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How to Make Tire Mulch

Kent Page McGroarty

Tire mulch is made by recycling old tires and other rubber materials. It is often featured on playgrounds due to its durability and relative safety as opposed to gravel or wood mulch.

Unlike wood mulch, rubber mulch does not break down over time.

It is also commonly used for home landscaping and while is it usually made in factories tire mulch can be made at home if you have access to the proper equipment. Tire mulch prevents the growth of weeds and soil erosion as it absorbs rainwater.

  1. Collect old tires from trucks, cars, bikes and scooters. Tire condition is not important as the tires will be shredded. Junkyards often sell tires for very reasonable prices if you are having trouble collecting tires.

  2. Remove all steel belting from tires or have a friend help you. Chisels and pliers are your best tools for removing the steel belts. The steel can cut skin so be sure to wear protective gloves.

  3. Purchase an industrial-strength shredder for shredding the tires. This is the easiest and most effective method for shredding tires. Call your local rental center to rent a shredder or chipper if you do not wish to purchase one. Read the instruction manual for details about shredding rubber.

  4. Grind all tires into mulch according to the shredder's directions for operation. Spray paint the mulch in assorted colors if desired. Do so in your garage or any area where paint runoff will not be an issue. Stir and turn the mulch with a shovel to ensure that all of it gets painted. Once dry, place mulch in designated areas of your garden or lawn.


Use rubber mulch in areas of play in your own backyard such as under children's jungle gyms and swing sets. It can also be used as horse arena footing.


If spray painting your tire mulch in your garage make sure the garage door and windows are open to avoiding breathing paint fumes in a closed area. Rubber mulch can possibly block nutrients from reaching flowers and plants.