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Why Is Rubber Mulch More Expensive Than Wood Mulch?

January 04, 2016

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Beyond the argument on organic versus synthetic pros and cons, different kinds of mulches are pitted against each other for their availability and price tag. It’s true that organic mulches like rocks, grass clippings, bark, and leaves are easier to come by - and most probably free of charge. However, there is a reason why synthetic infill like rubber mulch can cost twice as much as, say, wood mulch. Below are some important arguments supporting this.

You won’t have to worry about mulch rot

If it’s organic, it decays. Wood chips as mulching material may offer nutritional benefits to soil and plants, but once they decompose, it can cause mulch rot that is dangerous for your garden. Rubber mulch does not decompose but allows water and fertilizer to pass through it straight to the soil and roots that need them most. This is especially beneficial during wet months, as mulch, plants, and soil all get frequent exposure to moisture.

You can forget about pest control

Is your tool shed made of wood? Do you have a picket fence surrounding your yard? Do you use wooden planters? Wood attracts insects, specifically termites. With wood mulch, the odds of having termites destroy these things are increased tenfold. These destructive critters have no place in a garden full of woody plants and peripherals. Unfortunately, termite control is pretty expensive and requires regular maintenance. Rubber mulch can address this problem because it doesn’t attract pests, thus saving you time and money.

It insulates your plants and soil better

With rubber mulch, you can count on better insulation in cold months. Think of it as a hot water bottle in harsh conditions; it keeps the plants snug and warm while providing the right levels of moisture for them to thrive. Wood mulch, on the other hand, is a high-carbon material requiring nitrogen to break down into the soil. What it essentially does is compete with the plants for the nutrients both of them need when it should be providing protection for them in the first place.

It saves you time and money in the long run

With all the benefits mentioned above, it’s pretty obvious that investing in rubber mulch - though it initially comes with a price tag that’s bigger than other mulches’ - is a one-time thing. Rubber mulch can last for a decade without needing to be replaced, unlike its organic counterparts. Its also pretty low-maintenance for something that performs in all-weather conditions: it doesn’t float away in rainy season nor get blown all over the place by light wind. All it needs is the occasional raking, compared to the annual renewal/re-spreading, and maintenance that organic mulches require.