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Are rubber mulch rings good or bad for trees?

Are Rubber Mulch Rings Good or Bad for Trees?

June 19, 2018

Adding mulch is as close as you can get to a cure-all for trees. Mulch does it all–reduces weeds, retains moisture, maintains soil temperature and looks fresh!

The only question is: what should you use? From wood chips to rubber mulch rings, there are lots of options out there.

Keep reading to see if rubber mulch rings are good for your trees.

Why You Should Skip That Rubber Mulch Ring Around Trees

What are rubber mulch rings?

Rubber mulch rings are made from ground up and recycled tires for tree beds. They’re an alternative to natural mulch. Most often, people like their clean, attractive lookand how easy they are to apply. 

Are tree rings bad for trees?

While rubber mulch rings are easy to install and last for years, the bottom line is they’re not the best for trees.

Rubber mulch rings are less effective than natural mulch and can possibly hurt your tree. As the rubber breaks down over time, the rubber adds toxic contaminants into the soil. Research shows the rings can slow tree growth, turn tree leaves yellow and increase tree mortality.

Also, if you live in an area prone to wildfires, you absolutely want to avoid rubber mulch. It’s the mulch that's most likely to ignite and difficult to extinguish, according to Ohio State University research.

What should I use instead of rubber mulch rings around trees?

Any natural mulch, be it compost or shredded wood chip mulch, is the best way to give trees all the benefits of a covered bed.

Organic mulch improves the soil as it decomposes, controls weeds and reduces water evaporation.

Here’s the proper way to mulch your trees with organic mulch.

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