View Full Version : Rubber for Mulch

06-25-2005, 10:21 AM
Ok, I can say that I just had the strangest phone call. I have a customer who has requested "rubber" for mulch. He said that in PA and OH that there are several companies who chew up old tires, spray them so they don't smell and use them as mulch. He can not remember their name. He said they also come in several colors. Has anyone ever heard of this?

06-25-2005, 10:25 AM
I've heard of it, I hear some peole call it playground mulch its expensive though and good like trying to find it

06-25-2005, 10:59 AM
heard of it but never used it, I can see it for a playground though.

06-25-2005, 11:21 AM
Old tires are cut up and dyed whatever color you want. However, this IS NOT PLAYGROUND MULCH, playground mulch is rubber, not old steel belted radials. Use old tires and see the difference, the belts (little sharp wires) will poke you many times. It is also very expensive. $100+ per yard.

06-25-2005, 11:27 AM
Tire is the information I got from the guy I called. Anyway, I need about 15 yards of this stuff for his house and have no idea where to find it. Suggestions? He wants that fast food red color as I call it. I hate the stuff. Doesn't look natural.

06-25-2005, 11:30 AM

06-25-2005, 11:45 AM
Thank you!

06-25-2005, 12:00 PM
There is a gas station near me that applied that stuff to their beds about 8 years ago. All he has to do is spot spray the occassional rogue weed. It is still as dark and thick as it was 8 years ago.


06-25-2005, 03:14 PM
Ok, I can say that I just had the strangest phone call. I have a customer who has requested "rubber" for mulch. He said that in PA and OH that there are several companies who chew up old tires, spray them so they don't smell and use them as mulch. He can not remember their name. He said they also come in several colors. Has anyone ever heard of this?

Yes I heard of this stuff and will give you Web site links but personally I will never use this mulch for several reasons:
- We're talking industrial materials that never decompose on top of organic turf or soil. To me, that's just wrong.
- I can't get it at a reasonable price, I have to order and truck it to my location, and that's very expensive. Even if I can find it local, cost is around $140/cu.yard + delivery.
- Ok, I can buy it by the pallet from Home Depot... That's a big waste of time because I make no profit here so now I get to do all the ordering and delivering and crap at my expense PLUS it still costs lots of cha-ching.

But rubber mulch turns some people on, here's some links you can check out:
( Do a search on google for 'rubber mulch' )

Benefits? Well it looks good and once you do it you never have to do it again but is that really a benefit, other than for the customer? Don't get me wrong we need to look out for number 1 but at the same rate, it needs to be a win-win situation and no I don't mean I want to take MORE money from the customer but what I do mean is I'm not really that excited about one-time deals either.

Let's take 4 yards of designer vs. rubber:
Rubber costs $140/cu.yard + $30 delivery +$25/yard labor == $700.00
and supposedly lasts a lifetime but yes it needs to be replenished because the rain will wash away some plus it still decomposes at a slow rate: Lets say we get 10 years out of it, maybe 15.
Designer costs $26/cu.yard + same delivery / labor == $235
Now with designer mulch, it lasts 2 years before it needs to be re-done, maybe 3. So if you do designer mulch every 3 years, you pay 700 dollars over 10 years as well.

Ok yes there is a $15 dollar discrepancy the rubber is actually $690 whereas the designer costs $705 but then again the customer gets to keep more their money in the bank which over a period of 10 years in interest adds up to something as well, really, it's about the same cost AND designer mulch is a heck of a lot more environmentally friendly than rubber.

The only time I can see rubber mulch being a true benefit is for commercial lots where the owners are never in the mood to fool with the landscape.
For a home-owner, I think it's a 50-50 split.

dass jus me.

06-25-2005, 03:25 PM
We are in the customer service business. While we may not agree with the customer they are the ones that write the checks. Therefore if this is what the customer wants and is willing to pay for it then that is what he is going to get. Simple.

06-26-2005, 03:32 PM
I think this stuff is great other than the fact that you only have to put it down every 8-12 years. I guess from a customers standpoint, it's a money saver, and it can really look nice depending on the quality of the rubber mulch you use. I also saw it used at Homerrama this year for a Water feature that did not have a basin.

06-28-2005, 06:31 PM
I have been approached by my clients on several occasions regarding rubber mulch. I needed 300 cy for my property and after doing a lot of research via the Internet found that it was not a good alternative in my situation. I have explained to the clients that it does not decompose, nor does it hold in the moisture. Next door to one of our clients the person put it down. I personally do not find it appealing because it looks like large chunks of coal. Each piece is somewhere in the 3/4-1" range. My 2 cents.

06-28-2005, 06:40 PM
one of my neighbors ordered a few tons of it and is selling it alot cheaper to homeowners in our area than you can buy it at say lowes or any other box stores.

06-28-2005, 06:43 PM
Home Depot and Lowes both sell it in mutilple colors here. I've never used it myself.

Stuttering Stan
06-29-2005, 09:26 AM
When it rains hard, the rubber mulch floats, usually out of the beds and into the grass/parking lot. It looks good for the first year but after it has floated all over the place it looks sparse in the beds.

06-29-2005, 07:25 PM
I actually like the idea of recycling the old tires into something useful, however, around plants? This is a petrochemical product and although slow in degrading, is still degrading, just like old tires that sit crack and seperate as they fall apart. No concerns there? What about heat soak? As stated previously, there is no water retention and the dark colors have to soak in solar heat just like asphalt. Worried about cooking plants? Maybe their just in bare areas with no plants? Can't be..they'd just pave or rock it in..hmmm...thoughts?

Appalachian landscape
07-11-2005, 03:52 PM
There is a supplier in Charlotte, NC. Don't know the name, a guy was putting it down next to one of my accounts and he told me charlotte is where he got it. Expensive mulch and very expensive delivery charge.

07-11-2005, 05:56 PM
ya they sell it where we get my mulch, ive looked at it but the only down fall is that its really expensive and when leaf season rolls around, most of the mulch in the beds gets blown out anyways to get those stubborn leaves out.

07-11-2005, 08:53 PM
I do not recommend the use of rubber as mulch. Though rubber is processed from trees, the key word is "processed." Various chemicals are added, modifications are made. The product ceases to be considered "organic." Rubber would take an extremely long time to decompose (many years), But if the customer wants it, then lay it down.

07-12-2005, 03:47 PM
As snowy leaf mentioned leaves. If there are leaves in the beds it looks like hell and is not cheap to replace. Rubber is not a replacement for mulch. -SL

07-26-2005, 12:53 AM
Shemin Nurseries near me carries it it four different varieties in two colors. I have not seen it in an actual landscape but the stuff doesn't look half bad for being rubber. The fact that it lasts ten or so years can be a good selling point.