Mulch can be an awesome base for a playground. It's affordable, natural, and soft. With that being said, not all mulch is the same. Some mulch may be good quality and perfectly well suited for use in garden beds or around trees, but not that great as a playground flooring material. So, how do you go about selecting mulch that is ideal for playgrounds? Here are the key factors to look for.
Avoid dyed mulch.
Mulch that is dyed black or reddish brown will surely look nice for a week or two. But eventually, that color will bleed out into the ground anyways. And until that happens, any child who touches the mulch or rubs some of it on their shirt will end up covered in dye. Mulch dye is typically non-toxic and safe to touch, but it is still dye. Parents will not appreciate kids' clothing being ruined by playground mulch dye. So, make sure whatever mulch you use is natural with no colors added.
Look for larger pieces.
Really finely shredded mulch is more likely to blow away. You may find pieces of it on and in the playground equipment after a storm. It may also blow and get caught in kids' hair on windy days. As such, you are better off with mulch that is in larger shreds. In fact, if you can find mulch that is more chips and chunks rather than shreds, that's even better.
Pick softwood mulch over hardwood mulch.
One concern with mulch is splinters. However, if you choose mulch made from soft wood, splinters will be far less of a concern. The fibers of soft wood tend to bend when they press up against skin, while the fibers of hardwood are sturdier and more likely to push into skin. Pine mulch is a softwood mulch and is quite easy to find. Cedar and cypress mulch are also soft and tend to work well. Stay away from much made from oak, maple, or a blend of woods. If the company does not tell you which woods are used to make the mulch, that's probably not the best mulch for your playground, either.
Playground mulch should always be naturally colored, made from soft woods, and in chunks large enough that it does not blow around in the breeze. Selecting playground mulch can take some time and attention to detail, but you'll soon find a great product to use. For more information, contact a company like Watson's Tree Services-Soil & Mulch.