We all like to impress friends and neighbors by having the perfect looking landscape. As a result, many people opt to use mulch to attain this.

However, the hardest part usually is to choose between rubber and wood mulch. It is helpful to know that you will get different results when you use either.

Although everyone has their preferences when it comes to picking the best mulch material, we are going to see the characteristics of each so that you can know what to expect and how to perfectly maintain your mulch in any kind of situation.

Note that, other than giving your yard an appealing look, mulch can serve other purposes like preventing insects and weeds from invading your flower bed or garden.

While this is expected with all types of mulch whether wood or rubber, there have been complaints by users that some types of mulch don’t protect flower beds from insects and weeds as promised.

Nevertheless, a good mulch stays for longer without fading its color or gets carried away by water when it rains.

If you are thinking about using mulch on your property then you will make the best decision after this read-up.


What is mulch?


Mulch is wood or rubber that has been shredded and processes to be used as toppings on flower beds or landscaping. You can easily find them in stores and are available in various brands, packed in different capacities. As already stated, there are two main kinds of mulch which are rubber and wood all bearing different benefits and downsides. One of the obvious differences between the two types of mulch is that one is organic while the other one is inorganic.

However, both are considered to be eco-friendly and we are going to explain why that is so.


What is wood mulch?


Wood mulch is simply mulch made from wood or trees. These are quite common since they are bio-degradable and environmentally friendly to the environment. The only problem with wood mulch is that it is made from trees which means more trees need to be cut down to make them.


What is rubber mulch?


This is mulch made from processing recycled tres. Rubber mulch is considered to be eco-friendly since it helps to preserve the environment by removing old or used tires from the environment. As we all know, rubber does not break down and there is no better use for it than making mulch.

Best rubber mulch on Amazon

According to buyers, the Rubberific rubber mulch is one of the best rubber mulch that you will find on Amazon. That is because, it serves its purpose for a long time and the best part is, the color does not fade at all. Another important benefit of this rubber mulch is that it is heavier than water.

That means it does not get carried away by water even during heavy rains. On top of that, Rubberrific will leave you with an impressive looking landscape even during summer. Other than lasting longer and maintaining its color, Rubberrific will also keep weeds and insects away.



The fact that it is made out of recycled tires gives it more use than decorating your flower beds. Rubberific rubber mulch can be used to fill kid’s playgrounds since rubber is soft and safer. The Rubberific mulch is brown marron in color and costs about USD35 on Amazon. Although it costs more than wood mulch by a lot, it gives a good value for your money. The fact that this mulch can maintain its color for over 12 years makes it one of the best choices for rubber mulch since it will make your work easier and you may not need to buy a new bag every time.


Why this is the best

If you have to use mulch on any part of your yard, you expect it to stay there for the longest time and that is what you will find with Rubberific. The fact that it is resistant to environmental factors like rain and sunshine is an important bonus since it will save you money. This rubber mulch will also ensure that nothing grows where it is applied thus reducing your weeding work.


Rubber mulch can have more uses than beautification thanks to its soft and squishy nature that makes it an ideal cushion in parks and playgrounds. Rubberiffic is the kind of mulch that will leave your flower bed looking perfect for a long time.

Best wood mulch on Amazon

Pine bark mulch is considered to be the best wood mulch on Amazon. That is because it is all-natural, made from pine shaving. It is the perfect kind of mulch for your gardening needs and since it is made from the pine tree, it will leave you with a natural look and feel. Although wood is lighter than water and your pine mulch may float away during a heavy downpour, many people prefer using this mulch because of its ideal brown color. As much as you may need to re-apply pine bark mulch regularly, you can be sure that your garden or landscape will always be appealing to the eye.


Because this mulch is made from pine trees, it means more trees need to be cut down, and not so many people are in favor of this. However, it is good to know that the manufacturers work together with pine tree growers to have a controlled cutting and growing of the precious tree. Other than being lighter than water, Pine bark mulch does not maintain its color for a long time since it is biodegradable. Nevertheless, insects and weeds find it easy to survive in Pine bark mulch thanks to its natural state.


