Rubber is an efficient mulch applied to all gardens and pathways to reduce weeds. However, most people ask if they can lay rubber mulch over wood mulch. They also ask whether a wood-rubber mulch is suitable for the garden and the plants. I’ve got answers to all these questions!
“Can I put rubber mulch on top of wood mulch?” You ask.
Yes, you can put rubber mulch on top of wood mulch. You apply rubber mulch on wood mulch to block any developing weeds. You can lay a rubber mulch of 3-6 inches thickness over your wood mulch. However, rubber mulch is heavier than wood mulch.
Besides answering the question regarding putting rubber mulch on top of wood mulch, this article will also cover the consequences of doing so and when to do it.
Keep on reading.
Can I Put Rubber Mulch On Top Of Wood Mulch?
You can put rubber mulch over wood mulch. Your pine needles and cedar chips are organic and wear out after lasting for some time in the garden. Think of a situation where you had applied this wood mulch, and after some time, it starts to decay.
The decayed wood mulch becomes nothing more than dirt on your garden. Nevertheless, it may offer nutrients to your soil. This decayed mulch can be overlaid with rubber mulch to retain its effectiveness. However, you can rake off larger undecayed wood chips before adding your rubber mulch.
Rubber mulch is made from materials that are recycled hence reducing landfills. It helps your soil retain more moisture and makes your compounds and gardens more beautiful.
On the other hand, rubber mulch deteriorates when subjected to too much sunlight. Therefore, you can add small amounts of wood mulch over the rubber mulch to increase its life expectancy.
Why Do You Apply Rubber Mulch On Top Of Wood Mulch?
Rubber mulch is applied to wood mulch because it’s more efficient and long-lasting. Besides, it allows water to drain freely into the soil since it’s less absorbent than wood mulch. That makes your plants more accessible to water, which enhances the plant’s livelihood and growth. It also allows fertilizers to sink directly into the soil without hindrances.
It also prevents the growth of unwanted plants such as weeds and fungi. It also works as a weed barrier, preventing the invasive plants’ seeds from reaching the soil. That saves you both money and time since it reduces the cost and time of weeding and spraying.
Besides, it requires minimal maintenance. Besides having fewer weeds to pull out, it also stands against winds and storms better than wood mulch. It also lasts longer than wood mulch and is not often replaced. Think of this rubber mulch covering your initial wood mulch. That can be a brilliant idea to prevent the wood mulch from being blown away by storms.
How Thick Should You Lay Rubber Mulch Over Wood Mulch?
You can lay rubber mulch to a thickness of 3-6 inches over wood mulch. This mulch thickness ensures you 95% to 99% weed reduction. It eradicates weed by dehydrating all the weed seeds beneath it.
Mulch thickness don’t affect its ability to drain water and allow aeration, so it maintains these qualities. However, too much thickness, above 6 inches, may be more than enough and is a waste of money.
You can edge your garden to prevent mulch from scattering from the garden especially when you apply a larger thickness
Is Rubber Mulch Heavier Than Wood Mulch?
Rubber mulch is much heavier than wood mulch. Therefore, it has a more substantial staying power than wood mulch. Also, if your area has strong winds and storms, wood chips would blow away easier than rubber.
You also notice that while wood chips decompose after a short time, rubber mulch lasts for 10-20 years. Consequently, it’s commonly known as permanent mulch. It also lands and sinks deeply into the soil.
Recycled rubber mulch can be heavier to transport than wood mulch. So, you can hire a local supplier and manufacturer to help minimize transport costs.
What Else Can I Put Down Before Adding Rubber Mulch On Top Of Wood Mulch?
You may add a landscaping fabric or a net before adding rubber mulch to your wood mulch. These materials work well to ensure that rubber and wood mulch don’t mix.
They also allow the transition of materials in and out of the soil. You can replace the landscaping fabric after some time when you observe leakages that may occur when the fabric wears out due to extreme environmental conditions.
How Do You Lay Rubber Mulch Over Wood Mulch?
