A common landscape issue is the buildup of leaves in landscape beds. Although the issue is primarily aesthetic, often leaf material is a problem around pools and sidewalks.
So what are the realities with rubber mulch and leaf removal?
Smaller nugget brands of rubber mulch and shredded rubber mulch are the hardest to work with if you are using a leaf blower. The particle sizes are simply too small to stand up to a 200 mph leaf blower. Many years ago we introduced a one inch mulch product in part due to the fact that in Florida we have a lot of pin oaks, live oaks, laurel oaks, and elm trees that shed a lot of material.
With smaller leaf species you will have to work at it but you will be able to remove 80% of the leaf material with a blower worked from multiple angles; it will take some time though.
Larger leaves are pretty quick and easy if they are dry and should lift out in seconds.
We have some videos of this here in our gallery or here on our facebook page.
Pine needles are like velcro and due to their thin shape they do not have much of a surface for the air to lift them.
In situations where leaf material may be an issue it is best to use a rubber mulch color that is natural such as our Southern Cypress or use a base color and sprinkle a bit of our southern cypress rubber mulch over the top to help hide leaf material that gets trapped.
No mulch is perfect for every situation but selecting the right product is the first step to having a low maintenance yard. We try to represent our products for real world situations. If you have any questions use the handy chat at the lower right of your screen.
Every day here in the nursery we are asked about proper mulching techniques. Whether you are using wood or rubber mulch here are some things to keep in mind this spring. By the way if you would to see what we do in the nursery check out our facebook page for some pretty plants.
Thick layers of wood mulch once rotten and matted will actually shed water away from your plants. The negatives of “volcano mulching” around trees have been widely discussed but even a thick mat of rotten wood can harbor fungus and not be permeable for water to transfer.
Some varieties of trees do not like moisture held against the bark, this will cause the bark to fall off and expose the cambium layer. This will expose the living cambium layer and promote fungus and insects eventually killing the tree.
You can install rubber mulch over wood mulch within reason. If the wood mulch is nearly gone use what is left to level the landscape bed as this will help you put the rubber mulch down evenly and help you achieve the coverage rate listed on the bag. Here at Everlast we state that you will get 7 to 7.5 square feet of coverage per bag with our landscape rubber mulch and that is a real world coverage. Be aware that there are other brands that have stretched the coverage rate to “near perfect” installation practices and you will in reality need more than the calculator tells you.
Rubber mulch installed over wood mulch will work fine as long at the finished level of the mulch is not spilling out into your yard or sidewalk. We recommend that the finished level of any mulch is one to two inches lower than the border. This helps to keep mulch from migrating out of the bed via foot traffic, pet traffic, and weed eaters.
Everlast Rubber Mulch does not float. Our tire rubber mulch has a specific gravity greater than 1 so it is heavier than water!
Everlast Rubber Mulch weighs approximately 26 pounds per cubic foot. Our “value sized” bags of rubber mulch at 1.15 cubic feet weigh approximately 30 lbs. vs a .8 cubic foot bag (30% smaller) weighing less.
23 bags of Everlast make 1 cubic yard vs 34 bags of .8 cubic foot bags equal a cubic yard (27 cubic feet).
Everlast holds water. Let’s say a pile of rubber mulch gets wet via a heavy rain. The rubber in the middle of the pile will be wet no matter how much time goes by or sun shines on it. The water is trapped due to condensation. Rubber mulch has a high R value and the center of the pile stays too cool to evaporate-too cool!
Everlast rubber mulch nugget pieces do not hold water individually. Therefore the top layer of the mulch stays dry and acts as a weed barrier. Weed seed that falls into the bed simply dehydrates before germinating. With Everlast you can save your money and not buy weed block.
This morning as I take questions from customers all over the U.S. about our rubber mulch products and I am reminded of why I started this company. As I have mentioned before, many years ago I often had to weed my landscape weekly which took valuable time away from my then toddler son. I hated having to control my “weed farm” which was is what I had every time it rained. Not only did I no longer have to weed my beds but better yet I haven’t mulched in 15 years.
I haven’t had to wait for a sale, drive to a chain store, stand in line, lug heavy wet bags of smelly half rotten wood mulch home, and when finished find a “coupon to go back and get more” in the not so distant future when it washes out and fades.
I estimate that I have saved well over $2000.00 and hundreds hours of labor! Not a bad return on my initial investment of $1000.00 on rubber mulch.
Here is something you never hear:
“mulch beats the stock market!”
This time of year we are asked daily if “rubber mulch will float”. One of the original reasons we started with rubber products here in our nursery was the fact that it does not float. Rubber is heavier than water and with all of the rain we have had lately I suspect our wood mulch sales will increase significantly by summer’s end due to the material wash out and color fade typical in wood mulch. This also applies to wood mulch used in playgrounds. Spring wood mulch is starting to weather and will need to be freshened up for the fall…..keep an eye out for fungus. Artillery fungus is another issue see post here.
Summer is a great time to install Everlast Rubber Mulch. By removing years of decaying wood mulch from your landscape beds you can reduce the threat of fungus which will be very prominent especially in the South Eastern U.S. this summer. Removing mulch fungus starts with removing organic wood mulch. Rubber Mulch doesn’t hold any water and allows proper soil aeration greatly reducing the fungal threat in your landscape. Installing rubber mulch now will guarantee that your fall and winter beds will look fantastic for visiting relatives during the holidays.
