In areas of regular drought conditions, it can be difficult to know what to do with your front or back yard.
Grass and plants will die in hot and dry weather, leaving you with a brown and barren space that will look awful in the summer months.
That’s why residents in places like California, where dry spells are common, turn to xeriscaping, bringing drought-tolerant plants to garden spaces to conserve water and to make outdoor areas look more attractive.
However, when one homeowner took to Reddit to ask for advice about their own xeriscaping project, they were quickly told to avoid one common garden feature.
After asking whether rubber or wood mulch would be better, the comments section was keen to rule out one of those options.
“If you live in an area where temperatures go over 80 [degrees Fahrenheit], the rubber will emit a horrendous smell,” one Redditor said. “Also, the rubber leaks compounds, some of them toxic. I can’t see why you would want to have a potential health hazard around your house.”
“Rubber mulch?” another questioned. “What a disaster for the environment, among other things.”
As Lawn Love noted, rubber mulch can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have been linked to health problems. Exposure to toxic chemicals within VOCs can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA also observed that VOCs have been linked to some forms of cancer in both humans and animals.
Meanwhile, the chemicals in rubber mulch can leach into the soil in hot conditions, which can impact dirt quality and future plant growth possibilities.
Rubber mulch is not biodegradable, and if it escapes garden settings after flooding and enters sewage systems, it can lead to blockages.
Thankfully, the commenters on Reddit were knowledgeable about the downsides the material can bring, and hopefully, this gardener took that advice and steered clear.
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