Shredded Rubber Mulch Vs. Nuggets

Shredded Rubber Mulch Vs. Nuggets + [Which One’s Better?]

During your landscape project, it can be puzzling to decide between shredded rubber mulch vs. nuggets.  

Shredded rubber mulch is made from old recycled tires. It’s used for a playground, and wall climbing areas. But, nuggets are from the pine barks and are available in large and small sizes. They’re used in pathways and landscape beds. The rubber mulch is long-lasting and more durable than nuggets. 

In this article, I take an in-depth look at shredded rubber mulch and nuggets. Additionally, you learn the differences between the two and explore some factors that’ll help you decide better. 

Moreover, I discuss the pros and cons of shredded rubber mulch and the nuggets. Also, youget to find out how long each of these mulches lasts. 

Also Check – Rubber Mulch Vs. Pea Gravel

What Is Shredded Rubber Mulch?

Shredded rubber mulch is made from old recycled tires and comes in various sizes ranging from ½” to 1.5″. There’s a mix of particle sizes in the mulch. The particles have a flat flake shape. 

Shredded rubber mulch is mostly for landscape and playground applications. Manufacturers ensure its steel-free by using magnets to remove all metal bits that can cause injury. 

Shredded rubber mulch can be either colored or black. 

The standard colors available are red, blue, or green, suitable for playgrounds. The black mulch uses carbon dye, whereas the colored mulch uses iron oxide. These dyes are non-toxic and, therefore, safe. 

When applying shredded rubber mulch in a landscape, a 2-3″ depth is required. For a public playground such as a school, daycare facility, or park, a depth of 6 inches is used. Nonetheless, if it’s for your backyard play area, 4 inches is fine.

Shredded rubber mulch lays flat on the ground and is comfortable walking barefooted. It makes an excellent walking surface when installed on walkways and paths. 

Shredded rubber mulch helps retain soil moisture, cool the soil, and reduce erosion. Additionally, it acts as a weed barrier around shrubs and trees. 

What Are Nuggets?

Nuggets are usually pine bark nuggets. The pine bark is removed from the tree, cut, and divided to 1-3″ in size. Nonetheless, some pieces of the nuggets can be as large as your fist. They’re available in small and large nugget sizes. 

Nugget mulch in bags comprises large chips or natural pine bark nuggets perfect for your pathways and landscape beds. 

Pine bark nuggets have a rich natural brown color and don’t fade quickly. Hence, they’re used as a decorative surface cover for your landscaping needs. 

They give your garden a neat natural look. Also, you can apply the nuggets on pathways for light vehicles. 

Additionally, pine nuggets provide a pleasant scent of southern pine when initially applied. 

However, due to the weight of the nuggets, you shouldn’t use them on hills. They are easily displaced and tumble down slopes.  

Pine bark nugget mulch helps retain soil moisture for healthier plants, reduce erosion, and inhibit weed growth. Additionally, the mulch is attractive, long-lasting, and shields plants from extreme temperatures. 

Some pine bark nuggets are dyed to improve the color or bring a contrast against the surrounding landscape. These dyes are usually organic and may run off if it rains and is likely to stain nearby. 

Nonetheless, once the dye dries, the color shouldn’t run. 

Pine bark nuggets are an exceptional choice if you want to be mulching every other year.

Moreover, they’re especially beneficial for acid-loving plants as they add to the soil’s acidity. 

Shredded Rubber Mulch Vs. Nuggets

Shredded rubber mulch doesn’t break down and can therefore be considered permanent. Nonetheless, pine bark nuggets usually decompose within a year. They enrich the soil with organic material once they decompose. On the other hand, rubber mulch doesn’t add any organic benefit to the soil. 

Shredded rubber’s color doesn’t fade for a long time and helps your landscape look vibrant year in year out. However, pine bark nuggets have a rich brown color that is aesthetically pleasing but fades with time. 

It would be best if you replenished the nuggets yearly to maintain the vibrancy of your landscape. 

Shredded rubber mulch stays put for a long time and doesn’t get easily displaced by wind or rain. Nonetheless, it’s heavy and requires some skills to install. Also, it’s difficult to remove. 

Pine bark nuggets are, however, light. 

They get easily blown away by wind and are easily washed away by rain. Nevertheless, they are easy to put down due to their lightweight. 

Water pooling causes the nuggets to float and spread, making it necessary to be regularly raked back. 

Rubber mulch has a rubbery odor that lingers for a while after installation. In contrast, the pleasant smell of southern pines provides a pleasing lingering fragrance in your landscape. 

Rubber mulch is ideal for playgrounds as they’re splinter-free. 

Additionally, it absorbs impacts from falls cushioning your kids and preventing them from being seriously harmed. 

A depth of 6 inches is sufficient to cushion your kid from a fall of 7 feet high. To have the same effect, you’d need to have a pine bark nugget surface 12 inches deep. 

Shredded rubber mulch provides 3 times coverage of the pine bark nuggets and comes with a 10-color guarantee. 

As a result, rubber mulch is safer for playground areas, saves cost as it doesn’t fade, and doesn’t require re-mulching year after year.

Typical shredded rubber mulch applications include playground safety surfaces both commercial and residential landscaping. Additionally, you can use the mulch in the obstacle course and climbing wall safety surfacing. 

Pine bark nuggets are ideal in pathways and landscape beds.  

Which Is Better-Shredded Mulch Or Nuggets

To determine which is better between shredded mulch and nuggets, I look at several factors: 

  • Cost

Shredded rubber mulch is more expensive to buy than nuggets going for $8 -$14 per cubic foot, while the nuggets range between $2 and $3. Nonetheless, the pine bark nuggets need to be replaced every year, making them more costly. 

