How to Uninstall Rubber Mulch


Gardeners use rubber mulch as an alternative to standard organic mulches such as pine needles or wood chips. Rubber mulch can be used under swing sets to create a soft cushioned play area or in gardens in place of mulch. Rubber mulch presents quite a controversial issue at second glance. Companies shred used tires (minus the steel belts) to form a reliable water retention and weed control product used as a permanent mulch. However, tire material has highly flammable properties as well as additional concerns such as toxicity and damage to the soil. Choosing to uninstall rubber mulch involves complete removal of the product and proper disposal.

Step 1

Pull the rubber mulch towards the front of the garden using a standard wide-toothed rake. The biggest part of this job lies in removing as many pieces of shredded rubber mulch as possible. A staged approach will allow you to remove the mulch in succession to avoid picking up individual pieces.

Step 2

Place the wheelbarrow or tarp in a readily accessible location to easily dump the rubber mulch during removal.

Step 3

Scoop the mulch out of the garden using the spade or flat blade shovel, depending on which works best for the size of mulch in your garden. Carefully lift each shovelful of rubber mulch for placement into the wheelbarrow or on the tarp.

Step 4

Continue removing this initial round of mulch for disposal until you've scooped out the majority of the loose rubber mulch. Mulch will probably have mixed in with soil in the garden area so you'll be removing some soil as well.

Step 5

Use the flexible metal or plastic leaf rake to perform the second round of raking on the garden surface, grabbing the rubberized mulch to pull it towards the front of the garden. The closer tines on this type of rake will grab smaller pieces left behind during the initial raking with the bow rake.

Step 6

Drag the tarp (or roll the wheelbarrow) to a paved surface such as a driveway. Transfer the rubber mulch to garden waste bags on the paved surface to prevent this product falling into the grass. Sweep up any stray bits of mulch for proper disposal.

Step 7

Perform a visual inspection of the garden soil to check for stray bits of rubberized mulch. Use the flexible rake for additional sweeps of the garden to grab additional pieces of mulch.

Step 8

Apply a 3 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch to the garden surface to protect from the hot sun and to shield plant roots from cold in the winter.

Step 9

Dispose of the mulch properly at the waste center since this product is petroleum-based and flammable.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade shovel
  • Flat blade shovel
  • Wide-tooth garden rake (bow rake)
  • Flexible metal or plastic leaf rake
  • Tarp or wheelbarrow
  • Broom
  • Garden waste bags
  • Organic mulch


  • Clemson University
  • Cornell University
Keywords: rubber mulch, uninstall rubber mulch, inorganic mulch

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.