Q: I am simply tired to death of buying pine straw. The bales I buy seem to get lighter and lighter in weight but they cost more and more! I have heard that there is a mulch product made from recycled tires. Can you tell me more about it?
A: It is great to know that we are making progress in finding good uses for recycled materials.
Dr. Scott Nesmith, a researcher at the Griffin campus of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has investigated the effects of shredded tire mulch. He says that it suppresses weeds and conserves moisture. The advantage, though, is that rubber mulch doesn’t seem to blow away or float away like other mulches. Scott cautions that he has measured a rise in soil zinc levels in his heavily mulched sites. More research is needed to see whether this could harm plants.
Rubber Wholesalers (706-334-2331) near Cartersville sells recycled rubber for a wide variety of uses. Their basic mulch product comes in several colors but the “Ten Year Brown” color seems to most closely approximate natural landscape mulch. You’ll need 1.5 pounds of rubber for every square foot covered one inch thick.