You can finally throw the coupon away-you know the coupon at the bottom of every wood mulch pile-“See you again!”
Ask any gardener or landscaper for mulch recommendations and you will certainly get an answer with some conviction and seldom will opinions match. There are some universal truths to mulching though and general observation can tell us one universal truth.
Wood mulch that is applied year after year becomes rotten underneath and matted on top. This leads to water shedding; water is directed away from the root zone and aeration of the root zone is greatly impacted. Water simply can not penetrate a thick layer of matted wood mulch and therefore this is certainly a bad mulch practice.
Rubber mulch never mats or rots and is always permeable. Therefore, all water runs straight through with no water shed. Rubber also holds moisture in the ground. If we have a semi load of rubber mulch that is soaking wet and leave it on a concrete pad in the hot Florida sun the material will never dry out. The water will remain trapped in the rubber because rubber is an insulator. The top is warm and the middle is cool so the water doesn’t escape.
Years ago we were presented with an opportunity in Dubai. No matter what the customer tried they could not hold moisture in the ground until they top dressed with Everlast Rubber Mulch. The rubber mulch allowed all of the irrigation to flow through to the plants and held the water in the ground. The soil temperature was only 2 degrees warmer than the wood much beds due to the insulative nature of rubber mulch.
This is exactly why rubber mulch acts as weed barrier. The rubber stays dry so weed seed dehydrates before it reaches the soil. It is just that simple!
I just read a great article in American Nurseryman magazine by the editor Sally Benson who was paraphrasing a radio program she heard recently. The discussion revolved around the fact that our daily lives are immersed in rigid geometric shapes….from the TV, cellphone, computer screen, rooms in our homes, offices, SUV’s, etc. Seems like everything around us is just another box.
I believe that second only to pets, gardening can provide a fantastic outlet and stress reliever for those of us living in a busy and urgent world. Every morning I look forward to checking on my gardenia’s progress from the day before. My home landscape is covered with blooming beauties and of course a few different colors of my “Nearly World Famous” Everlast Rubber Mulch.
I love to landscape due to the fact that my mind relaxes while I check on the progress of all my favorite plants and I am constantly expanding my plant varieties. I thoroughly enjoy mixing colors and creating refreshing contrasts to my world which is full of black bordered monitors and sterile websites and data streams.
I am extremely busy but still make time for my landscape in part because I don’t have to spend my time weeding my beds….I am lucky because I get to focus on the fun side of gardening-the sensory experience that doesn’t involve sweat!
Do yourself a favor and take a good look at our low maintenance rubber mulch products….the dividends can be life changing.
It is my pleasure to recommend Everlast as a company with integrity and quality a product. I received our shipment of Playground Mulch and all I can say is that “I absolutely LOVE it!”. I can certainly say this was the quickest turn around I have ever had with a company. I truly appreciated the representative professional manners and I really felt like they cared and enjoyed actually helping me make my decisions regarding our playground. This is not my first experience with a major purchase of mulch and indeed we will be return customers. I value this company so much, I have recommended our state resource department to use Everlast and to stay away from the company ********, who still owes me mulch and money to this day. In fact there is no comparison to Everlast. I have never seen mulch so rich in color and chunky as it is. I already know it will be around for along time. The ***** looks like pea gravel and it stands out in a bad way on the playground after it was put down. I wish I had found Everlast first. I wish you continued success with your company as you supply our children with the safest fall protection they have ever had.
Peace and Sparkles ,
One of the best reasons to consider rubber mulch is the fact that it acts as a weed barrier. Every day in our nursery someone comes by frustrated with weeds in their landscape or turf and they are looking for solutions. Everlast will help prevent new weeds from appearing but existing weeds and weed seed do need to be dealt with properly for best results.
There are many forms of weed killer. Weeds that have already sprouted need to be treated with a post-emergent product. Weeds that have yet to sprout need to be handled with pre-emergent weed killer. Chemistry varies between products but Roundup or equivalents seem to be the go to product for many homeowners looking to kill existing weeds; but they are often frustrated by poor results.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient and you can think of it as suntan lotion for green leaves. It prevents the plant from utilizing the sunlight. It is imperative that this type of product be applied when the plant is growing because that when it needs the most energy. Applying weed killer too early in the season will not yield the best results. Persistent tougher weeds may need to be coated more than once and I recommend 7 to 10 days between applications. Some products contain a small percentage of diquat which is my favorite.
Yesterday a young lady came in complaining of dollar weed that seemed to be unaffected by the products she was using. I have had great success using Roundup Quick Pro that contains just under 3% diquat. I re-apply once the dollar weed starts to yellow and have had good luck keeping it under control. When the dollar weed is in my turf I have to be very careful applying the product as it is non selective meaning it will affect nearly all varieties of plants not just the dollar weed. My turf suffers a bit if I am not too careful but the results are worth it to me as the dollar weed gets the worst of it.
A quick note on Everlast and weed control with rubber mulch. Our products stay dry. Weed seed that blows into the beds gets trapped in the rubber which is why we recommend a 2″ depth. All the water runs through the mulch since it never mats like rotten wood mulch. We don’t recommend a weed fabric so organic material is never trapped in the mulch-weed seed won’t find any moisture above grade. It is just that simple.