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Can Rubber Mulch Prevent Weeds in My Flower Bed?

June 05, 2015

landscape with rubber mulch

Aside from providing protection for playground and athletic surfaces, rubber mulch is quickly becoming a popular option for landscaping projects due to the benefits it offers for gardens and landscapes. One of the most important benefits is weed control. But how does rubber mulch prevent weeds from taking over your lovely flower garden and turning it into a woeful mess? Let’s take a closer look at its characteristics to understand the process better.



Aside from providing protection for playground and athletic surfaces, rubber mulch is quickly becoming a popular option for landscaping projects due to the benefits it offers for gardens and landscapes. One of the most important benefits is weed control. But how exactly does rubber mulch prevent weeds from taking over your lovely flower garden and turning it into a woeful mess? Let’s take a closer look at its characteristics to understand the process better.

 

First of all, it does its basic job of retaining moisture in the soil. The rubber allows water to pass through it without absorbing any itself. The same goes for fertilizers; they go straight into the soil and provide nutrients to the plants as they should. Other organic mulches absorb and retain moisture, inhibiting full penetration of fertilizer and creating an ideal “bed” for weed seeds and spores to germinate.  

 

And because it is an inorganic material, rubber mulch does not decompose with regular watering and breed fungus in the process. This adds another layer of protection for your flowering plants.   

 Also, while all types of mulches control weed growth to a certain degree, rubber mulch has the unique ability to trap airborne weed seeds or spores, and dehydrate them before they have a chance to germinate in your garden soil. Of course, before using rubber mulch, you will need to make sure that your soil is weed-free in the first place. Rubber mulch cannot prevent weeds from germinating and sprouting when it is already in the soil to begin with.

 

That being said, although rubber mulch offers more weed protection than traditional organic mulch, we still recommend laying a fabric roll between the rubber mulch and the soil to ensure no weed growth.

 

Lastly, you will only need to use half the amount of rubber mulch as you would normally use for organic mulches. The latter may cost less initially, but displacement, decay, and other weed-related dilemmas can have your gardening expenses pile up year after year. While this does not directly contribute to weed prevention, the money you will save in the long run (from annual mulch replacements) can go to other gardening projects.