Rubber for Mulch

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by naturescaretaker, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    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?
  2. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 637

    I've heard of it, I hear some peole call it playground mulch its expensive though and good like trying to find it
  3. grassmanvt

    grassmanvt LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 906

    heard of it but never used it, I can see it for a playground though.
  4. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    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.
  5. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    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.
  6. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

  7. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    Thank you!
  8. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    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.

  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    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.
  10. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    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.

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