A garden requires effort and attention to detail, but it repays the worker with food, beauty, and a healthy lifestyle. Mulch contributes not only to how good your garden looks but also to how well it grows.
Rubber mulch, made from rubber recycling plants, has gained popularity recently due to its durability, low maintenance, and eco-friendly qualities. If you’ve decided to embrace the benefits of rubber mulch, here are some tips to ensure you cash in on your investment.
1. Go Hard on Weeds From the Get-go
Rubber mulch, like other mulches, suppresses weed growth. However, weeds still find a way as leaf litter and other debris accumulate on the surface. So how do you keep your rubber mulch area free from unwanted weeds?
- Weed mat: Before putting down a rubber mulch layer, remove weeds and their roots. A weed barrier fabric underneath the mulch can further prevent weed growth.
- The Right Amount: Mulch depth should be at least two to three inches. This blocks sunlight and prevents weed germination. This is especially pertinent after flooding or heavy storms.
While weeds are every gardener’s nemesis, you’ve got to applaud them for their tenacity.
2. Give a Quick Rake
One of the greatest benefits of rubber mulch is that it doesn’t break down like organic mulches. But over time, it can still become compacted from people stepping on it, weather conditions, and settling. A quick once-over with the rake can limit compaction, which helps out your garden in a few ways:
- Fluffing: Raking helps fluff up the rubber pieces, allowing water to penetrate the mulch layer. As you might imagine, water flow means healthy soil, leading to robust and accelerated plant growth.
- Even Distribution: Thin areas expose the soil to the elements. These bare patches can cause erosion or unwanted weeds a place to germinate.
- Aesthetics: Raking restores the well-kept appearance of your rubber mulch, enhancing the overall look and style of your garden.
3. Keep it Cool
Summers are getting hotter and hotter. While rubber mulch is resilient, just like tacky roads and gooey tires, being hot for too long can damage its integrity. Spraying the mulch is the easiest way to keep it from overheating, helping it last longer.
Occasional spraying, aka watering, also helps maintain the moisture balance in your garden and is essential for plant growth.
Extra tip: Avoid overwatering. While it’s essential to maintain proper moisture levels, you don’t want to flood your garden. Rubber mulch is great at retaining moisture in the soil. Too much water can lead to root rot and other issues.
4. Add Extra Rubber Mulch to Bare or Thin Areas
Over time, rubber mulch might experience displacement due to factors like heavy rainfall, strong winds, or playful pets. Here’s how to manage this unavoidable issue:
- Regular Inspection: Keep an eye out for areas that are slanted, highly trafficked or otherwise at risk of disturbance. These are the places where mulch is most at risk of thinning out. Luckily they are also usually the easiest places to access.
- Add a Top Up: For best results, use mulch from the same source to ensure a uniform appearance.
- Level: Gently flatten the rubber mulch in your garden to ensure it doesn’t stand out like fresh paint.
5. Fading and Color Maintenance
Rubber mulch comes in various colors, which can fade over time due to exposure to sunlight and weather conditions. Maintaining the color of your rubber mulch contributes to the overall appeal of your garden. Even though it fades over time, it lasts at least as long as wood mulch. When it does start to fade, you’ve got three main options:
- UV Protection: Some rubber mulch products have UV protection to prevent color fading. Consider using these products to extend the vibrancy of your mulch.
- Color Renewal: If you notice the color of your rubber mulch fading, you can consider using color rejuvenation sprays designed specifically for rubber mulch. These products can help bring back the original color and enhance the aesthetics of your garden.
- Mulch Replacement: If color maintenance becomes challenging, you can consider replacing faded mulch with fresh rubber mulch to revitalize the appearance of your garden.
Is Mulch Worth It?
Making the most of your mulch is a preventative measure that allows your garden to become a gift to you and everyone around you.
Rubber mulch offers a fantastic and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional organic mulches. Rubber mulch machines have made it accessible, cheap, and durable. Traditionally discarded tires were environmental eyesores. Now they can help your plants grow weed-free.
With preparation, raking it occasionally, spraying it with water, addressing bare or displaced areas, and maintaining its color, you can maximize its benefits and enjoy a beautiful, low-maintenance garden. Rubber mulch doesn’t need much but a little bit of time can make it last twice as long.