Why this is the best

While it is not the perfect mulch, Pine bark is preferred by many people because it costs less and you can buy a small bag for about USD13 on Amazon. If you don’t mind handling gardening work then you will be happy with this wood mulch since it requires a lot of maintenance for it to remain perfect. Pine bark wood mulch is also easy to apply but, you may need to re-apply it regularly for the best results. According to buyers, the natural nature of this mulch that requires real gardening work and maintenance is what attracts them the most.



Pros of rubber mulch

Rubber mulch is the most purchased type of mulch in the market because it is durable. Since it is made from a non-biodegradable material, they are available in various colors. Rubber, mulch requires minimal maintenance and you may only need to clean up the area where it is applied to remove dried leaves and other kinds of debris. For what it is worth, your garden will not need a refill of this mulch any time soon and it can even last years before you may need to re-apply it.


Pros of wood mulch

Being made from natural trees, wood much is less artificial and that means, you will be doing a great favor to the soil on the area where it is applied. On top of that, wood mulch will give you a more natural finishing that someone may not notice that it’s mulch. Wood mulch is also cheap but this is because you have to regularly top it up for the best results. Working with wood mulch is also easy and you don’t need any extra techniques to apply.


Cons of rubber mulch

Rubber does not break down and this can have a bad meaning to the soil around the area where it is applied. It will prevent any new plants from growing or any kind of development on the soil. If you have squirrels then you may have a difficult time maintaining your rubber mulch. That is because, squirrels are fond of attempting to eat the mulch and as a result, you may find pieces of mulch spread all over your yard.


Cons of wood mulch

Wood mulch is a lot of work starting from dealing with weeds and insects. As already mentioned, wood lights and easily float away on the water. That means you will have to collect and restore the mulch that has floated off your garden. Failure to do so may leave you with heaps of wood mulch spread all over your yard. As a result, you will remain with an ugly landscape.

Also Read : Best Soil for Fiddle Leaf Fig


Which one is best for Playground? Rubber mulch vs wood mulch

The best mulch to apply on a playground is rubber mulch. As we all know, children can be reckless and are known to trip or fall all the time. For that reason, you need to have a proper cushion so that they can have more fun on the playground. That is why rubber mulch is the best option. We all know the nature of rubber and how it can properly absorb the impact that even if a child falls and hits his head on the ground, they cannot get hurt.


For your playground rubber mulch to be effective, you need to make sure that you put in the right amounts. Another reason why rubber mulch is perfect for playgrounds is that they are available in many colors. There are child-friendly colors especially bright colors which are known to excite them.


Since rubber mulch does not float, maintaining it on a playground is easy compared to wood mulch. If you apply wood mulch on a playground, you should be prepared for continuous maintenance and top-up. You should also know that the nature of wood mulch makes it easy to break into smaller pieces. This can be risky to the children because it can get into their eyes and in a worse scenario, they can get pricked.


In case there is a huge rain and the wood mulch floats off the playground, you will need to re-apply or collect the mulch and put it back again which is a lot of work. Rubber mulch is more compact and does not scatter easily when children are playing. On the other hand, wood mulch is less compact but after a long time of use, it becomes too much compacted that it becomes hard and unsafe for children.


Since rubber mulch offers the best protection for children in playgrounds, manufacturers develop special playground mulch. You should never worry about the wind blowing off the mulch or, plants growing on the play space which can be risky. Don’t forget that children like candy and they are fond of carrying them as they play. Thanks to rubber mulch, insects like ants cannot survive in the area therefore the kids are safe.


Although rubber mulch is the best for playgrounds, it also has some downsides like, the surface can get too hot when there is direct sunlight. In addition to that, an object can easily get buried under the mulch which can lead to injuries.


Which one is Cheaper? Rubber mulch or Wood Mulch

When it comes to the cost of buying, wood mulch is cheaper. That is mainly because, wood mulch requires to be topped up regularly plus, wood is cheap. When it comes to maintenance, wood mulch is still expensive since you will need to do some weeding every time plus, you will have to watch out for insects. On top of that, you can be forced to continuously collect wood mulch after getting dispersed by wind or water.


