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How to Use Rubber Mulch for Landscaping

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017

Rubber mulch has all the same benefits of organic mulches, including moisture retention, some weed control, soil-temperature retention and aesthetic appeal. Further, rubber mulch is longer-lasting than wood mulch and won’t blow away. Rubber mulch comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, including many varieties that look just like wood mulch. You can use rubber mulch in your flower beds, around trees and shrubs, to disguise drainage devices or French drains, or for creating walkways. Lay rubber landscape mulch in mid-spring, after the soil begins to warm up. A 1 ½- to 2-inch layer of rubber mulch is best for landscaping purposes.

Apply a pre-emergent weed-killer to the areas where you plan to lay the rubber mulch. Pull out all weeds and apply the weed-killer two days before laying the rubber mulch. Follow the directions on the chemical’s label exactly.

Calculate how much rubber mulch you’ll need to cover the desired areas. Most rubber mulch sellers have mulch calculators you can use. For example, if you’re mulching a 6-foot by 3-foot flower bed at a rate of 2 inches deep, you’ll need about 3 cubic feet of rubber mulch.

Water any flowers, young trees, shrubs or other plants right before laying the rubber mulch around them. If you’re laying rubber mulch in a flower or garden bed where you’ve just planted seeds, you can insert small flags or sticks so you don’t lay mulch directly over the seeds.

Spread the mulch in the desired landscape areas. Rake the mulch to level the area and create a uniform depth of 1 ½ to 2 inches.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pre-emergent weed-killer
  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Small flags or sticks
  • Rubber mulch
  • Garden rake
  • Gloves

Tip

  • Wear gloves when handling rubber mulch. Although many newer versions of rubber mulch contain dyes that won't rub off as much, excessive handling can sometimes stain your hands and irritate your skin.

Warning

  • Don't expect the rubber mulch to prevent weeds from growing around your plants. Weed growth will slow and diminish, however, as long as you use at least a 2-inch layer of rubber mulch.

About the Author

 

Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.