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Homeowners sound off with warnings against use of popular landscaping product: 'It is literally trash'

"It was all the rage for a very, very short period of time."

"It was all the rage for a very, very short period of time."

Photo Credit: iStock

If you have a large garden space, you might enjoy the freedom and fresh air it brings to your lifestyle, but you might not be so keen on regular maintenance.

That's why some homeowners and renters look for low-stress solutions to avoid overgrown, weed-covered gardens so they can enjoy the outdoors rather than constantly tidying things up.

Some will turn to rewilding with native plants, which don't require a lot of watering, can thrive in local weather conditions, bring a host of pollinators, and pepper your garden with bursts of vibrant color. Even natural lawns, like buffalo grass, require significantly less maintenance than traditional monoculture turf.

Others may turn to xeriscaping, using rocks, stones, and hardy plants to avoid overwatering and to keep your garden looking great even in drought conditions. 

But what plenty of gardeners will warn you against is rubber mulch. One Redditor soon found this out after asking community members on the platform for advice.

"I know real mulch will break down and decompose which is good for the plants, but I'm looking at rubber mulch for my landscaping," they posted on the r/landscaping subreddit. "However I have heard that the rubber can trap a lot of heat and actually burn bushes."

Within moments, other gardeners flooded the comments section, telling them to avoid rubber mulch like the plague.

"Rubber mulch is awful," one user began. "There's no good way to get debris out of it, it looks bad, it smells bad and it gets everywhere."

"Do not use it," added another. "It was all the rage for a very, very short period of time. You never see it now. That's because it stinks, it is red hot and is toxic. It is literally trash."

Rubber mulch is often made from recycled car tires, which can contain carcinogenic materials that are detrimental to your personal health and the health of local wildlife. The mulch could easily be ingested by small creatures, even more so when it gradually erodes into microplastics.

If the chemicals from rubber mulch seep into the soil, that could also affect the future growth of your plant life. 

What's more, rubber mulch is a great absorber of heat, leading to higher temperatures in your garden that won't make sitting outside so pleasant. It may contribute to a warmer home, too. That heat can also lead to fires, which can put your property at huge risk and is really problematic in areas prone to wildfire destruction. 

Wood chips would be a similar and far better solution. They won't harm your soil, won't bring toxic chemicals, and will gradually break down naturally, providing valuable nutrients for your plants. Rubber mulch will persist in the environment for years and years, doing untold damage the whole time.

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