Rubber mulch is a type of mulch used in gardens and sustainable landscaping that is made from recycled rubber. Composition Rubber mulch nuggets; the white fibers are nylon cords, which are present in the tires which the mulch is made from Rubber mulch generally consists of either waste tire buffings or nuggets of synthetic rubber from tires that are ground up whole, after having their steel bands removed.
Almost any tire can be used to make rubber mulch, including passenger vehicle tires and large truck and trailer tires. Buffings are produced from recycled truck tire tread when the remainder of the worn-down tread is removed from the tire prior to retreading. Buffings are generally thin slivers of rubber. Nuggets range in size from 10 mm to 32 mm, or 3/8 inch to 1 1⁄4 inch. Advantages Rubber mulch provides several advantages over plant material based mulches.
For landscaping and gardening purposes, both nuggets and buffings insulate soil from heat, allowing a 2 or 3 degrees F higher soil temperature difference over wood mulches. Rubber mulch is beneficial for soil moisture, as rubber is non-porous and does not absorb water on its way through to the soil. It also reduces fungus growth and plant growth, and becomes a weed barrier, as weed seeds dehydrate in the mulch before reaching the soil.
Neither nuggets nor buffings provide any humus to compacted soil types. Rubber mulch seen with playground equipment in the background Another advantage over plant-material mulches is its elasticity, which gives it a springy quality when used in a fairly thick layer. This makes it a natural choice for playgrounds, where the extra springiness provides additional safety for children when they fall off of playground equipment.
Tests have shown that rubber mulch is superior in breaking falls to traditional bark mulches. The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association has certified some rubber mulches for ASTM F1292-09. Rubber mulch is an alternative to wood mulch, reducing the regional and global carbon footprint by reusing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Its durability can be up to twelve times greater than wood mulch, with wood mulch lasting an average of four seasons.
Disadvantages Unlike organic mulch, rubber mulch does not enrich soil or increase soil biodiversity through decomposition, at worst, it leads to soil contamination (see Environmental Impact and Safety Testing) Some recycled varieties may leach chemicals (some toxic) which are harmful to plants Rubber mulch, like some organic mulch, is a hazard if ignited. Environmental Impact and Safety Testing In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has endorsed the use of recycled rubber to cushion the surfaces of children’s playgrounds.
 In addition, the EPA recently studied air and surface samples at four fields and playgrounds that use recycled tires. The limited study, conducted in August through October 2008, found that the concentrations of materials that made up tire crumb were below levels considered harmful. In addition, the overall study protocol and many of the methods were found to be appropriate and could be implemented in the field.
 The study, however, did note that due to its limited nature and the large diversity of materials used to make tire crumb, no definitive conclusions could be reached. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the California Environmental Protection Agency tested skin sensitization by playground surfaces made of recycled tires and found no sensitization observed suggesting that these surfaces would not cause skin sensitization in children, nor would they be expected to elicit skin reaction in children already sensitized to latex.
 ChemRisk, Inc. in Pittsburgh conducted a review of exposure to recycled tire rubber found on playgrounds and synthetic turf fields. They concluded that no adverse human health or ecological health effects are likely to result from these beneficial reuses of tire materials. Although rubber mulch is generally regarded as safe, recycled tire rubber leachates do contain certain minerals and compounds which may be ecotoxic in high concentrations.
Recycled tire mulch can contain trace amounts of various minerals from the tire manufacturing process and other chemicals that may have been picked up during the tire's service life. The greater the surface area of synthetic rubber waste pellets, the greater the potential for breakdown into harmful constituents. For leached tire debris, the (potential) environmental impact of the ingredients zinc and organic toxicants has been demonstrated.
