Mulching – as we’ve discussed here many times – is a little bit more complex then simply buying a bag and spreading the stuff around your tree. Not only is there proper technique involved, but there are also different kinds of mulch to consider. One of those is rubber ring mulch.
Rubber mulch is made by grinding up old and recycled tire rubber and is one of the most popular alternatives to natural mulch. Not only does rubber mulch enhance the appearance of your trees, but it’s clean and easy to apply. To some, that would seem to be counterintuitive. Rubber’s not only not known to be bad for the soil, but it can even include some toxins. Now – this is usually the part of
the blog where we talk about the skeptics and their viewpoint and then say BUT ALSO – but this time they’re actually correct. Rubber mulch isn’t the best for your trees and here’s why.
Rubber rings are just not nearly as effective as organic mulch is and some of the materials can, in fact – hurt your trees. The pluses are that it’s easy to install and it can last for years, but the flip side of that is that rubber usually adds toxic contaminants into the soil – especially over long periods of time. In fact, there’s a lot of research out there that says that rubber rings can stunt tree growth, cause
coloration issues with your leaves and greatly increases the possibility that your tree might die.
While we don’t usually encounter these issues here in the northeast – if you’re one of our national readers and live in areas where wildfires can be a common occurrence, then we absolutely suggest that you avoid the stuff if at all possible. It’s the rubber mulch that will ignite even faster than the tree itself and thanks to its overall chemical makeup, can be difficult to extinguish.
All in all, we recommend that you avoid rubber mulch. It’s fine if you’re looking for a temporary stop gap and often times can be in those short periods better than using nothing at all; but large in part should be avoided. If you want all the benefits that come with mulch, then we recommend that you use the real stuff.