Is Rubber Mulch bad for my plants and soil?

Asked February 4, 2017, 9:21 PM EST

I am thinking of redoing my front yard with native plants. Wanting it to be very low maintenance, I also don't want weeds and other volunteers. We have rubber mulch along a walkway, but was wondering if this is okay to mulch around plants. What are the things I should be considering for the plants and environment?

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

In general, the more natural the product, the better it is for the soil, plants, worms and humans. The first link below mentions several studies done regarding the red mulch, and it does not sound like a healthy habitat for native plants. Natives are wonderful for low maintenance areas - that is what our fields and forests are full of. But those pesky weeds also like to take up residence, as soon as you create a lovely environment for them. There are biodegradable "plastic" mulches available that would block weeds from sprouting and emerging from your soil, but you would want to cover that with bark or other nice looking mulch - that weeds will eventually blow in and sprout upon. The mulches will last at least a couple of years before you need to replenish - but that would be about as low-maintenance as you can expect for a natural environment that will promote a healthy ecosystem.

http://www.natureswayresources.com/DocsPdfs/RubberMulch.pd
http://www.finegardening.com/its-red-its-rubber-it-safe-your-garden