Playground Mulch: Our Recommendations for North Central FL
Summer’s here. The days are longer and hotter, and the kids are out of school. Everyone wants to spend more time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. Replacing your playground mulch is a great way to get the most out of summer!
Playground mulch is not just for making your outdoor areas attractive. It also provides children playing on equipment with a soft landing, which is essential to their safety.
Now is the perfect time to resurface your playground, but what is the best option? In this article, we discuss the best surfacing options for playgrounds in Florida, a few reasons you should consider organic wood mulch, and our top recommendations.
Why Mulch Your Playground?
If you are on the fence about adding mulch to your playground, we understand. Mulch is an added expense, so what value does it provide? Why should you consider mulch over sand, gravel, or other options?
- Mulch adds a layer of safety in the event that there is a fall or accident. According to the Consumer Product Safety Comission (CPSC), wood chips and shredded bark mulch layered at adequate depths aid in preventing life-threatening head injuries in children.
- The CPSC assesses that wood mulch offers better shock absorption than that of sand or gravel.
- Wood mulch also provides a level of comfort that can’t be matched by sand or gravel as it stays cool in the hot sun.
- Mulch also keeps weeds at bay, reducing the need for extra maintenance or harsh chemical substances, like herbicides.
Is Organic or Synthetic Mulch Best For Playgrounds?
They’re the Batman vs. Superman of the playground mulch world. If you’ve decided to add mulch to your playground the next obvious question is — synthetic or organic mulch? Typically, playground mulch is either shredded rubber from old tires or wood chips.
The Value of Rubber Playground Mulch: Adherents to synthetic, or rubber, mulch will boast of its many benefits like utilizing recycled material (tires) and how long it lasts compared to natural alternatives.
Cons of Rubber Playground Mulch: What they don’t tend to mention is the downsides of rubber mulch, like:
- Rubber playground mulch is hard to remove once installed, as it doesn’t decompose like organic mulch.
- Synthetic mulch can be toxic when it breaks down, releasing heavy metals, VOCs, and other dangerous chemicals. Especially when used in hot climates like Florida.
- Rubber mulch is typically made of shredded tires. And when it gets hot, it smells like hot tires.
- Tire rubber is a toxic choking hazards for young children who put things they shouldn’t up their noses and in their mouths.
- Rubber also bleeds color that gets all over children’s bodies and clothing and once installed.
The Value of Organic Playground Mulch: Using organic mulch for your playground has many benefits, the most significant being that Gaston Mulch and Soil mulch is certified safe for use in playgrounds and high-traffic outdoor areas. It also provides the following benefits:
- Weed and weed germination suppression
- Soil erosion and compaction prevention
- Reduced maintenance
- Aesthetic appeal
Organic mulch is recommended over rubber, mainly for safety reasons. Additionally, organic wood mulch is free of harmful substances and decomposes to enrich the soil underneath. It also compacts, creating a firm and slip-resistant surface that allows strollers and wheelchairs to traverse, making it safety standard and special needs guideline compliant.
Cons of Organic Playground Mulch: Some people avoid organic mulch out of the fear that its wood fibers attracts termites. In reality, termites are attracted to moisture and can be found in any mulch type (including rubber).
Natural mulch is not perfect. It breaks down over time and will likely need to be replaced more often. But, in terms of comfort, cost, environmental impact, and safety — it can’t be beaten.
How to Reapply Playground Mulch
Depth of Playground Mulch
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a depth of 6-12 inches deep for your playground mulch to provide sufficient shock absorption. You can customize your mulch layers depending on the height of the surrounding play equipment.
Frequency of Reapplying Mulch
Organic wood playground mulch should be topped off every 6 months to a year, depending on how much use it gets. Wood fades and loses its color over time, so replacing it biannually is recommended for bringing color back to your playground.
Why Gaston Mulch Is the Best for Your Playground
Our playground wood chip mulch is made from locally sourced, recycled trees, further adding to our greener process.
IPEMA Certified Playground Mulch
Moreover, we adhere to strict standards when producing playground mulch and all of our playground surface materials. Gaston playground mulch is certified safe by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA).
The IPEMA is a certification program that ensures the safety of our products through third-party testing with the mission of promoting and encouraging safe play. This program governs particle size, consistency, and purity of mulch to make sure that mulch is of the best quality and there are no surprises hiding in your playground.
Gaston’s IPEMA-certified playground mulch offers comfort, cost-effectiveness, low environmental impact, and unparalleled safety. IPEMA-certified mulch is unique in the following ways:
- No splintered ends (reducing splinters)
- Does not contain foreign objects or hazardous contaminants
- Tested for minimum shock absorption from falls
Order IPEMA-Certified Bulk Mulch for Your Playground From Gaston
At Gaston, we stand behind our IPEMA-Certified Playground Mulch and would highly recommend it as the go-to mulch for playgrounds of any size.
If you’ve decided that natural mulch is the best option for your playground, we offer delivery on orders under 20 cubic yards within the Gainesville area. For orders outside of the area or larger than 20 yards, please feel free to contact our team or call us at (352) 372-9965.
Help the children in your life have safe, worry-free — at least about mulch — fun on the playground. Promote playground safety with Gaston’s organic mulch as your play surface.