Rubber Mulch ???

Went to the local Home and Garden Show this weekend..... one product that seemed to have value was "rubber mulch" which was manufactured out of recycled tires.
Some reasons why I thought it would work are:
Longevity - keeps its color for about 20 years. The material doesn't break down.
About 5 times heavier than traditional mulch... I have a lot of leaves in the fall plus those stupid round spiky balls from sweet gum trees all year round. Using a blower on shredded hardwood, blows the mulch away. The sales literature suggests that yard cleanup will be a lot easier using the rubber mulch which stays intact.
The rubber mulch does not absorb or transfer water between air and ground...Water soaks through the pieces of mulch and is kept in the ground. Less watering, more water available to the plants, less evaporation.
The rubber mulch is inorganic and will not attract insects and will not provide a home for slugs....both of which are a continuing problem. Which in turn cuts down on the use of insecticide.
The area which I'm thinking of using this mulch is a plant bed in front of the house.... the area is 6' by 25'. The current plants are 3 China Girl Hollies, a full grown yew... rows of established Hostas, a few lillies and daffodils and a established fern. The bed is pretty well established, I'm not planning on adding any more plants to it, but will have to divide the hostas and replenish the bulbs.
So despite the fact that on a hot zone 8 day (temperatures of 105'), the front yard yard may smell like a car tire.... and that I will not be able to turn over this bed again....... Are there any downsides to using this product under these circumstances??
Thanks !!!
http://www.rubberificmulch.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 01 Apr 2004 06:32:01 -0500, Peter <> wrote:

Seems like this might be good for some applications. The downside is that the ground will not be able to "breathe" freely which could lead to other conditions. Organic mulches such as pine needles, bark chips, compost, leaf mold, etc add nutrients to the soil, but a rubber mat does very little. As a professional landscaper, I question the artificial appearance of it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<Peter> wrote in message

with the crap that's put in rubber and try to condemn it ;( Frank
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Which would include the USDA -- independent studies (as opposed to vendor display "studies") have found that rubber mulch leaches sufficient zinc to kill all of a garden's perennials & annuals & to damage shrubs. It is unsafe to use anywhere near gardens. Period. But as a waste product impossible to recycle into future tires, the only desire here is not good landscaping & gardening practice, but good profits turning a waste product into profits. Such wankers really don't care about the environment as long as they can laugh on the way to the bank.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
the other purpose of mulch is to break down and improve the soil. rubber aint gonna do that. Ingrid
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 01 Apr 2004 14:27:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

I don't think it will keep down weeds any better than 2" of gravel either, but I could get it in different colors.
Regards,
Hal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you give it a try, please let us know how it goes! I live in northern Montana -- so far, any mulch that I put down ends up blowing to North Dakota -- I hope it is enriching the soil of some lucky gardener there. :-)
Lisa
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter <> wrote:

It got me to look just because I think anything that uses old tires is worth looking into.
-snip why it is good-

According to their site, buying direct from them it would cost you about $150 plus shipping to do that area 1 1/2" thick. Seems *really* expensive to me for something that; Can't be tilled in when I change the design. . . . . . adds no nutrients to the soil . . . is unproven as to color stability-- and that could look pretty ugly in a couple years
-snip-

. . . does nothing to cool the beds on a hot day . [further north, the heat holding capacity of rubber might be a plus. Zone 8 I think you're more likely to benefit more from a cool mulch]

I'm still intrigued though--- I hope my neighbor tries it out.<g>
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 01 Apr 2004 06:32:01 -0500, Peter <> wrote:

The price?? I can buy wood chips $10 a pickup (I haul) load or $100 a dump truck load delivered. That adds to my land and has to be done 3" or more thick once a year or weeds take over. I'm not sure if 2" of Rubber Stuff Mulch would be effective or if it would take more. I am curious as to how it would work around my lantana bed that grows over everything, and I'm not telling my wife about the colors yet.
http://www.americanrubber.com / RubberStuff Mulch
$11.75 Bag
Covers 7.5 Square Feet 2" Depth Aprox Wt 30 Lbs, Size 1.15 Cubic Feet
Ton Pallet $695.00 SAVE $80.50! (covers 500 sq. ft. @ 2" depth) Aprox Wt One Ton, 66 bags
Regards,
Hal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Looks like very thinly disguised STEALTH SPAM!
According to the USDA's Dr Rufus Cheny, rubber mulch leeches sufficient zinc into the soil to kill all annuals & perennials, & that reason alone is sufficient to NEVER use it. Vendors liken this perennial & annual killing guarantee as "weed suppressing," but it kills the entire garden. So IF it were sensibly used ANYwhere (and it's not, for a host of reasons, but leaching heavy metals & killing plants is the biggie) it would be only in areas where now, & for the next century, you know for sure nothing will ever be planted -- typically around playground equipment, from whence it migrates into surrounding planted areas & kills the plants, causing one study to recommend it be mixed with gravel in the hopes that that will keep it from dispersing.
It is not a "plus" that this crapola never breaks down in the environment, no more than if you worked any other bits of plastic, rubber, or miscellaneou7s rubbish into the landscape knowing you're stuck with it for generations to come. If five years later you want to turn that "nice" plant-free zone into a garden, forget it. You polluted it for a century.
Further, it stinks to high heaven in summer. You wouldn't want it anywhere near where people have to breathe. It can't be used in enclosed areas because the fumes can be toxic, though in the open air it is "merely" an issue of stench, stench, stench.
http://www.paghat.com/rubbermulch.html
-paghat the ratgirl

--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Absolutely.
We all had endured this very same debate over using ground up tires as mulch last year and have cited numerous actual studies that proved that the disgusting stuff is not only unsightly and smelly but also toxic to plants and humans. It is something that any sane person would never use in their garden in any way.
Can the old thread be resurrected for all those newbies that haven't seen it? Maybe the info can be posted somewhere as a FAQ for quick reference?
Peter <> wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Cereus-validus wrote:

