How do I Compare Shredded Tire Mulch to Pea Gravel?


Mulch is a protective layer of material that is placed on the top of the soil. Mulch can either be organic or inorganic. Organic mulches are grass clippings, bark or straw. Inorganic mulches are stones, plastic, pea gravel and shredded tires. To compare the mulches, you need to learn the different benefits of the two types of mulches. You will also need to consider the landscape project and choose the best-suited mulch for the job.

Tire Mulch

  • Extract a soil sample and take it to your local agricultural service center. Local agricultural centers are resource centers that provides community support in maintaining quality in their rural environment. Soil that has a high acidity level may become contaminated if it has contact with the shredded tire mulch. Tire mulch may contain metal that could leach into the soil, causing contamination. According to, "Healthy Child," some states consider tire mulch a hazardous waste, and tire mulch is not recommended for play or school areas. (See Resource 1)

  • Consider the climate of the location you will place the tire mulch. Tire mulch is easy to walk on in cold wet climates. According to, "Rubber Sidewalks," Rubbersidewalks is densely compressed and contains no air or water. As a result, there are no water molecules within the material to crystallize. Tire mulch does not have to be replaced each year. Manufacturers claim that tire mulch can last up to 50 years. (See Resource 4)

  • Review the uses of tire mulch. Tire mulch is commonly used for athletic fields, driveways, playgrounds and as gardening mulch. Tire mulch discharges toxic wastes into the soil. The tire mulch color may fade over time. Tire mulch will not mold or have fungus.

  • Compare the cost of the tire mulch and the pea gravel. Tire mulch is less expensive than pea gravel per cubic foot. Tire mulch will not need to be replenished and requires little maintenance. Pea gravel will need to be replenished each year and will need to be smoothed out regularly in busy public areas.

Pea Gravel

  • Determine the right mulch for the job. Pea Gravel derives the name from its size. The pea-like stones are commonly used for driveways, walking paths and landscaping, low-maintenance ground covers and construction projects. Pea gravel does not discharge any toxic wastes into the earth.

  • Consider the climate of the location you will place the gravel. Pea gravel can be a challenge to walk on in wet or cold climates. The protective ability of pea gravel is diminished in wet or cold climates. Mold and fungus will usually not be an issue with pea gravel.

  • Review the maintenance of pea gravel. If used in a playground or parking area, the gravel will need to be raked regularly to keep it flat and smooth. Children may throw the gravel causing injury and damage or pick up the pieces of gravel and put them in their mouths. Automobiles will push the gravel out of place when entering and exiting the parking lot. Pea gravel will usually need to be replenished each year.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some rubber surfaces may require professional installation. This will increase your bottom-line cost.

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