Mulch - Rubber
Question: I just saw a brochure about rubber mulch made from tires. I thought it was a great idea for recycling a material that is difficult to dispose of. This product, while very durable, would probably retain heat and not keep plants as cool as most mulch does. What do you think about it? —J.M., Fort Worth
Answer: I am very much against rubber tire mulches. They contain toxic materials and don't work well. They do absorb and hold too much heat, they don't break down and turn into humus and the look is not attractive. Stick with shredded mulches from native trees.
- Some recycled varieties may leach chemicals (some toxic) which are harmful to plants
- Rubber mulch, like some organic mulches, is a hazard if ignited. However, rubber mulch is more difficult to extinguish.
Although rubber mulch is generally safe, recycled tire rubber leachates do contain certain minerals and compounds which may cause concern in high concentrations. Recycled tire mulch can contain trace amounts of various minerals from the tire manufacturing process and other chemicals that may have been picked up during the tire's service life.
Rubber mulch nuggets. The white fibers are nylon cords, which are present in the tires which the mulch is made from.