I just did a google newsgroup search and came up with this link for last year's discussion in this newsgroup about rubber mulch: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&threadm=paghat-0805031156110001%40soggy72.drizzle.com&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fas_q%3Drubber%2520mulch%26safe%3Dimages%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26as_ugroup%3Drec.gardens%26as_drrb%3Db%26as_mind%3D1%26as_minm%3D1%26as_miny%3D2003%26as_maxd%3D1%26as_maxm%3D4%26as_maxy%3D2004%26lr%3D%26hl%3Den
This link is very long and may be truncrated in some browsers. If it does you can just go to http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search?hl=en and enter "rubber mulch group:rec.gardens" (without the quotes) in the search box.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Digital Camera: HP PhotoSmart 850
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 01 Apr 2004 16:59:10 GMT, "Cereus-validus"

Will this do?
http://www.gardenbanter.co.uk/archive/55/2003/06/1/21304
http://www.sare.org/htdocs/hypermail/html-home/18-html/0259.html
Now I'm back to hauling wood chips!
Thanks,
Hal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter <> wrote in

Around summer 2002, despite the exorbitant price, I bought one Perm-a-mulch "tree mat" [UPC 6 65841 24000 0 www.permamulch.com 100% recycled rubber] to put around a small tree, primarily to keep grass from growing around it. I don't remember if there was a smell, probably, but not currently. I had thought it had blown away during the hurricane, but I checked an it's still out there, covered with a layer of (dead) thatch! The grass around it is growing profusely (still waiting to get the push reel mower). In the installation slit (which they recommend sealing with landscape fabric, which I keep forgeting to do), "weeds" are growing. The "weeds" have reddish purple color around the edges, most of the look the same as another plant 10" away, but one has a leaf that is noticably more sickly (grayish surface in addition to red/purple edges). If I had to guess, I would say the "weeds" are wild strawberry. Maybe someone with experience in plant pathology can say if any of that is symptomatic of zinc toxicity.
For my intended purpose, creating a buffer between tree and lawn, I thought it worked pretty well. I don't think anything grew through the mat from below, and the thatch is probably from runners from the adjacent grass and was able to grow roots in the surface of the mat, but not difficult to pull off. After 1.5 years, the mat looks a lot scrubbier than I remember it. In fact, it looks rather like dirt. Not a perfect solution, but seems better than the alternatives.
The 'tree-mat' is a one piece deal and easy enough to discard if it's out lived it usefulness. The rubberific website doesn't say, but I'm assuming their stuff is in pieces. As for downsides, if you live in a high wind area or your blower is too powerful, you better hope the stuff is heavy enough to stay in place or you'll be forever picking up little pieces of rubber that will never decompose. You had better like the color you pick out, because you're stuck with it for however long it lasts. Just because it doesn't make a suitable haven for insects or slugs, doesn't mean some other opportunistic pests won't think otherwise in the future. Despite the Environmental Pollution Agency's approval, you shouldn't consider the product inert. Aestheticly, years from now, you may qualify to join those people who have had polyester leisure suits, nylon parachute pants or silicone breast implants for membership in the "What the hell was I thinking?" club.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
.

Whew...... that's quite a lot of input..... with several points which bear looking into (zinc content and plant destruction).
The mulch runs about .60 - .82 cents per pound. Pricey, but I'm paying for the solution to several problems. The area will cost about 175.00 USD to cover, not a bad investment provided that it resolves existing problems of cleanup and pests, both of which continue to be a major problem.
Colorfastness is probably good for about 10 - 20. The bed is bordered by stone so containment isn't a problem.
The zinc leaching concerns me, so does the weight of the material which might prevent bulbs and perenials from reaching the surface, and also the inability of the material to break down. The bed was completely dug up several years ago, with a lot of organic material added. So the soil is 'el primo' and it would be a shame to ruin it.
I'm headed back to the company to ask a few questions...and also get some more information before using the material...... it sounds pretty good for some applications, but not a perennial flower bed.
Well, a little more investigation is needed...specially for the several points which were brought up.... I'm glad that I checked with you guys and girls before running down to the local recycled tire factory and laying down all the mulch....
Thanks again for all your help and advice !!!!
Peter
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You should stick to bark mulch and just forget about spending more on spent rubber that was vulcanized.
Live long and prosper.
<Peter> wrote in message

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Peter <> wrote in

Why did you quote the price per pound? Is that what they told you? That's usually a sign that somebody's jerking you, when AFAIK, mulches are sold by volume, not by weight. How does the price and weight compare with rock mulches? (marble chips are around $2-$3 / half cu. ft. and pine bark nuggets can be had for $1 / cu ft??)
What kind of insect pests do you have? Pests need homes and food. I'm not so sure that slugs won't also find rubber mulch appealing to live in. The insects (and maybe the slugs as well) may be attracted by the rich organic matter or your plants and changing the mulch isn't going to change that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes !!.... The rubber mulches are sold by weight rather than volume.

Not able to answer. The weight of the rubber mulch was stated to be about 5 times heavier than equivilent organic mulch. The web site contains pound to area conversion.

Slugs, beetles and probably some nocturnal creatures that chew during the night. The plants are nice, green, leafy Hosta's, and a few Corel Bell's.
The Yew is safe, so are the Chinese Hollies and Ostrich Fern.
I think , the coral bells are deer candy.... but they get chewed up so quickly that I'm not sure whether it's the deer, slugs, beetles or other nocturnal things.
The Hosta's are attacked by the slugs. I have ajuga in an adjoining bed which is never touched.
Thanks...
Peter
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.