Flowers give old tires a ‘brake’

Linda Benedict, Hendrick, Rodney D., Bush, Edward W., Owings, Allen D.  |  8/19/2009 9:40:58 PM

(Photo by Allen Owings)

Automobile tires are accumulating in waste dumps throughout the United States. Research exploring the use of shredded tires could reduce the number of waste tires. One use is in horticulture. However, the rubber from the tires must be converted to a material called crumb rubber, which contains no metal. However, crumb rubber contains high levels of zinc, which can inhibit normal plant growth. Crumb rubber was used successfully to produce trees, shrubs, grass, flowering container plants and as a landscape mulch. Research incorporating waste tires into horticulture media was performed with success. Pecan trees, lantana and bermudagrass produced quality plants in media containing less than 25 percent rubber. Lime applications in some cases reduced zinc toxicity associated with crumb rubber.

Edward Bush, Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture; Allen Owings and Rodney Hendrick, both associate specialists, LSU Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, La.

(This article was published in the spring 1999 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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