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7 Reasons for Using Rubber Mulch

By The Ugly Duckling House on Apr 09, 2012
Michelle from Dream Home DIY had me thinking about mulch the other day.

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Oh yes, my life is that exciting.  Until recently, I didn't know that rubber mulch was possible for home landscaping.  I've been using wood mulch sparingly in the front garden, but it's getting annoying.  I don't weed like I should, the mulch doesn't block them for me like it should, and it gets all over the place when the wind blows.

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And perhaps most importantly, the idea of putting a smorgasbord of wood around my cedar sided home to tempt termites gives me the heebies.  But once I'd finally found out that there was a rubber alternative, I knew it would be the right choice for me:

1.  It's the last bag I'll have to buy.  Rubber mulch keeps for 10-20 years and doesn't require as much upkeep as wood mulch.  Score one for the lazy landscape girls like me.

2.  It's green.  Rubber mulch uses recycled materials - like the flat tires I kept having problems with before I bought Rose.  At least parts of them don't have to wind up forever on the side of the road.  Plus, many of them are certified and non-toxic (and for dogs too) - just do your homework and choose a good brand.

3.  It's like good lipstick.  The color (which comes in a variety of options) doesn't fade.  In the Georgia sun, this is quite a nice perk.  And the color is usually warrantied for 12-15 years!

4.  It's fake, but not too fake.  Even though it's rubber, it mimics the look of wood  mulch.  Meaning I don't embarrass myself even more in front of my neighbors.

5.  It will save me money.  The cost is a little pricier, but given that it doesn't break down like regular wood mulch, it's actually a better value over time.  The wood kind is under $4, and the rubber is about twice (or maybe 3x) that - so I'll recoup the greater cost in as little as two years when it can be kept for ten.

6.  It resists bugs.  Wood mulch is a gateway drug to cedar sided homes like mine.  Rubber doesn't harbor insects (like termites), so this is my number one reason why I'm doing rubber over wood-based materials.

7.  It's heavy.  Rubber mulch doesn't blow away and can be kept at a shorter depth than the wood kind - meaning you use less product and cover more ground.  This too helps alleviate the increased cost.

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There are a number of naysayers that will discourage the use of rubber in landscaping with the assumption that the chemicals from the rubber leach into the ground and will kill your plants, or the rubber blocks out all moisture and will smother your plants instead.  However, multiple reputable organizations like the EPA have endorsed rubber mulch as an appropriate recycled use of rubber tires.  And if plumbing (or the attempt at it) has taught me anything, it's that water has no trouble with just about anything on the planet.  I say go with what works for you.  In my case, that means as little effort as possible.  Busy girls have things to do!

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