped and cleaning properly. Some folks think that rubber mulch smells, we will say upon first install this can happen but we find if the area if outside and well ventilated, in about a month, it’s very hard to smell.

Wood mulch is also a chance of transporting diseased trees to your garden. Wood mulch is nothing more than trees that are not worthy being chopped up. If there is a diseased tree and then it’s then turned into mulch, you then have a larger issue on hand.


Is it being flammable something I should worry about?

Both rubber mulch and wood mulch are flammable. In a Consumer Report test, rubber mulch burned hotter and faster than wood mulch. R. Mulch is also harder to put out once it is ignited. Of course organic mulch are more difficult to ignite and the fire will spread slower.

If you are looking to purchase rubber or wood mulch we suggest make sure you are not in a high fire risk area – regardless of either offering long term benefits. neither is a good choice when you live in a high fire risk area.

Not Biased 

We do like to offer non bias information. In that we do not want to sway one way or the other, we came across this video describing the harmful effects of using rubber mulch. Please look at this as well and make your own judgement from there.


We will say we are old enough to remember the mountains of used tires inhabiting land fills in the 60’s and 70’s which we guess were not very environmentally friendly either


“I prefer to listen to the Conserv A Store Podcast. It’s quick simple straight to the point and informative” – Sarah, Denver Colorado 

The Conserv A Store Podcast: February 1st 2021 : Basic Questions about Rubber Mulch


Overall, it’s no secret that mulching improves water retention and prevents weeds in the soil. Most mulches are made of organic materials, such as wood or straw. Rubber mulch resembles wood chips but supplies a longer-lasting synthetic mulch option. Rubber has both advantages and disadvantages. It truly depends on the person and purpose when it comes to if it will be beneficial to you or your landscape. Chemically redesigned to do other jobs than what it was initially intended for as well as what type of rubber tires it comes from has an impact on whether it will be good or not so much. Have Questions? Contact us here Conserv-A-Store

As always we’re here to help when you’re ready. If you need anything rubber related for Garden, Landscape, or Commercial uses, we are available to service your needs! We’d also like to introduce our newest product: The MEGA Edge Border

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Call us or Text anytime 407-898-2284 (We’re real humans)

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Is Rubber Mulch from Recycled Rubber Tires a Damage to the Environment

Recycled Rubber Tree Rings, Pour Your Own Mulch and Rectangular Rubber Mulch Mats

2 Responses

  1. Afton Jackson

    Thank you for explaining how rubber mulch won’t produce color staining problems with your landscape. I’m looking for a specific look for my property, and I feel like this material will help me manage that very well. I’ll ask for this when I work with a landscaping expert for sure.

  2. Nancy

    Thank you for explaining the differences between rubber and wood mulch in a neutral (not biased) way.
    I now know what to chose between the two.

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