Weeds can be a nuisance, especially in your flower garden. They’re unpleasant, taint the outlook of your garden, and send a bad image to visitors. With that said, to eliminate weeds in your garden, you need an effective control measure that retains the garden’s beauty.
For that reason, you may be asking yourself, does rubber mulch prevent weeds?
Yes. Rubber mulch prevents weeds. Besides, the main pros for rubber mulch are it prevents weed and fungal growth. One con for rubber mulch is that it doesn’t decompose. To avoid the growth of weeds in rubber mulch, lay down a fabric roll, then apply at least 2 inches of rubber mulch.
Join me to learn if rubber mulch prevents weeds, pros, cons, and some helpful takeaways.
Also Check – IS Rubber Mulch Good For The Environment?
Does Rubber Mulch Prevent Weeds?
Yes. Rubber mulch prevents weeds effectively. Rubber mulch does well in preventing weeds and is becoming popular as many people adopt it for landscaping and gardening.
The presence of rubber mulch in the market today continues to transform how most people manage their gardens and landscapes.
It works well to prevent weed growth. Rubber mulch prevents weed growth because weeds can’t germinate and grow through this material.
In my small flower garden at home, I always worried due to weeds coming up now and then. However, all this worry and challenges ended when I applied rubber mulch.
Hence, I never have to worry anymore about spending time or hiring someone to work on your garden.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Rubber Mulch?
With the amount of popularity rubber mulch has gained, you may wonder if there are any cons besides its pros. Read on find out.
What Are the Pros of Rubber Mulch?
Rubber Mulch has several advantages that include;
- Discourages weed and fungal growth
- Requires little maintenance
- Good for heat insulation
- Lasts long
- Doesn’t drift away
- Improves safety in play areas
Let’s see each of these in detail.
1. Inhibits Growth of Weeds
Rubber mulch inhibits the growth of weeds. In fact, holding weeds down is one of the major purposes of this material. As someone who has tried it, I’d say rubber mulch does this reasonably well.
Of importance, to control weed growth using rubber mulch, you have to apply the right amount. If you apply less than 2 inches, weeds likely find their way up. Therefore, you have to apply at least 2 or a maximum of 4 inches of rubber mulch for effective weed control.
Also, rubber mulch doesn’t hinder the growth of seeds and young weeds already growing in the soil. For that reason, weed or till any visible weed seedlings before applying the mulch.
2. Requires Little Maintenance
The rubber material is so hard to break down. Therefore, you’ll hardly do any maintenance practices on your rubber mulch after applying.
Anyone who has tried rubber mulch will tell you that it looks the same as the time of application 3+ years later.
Before I came across the idea of rubber mulch, I used a cheaper dyed mulch that took less than two years to fade. However, since I applied rubber mulch 3 years ago, it’s still in pristine condition. I’ve never done any maintenance during this time.
So, I’ve had peace of mind when it comes to maintenance.
3. Good For Heat Insulation
Rubber mulch is the best heat insulator among all the different mulches available. Wood chips and organic materials that people use as mulch aren’t effective insulators.
Rubber mulch is effective in providing plants with the best insulation from heat. With that said, it helps plants retain enough moisture around the roots during the summer. On the other hand, rubber mulch also protects plant roots from frost during the winter.
For that reason, if you’re looking for mulch to protect your soil and plant roots from such elements as frost and heat, rubber mulch is your answer.
Notably, if you live in regions with a warm climate, avoid selecting black rubber mulch. Dark color absorbs excess heat and ends up overheating the soil.
4. Lasts Long
Surprisingly, rubber mulch not only lasts for long but also lasts forever. Well, maybe not forever, but I assure you it lasts for long.
As such, if you apply rubber mulch, expect to enjoy the material for 5+ years to come. All this time, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of topping it up. A study states that rubber mulch can take up to 12 years without the need to top up.
I’m pretty sure it’s your wish to get a mulch material that gives you the utmost service. Then go for rubber mulch; you won’t regret the decision.
5. Doesn’t Drift Away
Another good thing with rubber mulch is that it stays in place for a long period. You’ll not hear any case of rubber mulch drifting away, a common problem with most other mulches in the market.
It stays in position as it’s heavy thus cannot drift.
6. Improves Safety in Play Areas
For any parent out there, this is one of the best things you’ll hear today. Yes. Rubber mulch improves safety, mainly in areas where children like to play.
Therefore, you don’t have to worry that your children may hurt themselves by falling off as they play outside. Rubber mulch provides a cushion-like subfloor that increases safety and buries down any potential threats to play.
Every parent wants a home compound with no threats to children when left alone or during playtime. Thankfully, rubber mulch gives you precisely that.
What Are the Cons of Rubber Mulch?
There are several cons that come with rubber mulch. Four of these disadvantages include;
- It’s expensive
- Contains dangerous chemicals
- Difficult to remove
- It Doesn’t look and feel organic
Let’s explore each in detail below;
1. It’s Expensive
Rubber mulch is expensive upfront. If you compare rubber mulch with organic mulch, you’ll notice that organic mulch is way cheaper. It costs at least $10 per cubic foot to purchase rubber mulch material.
