What Is Playground Mulch

What Is Playground Mulch? Is It Safe For Your Kids?

The frequent question is, what is playground mulch? Are you wondering what makes it different and unique from the other types of mulches?

Critical factors like the softness of the mulch, its splinter-free, and pesticide-free aspects make playground mulch special. Synthetic or natural materials make playground mulch. It helps absorb shock and protect kids from injuries when playing. If correctly installed, it needs minimal maintenance. 

Read on to find out what sets out playground mulch from the rest. You get to find the different kinds of mulch available for play areas. 

Additionally, you can find out the most suitable playground mulch. Also, you learn how long it lasts and how to maintain the playground mulch. 

Also Check – How To Put Down Rubber Mulch For Playground?

What Is Special About Playground Mulch?

One of the frequent questions from people is what is unique about playground mulch. Playground mulch is specifically for children’s play areas. However, mulch acts as a weed barrier ground cover and helps retain moisture. It comes in different materials, sizes, and shapes.

Below are unique factors that make playground mulch stand out from other types of mulches. 

  • Surface: Playground mulch isn’t spongy; instead, it’s firm to help kids keep a sound footing.
  • Softness: Playground mulch offers a soft landing so that kids don’t get injured if they fall. 
  • Splinter-free: It helps avoid injuries due to splinters found in other types of mulch. 
  • Pesticide-free: Kids usually put things in their mouths during playtime. Therefore, playground mulch is pesticide-free to avoid accidental consumption of poison. 

What Is Playground Mulch Made From?

Playground mulch is made from natural or synthetic materials such as rubber or wood. Wood is the most naturally occurring material that makes playground mulch. 

The wood mulch comes from hardwoods like maple, birch, oak, and eucalyptus. Hardwood has a tight grain that helps prevent splinters. 

Shredding hardwoods into chips that are of specific sizes makes engineered wood fiber. Then a hammermill further processes the chunks into a fibrous uniformity.  

Old recycled tires make synthetic rubber mulch. Synthetic turf also makes playground mulch. Also known as artificial grass, the material looks like natural grass. However, unlike natural grass, it doesn’t need to be mowed, watered, or weeded.

Is Playground Mulch The Same As Wood Chips?

Even though people often use the two terms interchangeably, there is a difference between playground mulch and wood chips

Playground mulch refers to the type of mulch used within a particular playground. Wood chips are small pieces of wood produced from larger chunks of wood, such as stumps and trees. 

They’re commonly used for gardening and landscaping to conserve water, control weeds, and prevent soil erosion. Thus, wood chips differ from playground mulch because they’ve broader use.

Moreover, it’s not advisable to use wood chips on a playground. During play, they’re easily replaced and may deplete the soft landing, especially in high traffic play areas. 

Wood chips aren’t easy to contain and spread to the surroundings easily, creating a huge mess. They need constant replenishment, which makes them costly to maintain. Furthermore, wood chips may prevent children on wheelchairs from maneuvering around the playground. 

What Is The Difference Between Mulch And Playground Mulch?

The difference between mulch and playground mulch is that regular mulch is for landscapes, whereas playground mulch is for play areas. Mulch helps to control the growth of weeds and maintain soil moisture content. 

Organic materials such as yard waste and tree barks usually make regular mulch. On the other hand, inorganic materials such as rubber and wood chips make playground mulch.

Playground mulch doesn’t break down as fast as regular mulch. Regular mulch is usually compost material. When standard mulch breaks down, it releases organic matter into the soil. However, this doesn’t happen with playground mulch.

You choose playground mulch for its functional ability in a play area. However, you select regular mulch for its aesthetic ability to add beauty to a landscape. 

What Kind Of Mulch Should I Use For A Playground?

You can use different kinds of mulch for the playground. These include: 

  • Sand: It’s a good choice for playground mulch, and it’s cheap. It’s pretty safe for your kids as it poses no danger to a kid’s health. However, sand gets dirty fast as cats and dogs use it as a litter box. Sand also blows away quickly.
  • Wood mulch: It’s made from hardwood and doesn’t include fillers. Wood is a safe choice, especially if it doesn’t have products that prevent it from decaying as they’re toxic. Ensure you check the packaging or find out from your merchant if the wood mulch contains hazardous chemicals.
  • Rubber mulch: It’s made from old tires and is the best option for a playground. Rubber mulch lasts long as it doesn’t decompose and needs minimal maintenance. It’s also soft and provides a soft landing against falls. 

Rubber mulch allows water to drain quickly. Hence its surface doesn’t become slippery. 

How Long Does Playground Mulch Last?

How long playground mulch lasts depends on the type of mulch. Some kinds of mulch last longer and may require less maintenance. 

Being exposed to the weather for a long time affects the mulch. Sun, rain, wind, and temperature are responsible for the tear and wear of playground surfaces. 

Improper maintenance contributes to the shortening lifespan of playground mulch. Regular maintenance makes your playground mulch last longer.

Usually, rubber lasts around 8 years when it’s properly maintained. Correct installation of the mulch helps it last longer. Also, rubber is inorganic— doesn’t decompose fast, and usually lasts longer. 

Engineered wood fiber lasts approximately 6-8 years. However, this depends on several factors, such as proper installation and maintenance. You should top off the wood fiber every couple of years to maintain its longevity.

How Do You Maintain Playground Mulch?

To maintain playground mulch, often till the mulch to retain its softness. Additionally, rake the mulch at least once weekly to keep the playground surface smooth and even. 

Ensure that you remove all foreign objects such as glass, branches, and rocks from the mulch to keep it safe. 

Old playground mulch should be replaced by new mulch whenever necessary. Old wood mulch may need replacing more frequently than old rubber mulch because it decomposes faster. 

Still, all types of playground mulch should have an annual top-up, at the very least. 

Regular maintenance is necessary to increase the surface of the playground. It’s also advisable to frequently check the depth of the mulch layer to ensure it’s within the thickness.

Why Do They Use Mulch In Playgrounds?

You use mulch in playgrounds to keep kids from getting hurt if they fall when playing. A play area should ideally be a safe and secure space for children to play in. 

Hard surfaces made of concrete or cement can be dangerous hot spots for children in case of a fall. Falling on the playground during play is almost unavoidable, especially for young children. Besides, parents are also keen on allowing their children to play without worrying about their safety.

So, mulch is used in playgrounds to ensure the area is safe and comfortable for children to play in. It creates a barrier that absorbs the initial shock from a fall, which reduces the risk of serious injuries.

Playground mulch is soft and therefore helps to protect against injuries to kids.


Is Mulch Harmful To Kids?

Mulch by itself may be harmful to kids, but not playground mulch. Here’s why. Playground mulch is toxic-free and not harmful to kids.  

What Kind Of Mulch Is Playground Mulch?

The kind of mulch in playground mulch is the one used to cushion the playground. Also, playground mulch may be made of natural materials such as wood chips.

It may also be from synthetic materials such as rubber. Rubber offers a more protective barrier than most alternatives because it has more significant safety benefits.

Wrapping Up

Playgrounds are settings where children create beautiful and lasting memories about their childhood. 

So, with the playground mulch offering a protective surface that helps cushion children from a traumatic fall, your kids will have awesome lasting memories. Moreover, the softcover gives children a spongy landing, reducing the severity of their injuries.

What’s more? You may choose either wood or rubber to use as playground mulch. Generally, rubber mulch is safer and easier to maintain than mulch made from wood chips. Regular maintenance ensures your playground mulch stays in place. 

You now know what is playground mulch—order enough for your compound to give your kids great memories. 

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