Q. Should I use shredded tires as mulch in my garden?
This product, often dyed in a variety of colors, is becoming increasingly available in garden centers. The most positive reason to use it is that it helps to solve the serious environmental problem of disposing of used tires.
Shredded tires are advertised as being durable and low maintenance. Although these claims are correct, most gardening experts believe that the cons of using this product outweigh the pros.
There are 4 persuasive reasons not to use shredded tires. First, the material is slow to decompose and, unlike organic mulch, doesn't provide additional nutrients to the soil. Second, tire mulch is flammable. Third, it has a strong chemical odor (particularly in hot weather), and can leach harmful chemical byproducts into the soil. The release of zinc is a particular problem, as it is harmful to plants. Finally, rubber mulch is not cost effective in comparison to organic mulch.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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