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Landscaper warns against disturbingly popular trend among backyard gardeners: ‘Just say no’

“[It] is also not holding good moisture content for the plants.”

"[It] is also not holding good moisture content for the plants.”

Photo Credit: TikTok

One landscaper recently took to TikTok to warn his followers about the dangers of a disturbingly popular landscaping trend: rubber mulch.

The scoop

“Rubber mulch in your landscape bed is a no-no,” Creekside Mike (@creeksideoutdoor) informed his 103,000 followers. “These things were once car tires that are now chopped up and being used as a decorative landscape material.”

@creeksideoutdoor If its not for a playground, just say no. #rubbermulch #landscaping ♬ original sound – Creekside Mike

“Wood mulch is a pre-dirt. It decomposes into soil,” he went on to explain. “[Rubber mulch] never decomposes. [It] is also not holding good moisture content for the plants.”

Instead of rubber mulch, Mike recommends a very simple and easy solution: actual mulch, made out of organic material.

How it’s helping

Real mulch helps plants grow, absorbs moisture, doesn’t become extremely hot whenever the sun hits it, and doesn’t release toxic chemicals into the soil.

Rubber mulch does the opposite of all of those things.

Although Mike identifies the one acceptable use for rubber mulch as being the base of a playground, even that is inadvisable — because rubber mulch is made of recycled tires, it can contain pieces of exposed wire. It also contains toxic chemicals that you don’t really want kids rolling around in.

Among the chemicals contained in rubber mulch are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

VOCs have also been linked to some forms of cancer in both animals and humans.

In short, given the choice between having kids play in dirt or in shredded-up car tires, the best option seems very clear.

What everyone is saying

Some of Creekside Mike’s TikTok followers were in agreement with his caption that you should “just say no” when it comes to rubber mulch.

“As a landscaper myself, I can attest I absolutely hate rubber mulch,” wrote one commenter.

Another claimed homeowners are driven toward rubber mulch thinking it can prevent termites. “[Little] do they know, they’ll bypass the rubber and go straight for the house,” they said.

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