Monthly Archives: December 2018

Why Playground Wood Chips are Safer than Rubber Mulch

Playground wood chips and rubber mulch both work to provide a soft landing spot for kids who take a tumble when they’re playing outside. However, the latter option, made of shredded rubber from old tires, could pose a potential safety risk.

To cushion kids who fall from or near the swings, slides, jungle gyms and other equipment at the playground, wood chips are a safe, time-tested ground covering choice. Here’s why experts recommend engineered wood fiber over rubber mulch for playground areas.

playground wood chips safer

Why Rubber Mulch May Not Be Best for Playgrounds

Although some studies have found no risks in using rubber mulch at the playground, many experts aren’t convinced that shredded rubber tires are safe.

Tires contain synthetics and toxic chemicals, and shredding isn’t likely to remove all of these hazardous substances. Rubber mulch has the potential to be a health risk, particularly for young children whose systems are still developing.

In addition, shredded rubber tires frequently leach color – many children who play on the surface come home covered in black marks. Washing up might be easy enough, but why deal with the extra hassle when you can choose engineered wood fiber chips instead?

The Wisdom in Using Playground Wood Chips

Unlike rubber mulch, wood chips are free of chemicals and harmful substances. And, since the wood used comes from mature forests with little human activity, the chips have little chance of causing an allergic reaction.

What’s more, the engineered wood fiber packs down into a firm, slip-resistant surface. When properly installed, strollers and wheelchairs have no trouble crossing the ground covering – which means the landscape material is complaint with special needs guidelines and safety standards.

Planning for Playground Safety

Engineered wood fiber chips look a lot like landscape mulch, but the individual chip sizes are smaller – typically, no more than two inches long – and the wood is ground down from the inner parts of trees, not the bark. As a result, the ground covering is unlikely to cause splinters.

Wood chips are a safer choice than rubber mulch for playgrounds, but quantity matters. For effective cushioning under the equipment, you need a layer that’s at least 9 inches deep. However, since the ground covering compacts from use and weathering, start with a minimum depth of 12 inches.

For optimal safety, rake the wood chips periodically to reduce compaction. And, as needed, use new chips to top off the playground surface and maintain the proper amount of cushioning.

Looking for a trustworthy northern Utah supplier of safe, high-quality playground wood chips? Look no further than The Dirt Bag, a locally-owned and operated company with a strong reputation for exceptional landscape products at low prices.

The Dirt Bag offers to-your-door delivery service throughout Salt Lake County and the surrounding northern Utah area. To place an order or arrange delivery of our bagged or bulk playground wood chips, contact our West Jordan office today.

Organic Mulch or Landscaping Rock – Which Should You Use?

Should you opt for organic mulch or landscaping rock for your planting beds and landscape elements?


After you plant new flowers, trees and shrubs – or to freshen up existing planting areas – you’ll want to add just the right finishing touch. But which of these landscape materials will best help you accomplish your goals?


Here at The Dirt Bag, we get these questions often from our valued customers. Although both materials have merits, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. To make a decision between organic mulch and landscaping rock, you’ll need to weigh their differences.


Pros & Cons of Organic Mulch


Organic shredded or bark mulch serves several purposes. The advantages of using this landscape material include:


  • Improves moisture retention in the soil
  • Reduces the need for watering
  • Helps stop weed growth
  • Keeps soil at the right temperature
  • Enriches the soil with nutrients as it decomposes
  • Cheaper and easier to install than rock


Mulch isn’t always best, however. The main arguments against mulching are:


  • Organic material breaks down over time
  • May attract more insects
  • Color may change over time


Pros & Cons of Landscaping Rock


Landscaping rock, also called gravel or cobble, is becoming an increasingly popular choice. The benefits of using this landscape material on your property include:


  • Promotes healthy drainage
  • Discourages weed development
  • Doesn’t decompose or change in color
  • Fire-proof and wind-resistant
  • Simple to remove debris and fallen leaves
  • Lasts for a long time and almost never needs replacement


Gravel isn’t always the better option, however. The primary reasons you might not want to use rock are:


  • More expensive than mulch
  • Raises the soil temperature
  • May require edging to keep gravel out of the grass


Deciding Between Organic Mulch & Landscaping Rock


Ultimately, your choice of landscape material comes down to the needs of your plants and your personal preference.


Since organic mulch absorbs moisture, it’s typically best for those plants that need plenty of water to thrive. Landscaping gravel provides drainage, but it doesn’t retain moisture well. For those reasons, it’s better suited for succulents, cacti and drought-tolerant plants.


Keep in mind, also, that mulch color can fade or weather over time. Gravel retains its appearance indefinitely.


If you have questions regarding the right landscape materials for your northern Utah property, trust The Dirt Bag for expert answers.


A local industry leader, The Dirt Bag offers a range of high-quality bagged and bulk products, including topsoil, compost, soil conditioner and more. To schedule delivery anywhere in or near Salt Lake County, or to learn more about our organic mulch, landscaping rock and other landscape materials, contact our West Jordan, Utah, office today.