Rubber Mulch? Not in My Garden!

I’ve been researching different types of mulch after finding some unusual choices for sale.

This post is about rubber mulch, which is made by shredding old tires. The product is touted as permanent and has been processed to resemble shredded wood mulch. It comes in several designer colors.

When I research products, my favorite sources are University studies and Cooperative Extension experts. I feel they are more reliable than manufacturer reports.

Online I found this information from Linda Chalker-Scott, associate professor and extension horticulturist at the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center. She said that rubber mulch has three drawbacks: it’s highly flammable, toxic and destructive.

While at first glance it may seem like a eco-friendly way to use old tires, Chalker-Scott points out that this product is not safe for the environment as it leaches chemicals including heavy metals (cadmium, selenium, molybdenum, zinc and chromium) into the soil and waterways. These are not only harmful to humans, but to plants and aquatic systems.

In addition, it’s flammable…the way old tires are flammable and difficult to extinguish. Why would I want this around my home?

Source: http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/horticultural%20myths_files/Myths/Rubber%20mulch.pdf

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