  • Installation process

Pine bark nuggets are light and hence are easily put down. Unlike the shredded rubber mulch, which is heavy and not as easy to apply. The rubber mulch needs to be correctly installed to serve you best and may take some planning.   

  • Reliability And Sturdiness 

Shredded rubber mulch is durable and long-lasting and has become popular in recent years. Due to its springy bounce and softness, it’s ideal for playgrounds. In comparison, nuggets are ideal for landscape beds and pathways. 

  • Weed Suppression

Mulch inhibits weed growth by blocking the light necessary for germination and early growth. However, unlike pine bark nuggets, you can’t till rubber mulch into the soil. Thus, rubber mulched areas need to be weeded by hand. 

  • Soil Enhancement

Shredded rubber mulch doesn’t break down for a long time and therefore doesn’t add any organic matter to the soil. However, when pine bark nuggets decompose, they enrich the soil with organic material. 

Nonetheless, due to the non-permeability aspect of the rubber mulch, water and nutrients pass quickly through and get to the soil more directly. Pine bark nuggets mulch may end up soaking the water before it reaches the roots of your plants. 

Pine bark nuggets also add to the soil’s acidity; therefore, you need to be keen on where you’re using them.

  • Maintenance 

Properly installed shredded rubber mulch requires less maintenance compared to nuggets. It can last for up to 10 years, whereas pine nugget mulch needs to be replenished yearly. 

Rubber mulch doesn’t get easily displaced by wind or rains. However, pine bark nuggets are easily dislodged, wind and water pools cause them to float, making it necessary to be constantly raked back.  

Is Shredded Rubber Mulch Good?

Shredded rubber mulch is a good choice for your landscape or playground area. Its various advantages include:  

  • It’s eco-friendly and improves people’s lives and the environment as it’s made from 100% old recycled tires, which keep them out of landfills. 
  • Allows water and nutrients to pass directly into the soil.
  •  It forms a layer insulating the earth’s surface, which helps protect the soil from winter temperatures and hot summers. 
  • It helps to control weeds by preventing their growth.  
  • Additionally, it doesn’t attract carpenter ants, termites, or fungus.  
  • Therefore, it reduces the negative impact of pesticides on your plants by lessening the need for harsh insect control around and in your landscape. 
  • Quality shredded rubber mulch doesn’t deteriorate or fade fast, making your project look good year after year.  
  • Also, it’s not easily displaced by weather elements such as wind and rain. 
  • It comes in various colors, which improve the aesthetic look of your landscape and playground areas.
  • Shredded rubber mulch is durable; thus, its low maintenance.
  • Moreover, its longevity means its saves on cost as there’s no need to replace it yearly. 
  • It helps cushion falls, reducing the risk of serious injury to kids and pets in playground areas.
  • Also, shredded rubber mulch doesn’t turn into a hard surface or become compacted due to frequent use.  

Are Nuggets Good?

Pine bark nuggets have various advantages for your plot. Below are some of these benefits: 

  • They add acidity to the soil, improving its quality. 
  • Help control weeds.
  • They decompose slowly; therefore, they can last more than a year.
  • Help supply organic matter to the soil once they decompose. 
  • They help in soil moisture retention. 
  • They work well with mature plants. 
  • Also, they’re easy to apply as they’re pretty light. 
  • They have a rich natural dark brown color which improves the aesthetic look of your landscape.
  • Moreover, the pine bark nuggets’ irregular shape and sizes allow air to flow without stirring through the mulch. 

How Long Do Bark Nuggets Last?

To maintain their full benefits, it would be best to replenish your bark nuggets every 2-3 years. The coarser the bark nuggets, the longer they should last. Bark nuggets are biodegradable and, therefore, eventually break down. 

Once it decomposes, replace it with a fresh layer of pine bark nuggets. Most importantly, you shouldn’t add a new layer until the older one has completely broken down and mixed with the soil. Otherwise, remove the older layer before adding the fresh one if some patches are left.  

How Long Does The Shredded Rubber Mulch Last?

Shredded rubber mulch lasts for more than 10 years. It’s pretty durable and long-lasting; hence it doesn’t need to be constantly replenished. 

As a result, it has become quite popular with most gardeners.  


Are Pine Bark Nuggets Good For Flowers?

Yes, pine bark nuggets are good for flowers. Aged nugget mulch is very rich in nutrients, which is beneficial for your flowers. Also, they’re more acidic, which is beneficial for most flowers. 

Cons Of Nuggets Mulch

The main con of constant use of pine bark nugget mulch is that it can use up nitrogen and change the soil pH affecting the small plants’ growth. Additionally, there’s a small risk of spreading pine wilt. 

Cons Of Shredded Rubber Mulch

The major con of shredded rubber mulch is that it’s difficult to remove it from the ground. Once the rubber pieces get into the earth, removing them can be extremely hard. At times, the top layer of the soil needs to be removed to eliminate all the rubber pieces. 

 Wrapping Up

It can be confusing when choosing between shredded rubber mulch vs. nuggets for your project. Each of the materials has an impressive number of pros that you can consider.

Shredded mulch is a durable and eco-friendly option that requires minimal maintenance. 

Its insulating properties enable it to withstand varying weather conditions. If looking for an organic alternative, nuggets are an excellent choice. 

They help to improve soil fertility and therefore help plants to thrive. They’re easy to install and last longer than a year.

Ultimately, the functionality of shredded mulch makes it the ideal choice for playgrounds, wall climbing surfaces, and other areas that need a safety cushion. 

The aesthetic appeal of nuggets makes them most suitable for more natural landscapes, such as pathways and flower beds. 

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