Some dealers sell it at $15 per cubic foot in some cases. This is high and costs you a lot if you apply to a vast area. Besides, that’s the cost for purchasing; you’ve not factored in the landscaping cost needed by professionals who fit it on the ground.
2. Contains Dangerous Chemicals
Rubber mulch is not the safest means since it releases harmful chemicals when reacting with sunlight. When the sun heats rubber for long, the material releases chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
VOCs don’t only smell bad but also harm your health. Of importance, if your region has constant hot summers, don’t apply rubber mulch where people stay more often. Otherwise, the place will smell hot rubber when the sun is hot.
Rubber mulch also produces metals such as aluminum, cadmium, zinc, and chromium, which leach down to the soil and bioaccumulate in the plant system. These metals easily kill plants and cause health problems to humans.
3. Difficult To Remove
There’s no doubt that rubber mulch is difficult to remove. However, you can lay down a landscaping fabric to separate the mulch from the soil during application. That way, you make removal a bit easier.
However, if the rubber mulch mixes with the soil, it almost becomes impossible to remove it entirely unless you pick it up by hand. As a matter of fact, you might have to do away with the complete topsoil layer to clear the rubber mulch effectively.
4. It Doesn’t Look and Feel Organic
If you want mulch that looks organic, then rubber mulch isn’t the best choice for you. Despite the different colors available in the market, none looks natural. And that which looks organic doesn’t feel like soil, stone, or wood.
Is Rubber Mulch The Best Mulch For Stopping Weeds?
Rubber mulch is the best for stopping weeds. It prevents sunlight from penetrating to reach the roots section and hampers weeds from germinating.
Rubber is a non-porous material thus doesn’t absorb plant water. So, it easily allows water to reach the plant roots.
The fact that rubber mulch protects weeds from growing up allows water to pass through, prevents fungal growth, among other functions, makes it the best way to control weeds.
How Do You Keep Weeds from Growing in Rubber Mulch?
To prevent weeds from growing in rubber mulch, you should first lay a fabric roll to cover the ground, then apply the rubber material.
Since weeds often blow into mulched areas, you have the chance to control that.
To prevent weeds from blowing into your mulch, begin by clearing the area you want to mulch. Ensure you level the site as much as you can. The next step is to cover the area using black plastic, landscape cloth, or a fabric roll.
When you’re through covering the selected area, apply approximately 2 to 3 inches of the rubber mulch of your choice. Make sure you apply the material evenly all over and spread it to fit well.
Does Rubber Mulch Get Too Hot For Weeds?
Rubber mulch gets too hot for weeds, thus causing a scorching effect. Since rubber mulch is available in different colors, you should choose one that resonates with the climate of your place.
If you chose black rubber mulch and your region often experience extreme summer seasons, then your soil often overheats. When the soil is overheating, the heat scorches weeds growing down there.
Although rubber mulch gets too hot for weeds, it still retains moisture by preventing evaporation. The temperature within rubber mulch goes up to 154 degrees F. This is too high for weeds to thrive.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Rubber Mulch Really Last?
Rubber mulch lasts for up to 10 years. Good installation is key for your rubber mulch to make it to 10 years. If you doubt yourself, seek the assistance of a professional.
Besides installation, you have to do maintenance practices to retain your rubber mulch in good condition.
Does Rubber Mulch Keep Ground Moist?
Rubber mulch keeps the ground moist for long. This material retains the moisture content by preventing evaporation, thus preventing the soil from excess overheating.
When moisture from rainfall finds its way through the mulched area into the soil beneath, the mulch prevents that moisture from escaping.
Moisture is necessary for healthy plant growth. Besides, you don’t have to keep on watering your crops every other day.
It, therefore, means that rubber mulch would be an ideal option for people who have a scarce source of water. Plus, those who want to cut down the cost of water in their homes.
How Do You Permanently Stop Weeds from Growing?
To stop permanently stop weeds from growing, take one gallon of white vinegar and mix it with a cup full of salt. Add liquid dish soap. Have the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray the weeds when the sun is hot.
That’s a local remedy but works wonders. The weeds wither and dry within a span of hours.
What Happens To Rubber Mulch After 12 Years?
After 12 years of use, you should replace your rubber mulch with a new one.
Rubber mulch is not organic. So, if left unchecked, it causes toxicity to the soil. Removing it after 12 years is advisable.
What’s the Conclusion of the Matter, Does Rubber Mulch Prevent Weeds?
If weeds have invaded your lawn or garden and your plants hardly get enough nutrients, buy rubber mulch today. With rubber mulch, you won’t have to buy weed killing chemicals that could also have adverse effects on your soil or plants.
It naturally makes it impossible for weeds to grow through so your crops have enough nutrients. Consequently, they’ll yield successfully.
While the cost of rubber mulch may not be low, spending a lot of money on something that only needs replacement after 10 or more years isn’t a bad idea – take the risk and try it.
What’s more? You’ll have a low maintenance cost throughout this period.
Besides, depending on your taste, you can always but a dyed rubber mulch-keep off black rubber mulch if your home area is prone to extremely hot sun.
This is a bad idea because it may burn your plant’s roots.