How to make rubber mulch rings

Updated April 17, 2017

Rubber mulch tree rings provide attractive, stable weed suppression around trees, as well as protecting tree trunks from damage inflicted by lawnmowers and string weed trimmers. You can make your own rubber mulch tree ring for considerably less money than the pre-cut, commercially available variety -- and ensure that it fits your landscape site and tree size -- by cutting a roll-out rubber mulch mat into the appropriate configuration. Rubber mulch mats are often made from recycled materials and come in a variety of thicknesses and colours.

Measure the radius of your desired rubber mulch ring with a tape measure by holding one end of the tape measure against the trunk of the tree or shrub you desire to encircle, and running the tape measure out to the outer edge of your intended mulch circle. Approximate the diameter of the tree or shrub trunk, and add 1/2 of this measurement to the number on your tape measure to determine the distance from the centre of the tree or shrub to the outer perimeter of the mulch ring. Note this measurement on your brown paper with a pencil.

Measure the circumference of the tree or shrub trunk by running the tape measure around the trunk at ground level. Note this measurement on your brown paper with a pencil.

Tape lengths or brown paper together to create a single piece of paper large enough to cover the entire rubber mulch ring area.

Cut a piece of string the length of the rubber mulch ring diameter measurement plus 2 inches. Tie a small knot at one end of the string, and stick a straight pin through this knot. Tie the pencil to the other end of the string.

Spread the brown paper out on the floor. Hold the straight pin vertically in the centre of the paper. Holding the string out taut, draw a circle on the paper with the pencil. Remove the pin and pencil from the string.

Cut the circle out of the paper using scissors. Fold the circle into even quarters by folding it in half in one direction, and then in half again.

Roll out your rubber mulch mat on a firm surface such as a driveway or garage floor. Lay the quartered paper circle on top of the rubber mulch mat. Stick straight pins vertically through the paper into the rubber mulch mat to hold the paper in place.

Cut the rubber mulch mat with utility shears, using the quartered paper circle as a template. Repeat three times to create four quarter-circle pieces of rubber mulch.

Divide the measured circumference of the tree by 4. Note this figure in pencil on your brown paper. Place the tape measure perpendicular to the centre point of each quartered circle wedge, then slide the tape measure back toward the wide outer edge of each quartered circle wedge until you reach the width equal to this figure. Cut across the quartered circle wedge of the rubber mulch material at this point with utility shears to create a centre opening for the tree boot.

Remove the turf around the tree or shrub trunk to the diameter of the mulch ring. Fit the four quarters of the rubber mulch ring around the tree, butted closely together. Step firmly on the rubber mulch ring to set it into place.


Used carpeting or bath mats with a rubberised backing can also be used as a rubber tree mulch circle. Cut the piece of carpet or mat to size as directed above, then set it in place upside down, with the rubberised portion facing upward. You can spray-paint it brown or green, or cover it with pine bark mulch, for a more attractive appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Brown butcher paper or roll of craft paper
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • 6 straight pins
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Utility shears
  • Rollout rubber mulch mat
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About the Author

A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.