Natural Mulch vs. Rubber Mulch: What Type of Mulch Should I Use? A Side-By-Side Comparison

Published on
February 21, 2023 8:07:45 AM PST February 21, 2023 8:07:45 AM PSTst, February 21, 2023 8:07:45 AM PST



At Van Beek’s Garden Supplies, one question we hear quite often is “what type of mulch should I use?”


After all, we carry both rubber and organic mulch products – and each mulch type has its own advantages and disadvantages.


What they all have in common, though, is an ability to protect your triple mix soil and beautify your garden too.


So whatever choice you make for your landscaping, you can rest assured it’ll be a good one.


On the other hand, if you’re having a tough time deciding between, say natural black mulch or black rubber mulch, take a look at how organic and synthetic mulch compare to each other.



- Natural Mulch: Organic mulch is usually made from wood chips. As a natural product, it’ll start to break down by the end of the season. To maintain its appearance and strength, it’ll need to be replaced on a yearly or bi-yearly


- Rubber Mulch: Rubber does not decompose or break down. In other words, rubber mulch only needs to be laid down or spread once.


- Advantage Rubber Mulch: Once rubber mulch is in place, there’s a good chance it’ll stay there. Even heavy rainfall or windy days won’t dislodge rubber mulch from its bed. If you’re looking for an easy, long-term mulch solution for your garden, choose rubber mulch.


Natural mulch is better for soil health


Soil health

- Natural Mulch: Wood mulch (like BC cedar mulch) is organic and naturally occurring. It also feeds topsoil important and beneficial nutrients. Furthermore, natural mulch continues to fertilize your garden soil, even while it’s breaking down.


- Rubber Mulch: Normally, rubber mulch is made from recycled pieces of tire. It does not provide any nutritional benefit to your garden or soil.


- Advantage Natural Mulch: An easy pick here. Once the mulch has decomposed fully, grab a tiller to mix it in with the soil. If you want to make sure your garden gets as many nutrients as possible – for as long as possible – choose natural mulch.


Lasting colour

- Natural Mulch: Nothing quite matches the natural colour of wood chips. Over time however, that colour will fade and dull. The changing, weakening colour will impact the look and feel of your garden.


- Rubber Mulch: Rubber mulch comes in a variety of colours which may not be available organically or naturally. Those colours will not fade or lose their lustre over time (our rubber mulch comes with a 12 year colour-lock guarantee!)


- Advantage Rubber Mulch: Both natural and rubber mulches offer bright colour options. In this instance, the criterion is lasting colour. Rubber mulch’s synthetic composition guarantees enduring colour. If you want bright garden or tree beds for many years, choose rubber mulch.


Ease of Use

- Natural Mulch: Because it breaks down over time, wood mulch can be tilled in to the soil. This makes it a bit easier to change or add to your garden each season.


- Rubber Mulch: As an inorganic product (and because of its expense) you won’t want to mix rubber mulch into your soil when you’re working in the garden each season.


- Advantage Natural Mulch: Being able to mix natural mulch with your soil will make it easier for weeding and adding new plants to your garden beds! Rubber mulch would have to be removed and placed back on top of the soil. If you like to keep changing and adding to your garden beds with ease, choose natural mulch.


Rubber mulch keeps pests away


Pest prevention

- Natural Mulch: Small animals and termites are attracted to some types of wood mulch. You may have to take extra precautions to keep pests out of your garden beds.


- Rubber Mulch: Garden pests aren’t normally attracted to rubber. And even if they tried, they’d have a hard time consuming or nesting in it.


- Advantage Rubber Mulch: There’s a good chance that once you finish spreading rubber mulch, pests and critters won’t be bothered with it. If you want to discourage animals from interacting with your landscaping, you may want to use rubber mulch.


Versatility in usage

- Natural Mulch: Vegetable gardens. Flower gardens. Tree beds. Walkways. Surrounding interlocking stone pavers. Natural mulch can be used pretty much anywhere without limitation.


- Rubber Mulch: Synthetic mulch is inorganic by nature. It’s more of a decorative than functional or beneficial element and while uncommon, rubber mulch can leak small amounts of some chemicals (like zinc) into your soil. For that reason it should be used with caution in certain installments (like vegetable gardens).


- Advantage Natural Mulch: Wood mulch has a versatility which rubber products can’t compete with. You can place natural mulch anywhere in the front or back of your home without worry. If you want mulch that can be easily used in any location, select natural mulch.


We have all the mulch you need


Whatever mulch you want, we’ve got

From brown rubber mulch to hemlock mulch – and everything in between – you’ll find the right mulch for your landscaping needs.


If you know what kind of mulch you want, contact us for a FREE quote.


If you want more information on our mulch products, simply ask any questions you have. We’ll get back to you ASAP with the answers you need.