How Do I Keep Weeds Out Of My Flower Beds Rubber Mulch – Is it Safe For Your Flower Garden?

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Rubber Mulch – Is it Safe For Your Flower Garden?

In a desperate attempt to reduce the work involved in changing the mulch in my flower garden every year, I started doing a little research on rubber mulch. What I discovered is that there has been a lot of controversy surrounding rubber mulch around your garden because, according to some gardeners, rubber mulch can leach chemicals that could kill your plants. In a 1997 report written by Rufus Chaney, an environmental chemist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, he said that in his studies, small amounts of zinc in rubber mulch could leach into the soil over time.

The next report I read came from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission that tested gravel, wood chips and rubber mulch and they gave rubber mulch the highest impact absorption ratings when used as a playground cover. This is good news for parents and teachers as it will provide safety and reduce cuts and bruises that children can get while on playgrounds.

Several other studies I read stated that rubber mulch is non-leaching, non-flammable and non-toxic to plants, animals and pets. The problem with these studies is that they were conducted and sponsored by mulch companies so I don’t know if we should believe them or not. And the bickering between environmental agencies and rubber mulch companies continues.

So now we know that rubber mulch is fine when used on playgrounds and other non-garden related areas, but what about a flower garden? First, look at what rubber mulch is. It is made from old rubber tires from which the steel strips have been removed. It doesn’t matter the size, quality or brand of tire, any old tire will do. It doesn’t matter if the tire comes from a truck or a car. The rubber from these tires is then shredded to form rubber mulch. Next, we will discuss the pros and cons of using rubber mulch.

Advantages

o it is a recycled material that benefits the environment

o insulates the soil, protecting it from heat

o does not absorb water, so it keeps the soil moist

o prevents weeds because the seed will dehydrate in the mulch before it reaches the soil

o shredded rubber mulch can be used as a landfill

o does not wash off during heavy rain

oh it doesn’t fail

o does not sink into the ground

o does not attract termites, ants and other garden insects

o can be bought in different colors to beautify the garden or landscape

o there is no need to remove old mulch from the garden year after year

o saves time and money for garden needs

Disadvantages

o is more expensive than ordinary wood mulch

o can leach chemicals into the soil

o does not supply the soil with any organic matter

o Some gardeners have reported that it has killed some of their plants

o can produce a bad smell when it spreads in the garden

By reviewing the lists above, it is obvious that the advantages of using rubber mulch far outweigh the disadvantages. But should we take the risk and use it in our flower gardens? This is a decision that each individual gardener must make.

As for me, I took a risk and bought rubber mulch in March of this year and replaced the old wood mulch in my flower garden. I have to admit that I was a little nervous at first, but it was a decision I had to make to save time and money. I expected some bad smell to spread through my garden, but there was none. Time will tell if the rubber mulch will damage some of my plants, but so far my flower garden is doing well and the rubber mulch looks great.

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