 Further information: Tire recycling § Environmental concerns, and Artificial turf–cancer hypothesis See also Mulch Rubber Retreading Tire Recycling Green Building Plastic mulch References ^ EPA playground surface ^ IPEMA Certification Description ^ Natures Way Resources ^ The Myth of Rubberized Landscapes, Linda Chalker-Scott, Puyallup Research and Extension Center, WSU ^ Rufus L. Chaney Environmental Chemistry Lab USDA-Agricultural Research Service ^ EPA endorsement ^ a b EPA fields and playground study ^ California EPA playground surface study ^ ChemRisk, Inc.
study Archived 2010-08-09 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Gualtieri, Maurizio; Andrioletti, Manuela; Mantecca, Paride; Vismara, Claudio; Camatini, Marina (2005). "Impact of tire debris on in vitro and in vivo systems". Particle and Fibre Toxicology. 2 (1): 1. doi:10.1186/1743-8977-2-1. PMID 15813962. External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rubber mulch. New York artificial turf field study The Myth of Rubberized Landscapes Artificial Turf: Exposures to Ground Up Rubber Tires - Athletic Fields, Playgrounds, Garden Mulch Retrieved from "https://en.
wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rubber_mulch&oldid=800013630"See Also: Typing Words Per Minute Test Free
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Mulching is a common gardening practice done for a number of good reasons. Using the proper types of mulch and mulching techniques can have wondrous effects on your garden, but mulching incorrectly can do the opposite. Here’s how to get the most out of mulching.Advantages of Mulching Mulch has been called the gardener’s friend. It offers three major benefits: Suppression of weeds. Conservation of moisture in the soil.
Moderation of soil temperatures, keeping it warmer on cold nights and cooler on hot days. Additionally, mulch applied in the winter will protect plants from a cycle of freezing and thawing, which can eventually heave them out of the ground. Mulch can also prevent soil compaction and crusting, slow runoff and erosion, and prevent rain from splashing soil that could carry disease onto plants. Organic mulches even break down and feed the soil.
Disadvantages of Mulching Overmulching can kill plants. With most organic mulches, a layer of 2-4 inches is plenty. The finer the material, the thinner the layer needed. Unfortunately, mulch provides the perfect place for slugs and snails to hide. Use shallow cups of beer to attract and drown them, or sprinkle wood ashes or diatomaceous earth around the base of precious plants to keep the slugs and snails at bay.
Impervious mulches, like black plastic, don’t let air or water in. Even matted leaves can have that same effect, so shred or chop them up first. Light colored, wood-based mulches, like sawdust or fresh woodchips, can steal nitrogen from the soil as they break down. Counter this effect by adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as soybean meal, alfalfa, or cottonseed meal, to the mulch. (Learn more about soil amendments.
) Dry mulches—including sawdust, woodchips, peat moss, and dry straw—can be a fire hazard. Keep them away from buildings to be on the safe side. Types of Mulch The ideal mulch should be dense enough to block weed growth but light and open enough to allow water and air to reach the soil. Factors to consider when purchasing mulch are cost, availability, ease of application, and what it looks like in the garden.
There are lots of materials of various colors and textures to choose from. Here are a few of the more popular mulches: Organic Mulches Shredded or chipped bark. Keep it away from the base of trees and shrubs to prevent wood boring insects and decay from attacking the plants. Shredded leaves and leaf mold eventually break down and feed the soil with beneficial materials. Straw and salt marsh hay are free of weed seeds.
Grass clippings should be dried first or spread thinly to keep them from becoming a hot, slimy, stinky mess. Don’t use clippings from grass treated with chemicals. Pine needles are slow to break down, so don’t worry about them adding to soil acidity. Local byproducts, such as spent hops from a brewery, cocoa hulls, ground corncobs, coffee grounds, newspaper, or cardboard. Get creative! Don’t be guilty of creating mulch volcanoes like this one around your plants! Inorganic Mulches Plastic mulch comes in many colors for different purposes.
Red mulch increases fruit yield in tomatoes, while blue does the same for potatoes, black heats up the soil, and silver or white reflect light and heat. Crushed stone, gravel, marble, or brick chips provide a permanent mulch around shrubs and trees. Landscape fabric smothers weeds while allowing air and water to pass through. To cut down on weeding in our vegetable garden, we use a permeable landscape fabric on many of the beds.
After a few spring rains, we lay down soaker hoses in each bed and cover them with the fabric. Planting holes are cut at different spacings for different crops. Watering is efficient, and maintenance of a large area is made much easier. Once the plants get some size on them, the fabric is covered and does not look so bad! We also use straw, grass clippings, and shredded leaves for crops that like it cooler.
If you have problems with weeds or plant dehydration, follow the above advice and try mulching in your own garden! For more on mulching, read about mulching to control weeds and save water, and check out our guide to composting.