How to Use Rubber Mulch

Overview

Rubber mulch is made from shredded (crumbled) recycled tires. It's use has come out of our societies consideration of saving important resources and finding ways to reuse throw-away items. Most other mulches, used to keep weeds down in the garden, are made from wood, leaves, bark, hay, pine needles and newspaper. Rubber mulch may be a bit more costly, but it lasts much longer, as it is not naturally biodegradable and it does not blow away.

Step 1

Figure the amount of rubber mulch needed for your garden or landscape. For 2 inches of mulch you will need 4 lbs. for every square foot. Figure this on your own, by multiplying the ground area's length by it's width. Then, divide it by 12. You may also use an online mulch calculator .

Step 2

Choose the color of rubber mulch that matches your exterior home décor and landscaping colors. The most commonly garden used rubber mulch colors are black and different hues of red and brown. Purchase the amount you need. For every 25 square feet, you will need a 40 lb. bag to cover a 2 inch thickness.

Step 3

Rake up and remove any debris, such as rocks, tree twigs, weeds and other loose mulch. Rake the area evenly, if needed.

Step 4

Water your plants, well.

Step 5

Spray the soil area with an organic herbicide (found at garden centers, nurseries and online) to discourage any future weeds from growing through the rubber mulch. Make sure the herbicide you choose will not harm your other plants. Always read the manufacturer's suggested usage on the package.

Step 6

Place a weed fabric or landscape fabric (found at garden centers) over the soil, but leaving 2 inches free around each plant.

Step 7

Spread the mulch in the chosen area, but leave approximately 2 inches free around stems and trunks. This allows enough room for the plant to breath and to keep from encouraging pests onto your plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Using a plastic sheet, instead of a weed fabric, can be detrimental to your plants, by suffocating them. Too much mulch can suffocate plants or cause roots to grow shallowly, as not enough water can get through. Shallow roots can be frozen during cold winters, killing plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden tools
  • Organic Herbicide
  • Weed fabric
  • Rubber mulch

References

  • Lowes: Landscaping with Mulch
  • Decorative Rubber Mulch

Who Can Help

  • Mulch Calculator
Keywords: rubber mulch, landscaping mulch, garden mulch