If you are not into gardening work, wood mulch may see you hire a gardener because of the high maintenance needs. Remember that, failing to maintain your wood mulch may see you end up with piles of wood mulch accumulating on different spots of your property and it is not a pretty look.


Rubber mulch is expensive to buy but cheap to maintain if there is any need at all. The only work that you will have with rubber mulch is the cleaning and perhaps watch out for insects. Another factor that comes into play when it comes to the cost of mulch is the number of square feet where the mulch needs to be applied. Normally, wood mulch is packed in larger bags compared to rubber. That means you will spend more on rubber mulch at all times.


If you however look at this matter critically, rubber mulch becomes the cheaper option at the end of the day because there is no need for a regular top-up plus maintaining it is easy. Rubber mulch can maintain its color for years and does not get blown away or floated off and that means you will save money. You will not need to hire a gardener for your rubber mulch but this depends on many factors. There is no mulch rot with rubber mulch as well and this adds to the list of why rubber mulch is cheap in the long run.


Can you put rubber mulch over wood mulch?

Yes, you can but you should be prepared for a messy outcome especially after the rains. As already discussed, wood mulch floats on water and even if you put it under your rubber mulch, it will still float up and get washed away. There is no need to use both kinds of mulch in the same place now that we know their nature.


Another risk of putting rubber mulch over wood mulch is that it can lead to fast rotting of the wood mulch. This is if there are not heavy rains and just a little water gets through to the bottom layer. The smell of anything that is rotting is never pleasant and you don’t want this anywhere near your home. Insects and weeds will also find it easy to prosper since wood mulch provides the right conditions for this while the top rubber mulch will be protecting them from predators and direct sunlight


Final Thoughts and Considerations

Generally, rubber mulch beats wood mulch in every aspect and stands to be the best for any kind of gardening and landscaping work. The main reason why we work on our flower beds and gardens is that we want them to look nice for a long time. Besides, you cannot be happy if you need to work on your mulch every time.


From topping up to collecting mulch that has been disposed of, wood mulch is a lot of work. If you are someone who is not at home all the time, you can get disappointed with your wood mulch after staying away for a long time. Wood mulch is cheap to buy but this is not entirely true because, in five years, you will have purchased a lot of wood mulch bags. On the contrary, you may only need one bag of rubber mulch for five years or even more.


Top Mulching Mistakes

One mistake that many people make with mulching is not applying the mulch how it is supposed to be done. Some people even go to the extent of mixing the mulch with soil which is a very wrong way to apply mulch. Doing this destroys the soil and can make your gardening work even harder. Failing to prepare the space where you want to apply your mulch is yet another common mistake that many people make.


Applying mulch without preparing the soil can lead to weeds growing through the mulch and it gets worse with wood mulch since it can break down and provide nutrients for the weeds to grow much faster. Normally, mulch needs to be added as a way of maintaining them but some people don’t do it the right way. If you have seen gardens with large piles of mulch, you already understand what we are talking about.


Other than looking unattractive, pilling mulch can invite insects and rodents to share the resident with you. If you have to put in new mulch, you may as well remove the old one or, add just enough amounts to leave you with a neat-looking garden. Piles of wood mulch can also end up rotting.


Does rubber mulch smell?

Normally, rubber has a unique smell and you have probably experienced this when changing your tires The distinctive tire smell is available in rubber mulch and it does not go away even after the mulch is exposed to air for a long time. The smell can intensify if exposed to direct sun heat for a long time. That is because rubber mulch contains chemical components. Considering the benefits of rubber mulch, the smell is not enough to make you choose wood mulch over rubber mulch. Besides, the smell of rubber is something that we get used to when we are young kids.


Does wood mulch smell?

Wood mulch has the same smell like a freshly cut tree when you first unpack it. However, the smell can change over time especially when the mulch begins to rot. The smell of wood mulch is however not as bad when you compare it with the smell produced by rubber mulch. When rotting, wood mulch produces a bad smell but, it is not bad enough to irritate your smelling senses. Plus, the rotting smell completely disappears after a while. You can however have a hand in how long you need to deal with the smell of rotting wood mulch by ensuring that you apply the right amount and not heaping.


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