You can simply apply rubber mulch over wood mulch. You can do that by:
- Lay a large piece of plastic next to the old mulch: Remove the large pieces of wood mulch by raking them into the large plastic. Also, shovel all the landscape timbers into the plastic. Leave behind the decaying and already decayed mulch in the garden.
- Lay the landscape fabric material on the garden where you removed the old wood mulch: Cut the fabric material using scissors to ensure it fits nicely in the garden and smooth any folded areas.
- Some small/microscopic weed seeds on the soil may germinate after you mulch: Apply pre-emergent to the ground before adding the rubber mulch to kill the seeds. Pre-emergents may be essential if your bed was bare for some time and prior to some weeds.
- Shovel the new rubber mulch onto the plastic landscape fabric and spread it out to a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches: Use the rake to align the mulch. Beware not to tear the plastic fabric when aligning.
- Shovel the initial mulch over the rubber mulch and rake it out to keep it from sunlight: This mulch only keeps the rubber mulch from sunburn.
The combined depth of the existing mulch and rubber mulch should not exceed 6 inches.
Do Rubber Mulch Cause Wood Mulch To Decay Faster?
Yes, rubber mulch causes wood mulch and any other organic substance beneath it to decay faster. The rubber mulch allows the soil to retain water, a component for decomposition for a longer time.
I observed that the wood mulch I had applied under rubber mulch in the garden decomposed in less than four months. That is because rubber mulch retains water that decays the wood mulch.
Compared to the initial six-month to one-year decomposition rate, wood mulch decays faster when buried under the rubber mulch. This decomposition also produces nutrients for the soil and favors plant growth.
Can Rubber Mulch And Wood Mulch Stick Together?
No, rubber mulch and wood mulch cannot stick together. If they do, separating them would be a nightmare! Besides, the rubber mulch may pollute the entire garden since it takes longer to decompose.
A landscaping fabric helps to separate the two mulches and allows water and air to move freely in and out.
You can also use a net to separate the mulch. A net is more effective when it comes to allowing the passage of substances across the soil.
Do You Need Landscape Fabric Under Rubber Mulch?
You need a landscape fabric under the rubber mulch to keep the rubber mulch in place. It also helps keep the rubber mulch from sinking into the ground and digging it out after some time.
It does not necessarily mean that you must use a landscape fabric to hold your rubber mulch. However, rubber doesn’t quickly decompose, so it may become a pollutant if not easily maintained.
Can You Use Rubber Mulch Without Landscaping?
Yes, you can use rubber mulch without landscaping. Despite the landscaping material having plenty of advantages, such as assisting in weeds control, it has disadvantages. There are factors to consider before applying landscaping plastic.
- The sloppiness of the land: Sloppy lands don’t require fabric landscaping since the mulch is washed away easily.
- The type of mulch applied: Wood mulch can quickly decompose and cause the fabric material to tear up.
- The type of landscaping material: Some landscaping materials are more durable than others. You can choose the best ones depending on your garden demand.
Do Rubber Mulch Attract Rodents and Bugs?
One of the most coveted characteristics of rubber mulch is that it doesn’t attract bugs and rodents. Alongside bugs and rodents, other creatures like termites and ants are unwelcome.
The following factors make it difficult for rubber mulch to attract rodents and bugs.
- They lack anything to eat on the rubber mulch.
- Rubber doesn’t offer nesting material for the organisms.
- Rubber can’t carry any pests or rodents with them.
These factors make it less hospitable than wood mulch — thereby, ensuring that these organisms won’t damage your delicate plants.
In conclusion, you can add rubber mulch on top of wood mulch, but you must be very careful. You may ensure that you follow the procedure I’ve explained above to ensure that the two mulches do not mix.
Rubber mulch applied on top of wood mulch helps increase its lifespan if the wood mulch starts decaying. It cuts off any developing weeds and retains the drainage. However, remember to use a piece of landscaping fabric to prevent the mulch from mixing up.
You can now enjoy your gardening with rubber mulch!