What Is Wood Chip Mulch – Information About Wood Chip Garden Mulch


There are many ways to enhance the garden with wood chip mulch. It provides natural texture that sets off plants and reduces weeds along with a host of other benefits. What is wood chip mulch? Wood chip garden mulch may be simply the by-product of an arborist’s labor, purchased in bags at nurseries or bought in bulk at garden centers. No matter how you acquire the stuff, it is an invaluable addition to the ornamental or produce garden.

What is Wood Chip Mulch?

Expert gardeners extol the virtues of mulching. There are many kinds of mulch, from organic to inorganic. Each has its special advantages and there is not one recommended over another in some cases. Using wood chips, however, has the added advantage of increasing nutrients in soil over time. This is because wood chip garden mulch is organic and will slowly break down, releasing nutrients to the soil.

Mulch is simply any substance that can protect soil and plant roots as a ground cover. Mulching is also used in paths and between pavers to reduce weeds and provide a clean appearance. Mulching has many benefits, among them:

  • leveling soil temperature
  • reducing erosion
  • enhancing soil fertility
  • improving soil structure
  • conserving moisture
  • reducing pests and disease

With all these advantages, why wouldn’t you use mulch? Using wood chips brings to the table all these benefits, but there are some wood chip mulch pros and cons. Many of these are fallacies, but a few need to be cleared up.

Wood Chip Pros and Cons

The benefits of using wood mulch are numerous and listed above. They also include the ease of application, aesthetic pleasure and cost effectiveness.

On the cons list, there have been some discussion about the possibility of altered soil pH, allelopathic potentials, disease transfer, increased pest activity and, of course, fire hazard. Of these concerns, each has been found to be inconclusive in field trials. In fact, soil pH is generally stabilized, allelopathic tendencies in certain barks do not affect established plants, and disease and pests are often minimized. As to the fire issue, inorganic rubber mulch is far more flammable and large sized wood mulch is the least flammable.

There are many types of wood chips that come from different trees, all with their own good points and possibly not so good aspects. Cedar mulch has the added benefit of repelling some insect pests, but black walnut mulch has strong allelopathic chemicals that can limit germination and seedling growth.

In general, it is best to use wood chips around established plants only and avoid the vegetable bed except to create paths. Keep chips away from stems and trunks and the siding on the house. Use 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm.) of wood mulch over a nicely broken down organic layer such as leaf litter or compost.

There are also several wood chip mulch colors from which to choose if you purchase the product. Deeply red, orange, ocher, coffee black, rich mahogany brown and more can offset your landscape. Using colored mulch, like red wood chips, poses no threat to plants but will, over time, fade in color as they break down.

But don’t be a snob and turn your nose up at the mixed natural hues of free, yes free, arborist chips. In most municipalities, you can phone your park department and they will drop them to your site.


Soil and Compost forum→Tilling Wood Chips into the Soil

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The 1st year results have been quite interesting, overall it works quite well, nitrogen tie-up hasn't been much of an issue with only a couple caveats.

See our results in this video report (a summary page of results appear at 20:00 minutes in the video):

To find this video report just google:

tilling wood chips into vegetable fields Ananda Valley Farm

As part of our grant we need to communicate our findings, thus we are posting on different farming and gardening sites.


Good question. We are a market/CSA farm and labor efficiency is critical.
We've tried using permanent mulches of wood chips before, but have run into several
show-stoppers:
1. We cannot plant early in spring as needed, because the mulch attracts too many slugs, pillbugs, and snails which then just eat the transplants.
2. The chip mulch keeps the soil cooler and this also delays when we can plant into the field.
3. Transplanting to chip mulch takes much more time than transplanting into bare ground.
For a just breaking even market garden, labor efficiency is the biggest concern.

Unfortunately the economic constraints of farming, mean the soil takes a hit compared to backyard gardening, which doesn't have the same economic constraints (backyard gardeners usually work without wages).

With that said, we are still using a permanent chip mulch on a bed for hard squash. We can only transplant out hard squash after it gets quite warm, then the bugs don't eliminate the transplants, so it is OK. Also the hard squash is an entire season squash, only plant it once, so the extra transplant time is OK, given we do not need to till.

Good question. We are a market/CSA farm and labor efficiency is critical.
We've tried using permanent mulches of wood chips before, but have run into several
show-stoppers:
1. We cannot plant early in spring as needed, because the mulch attracts too many slugs, pillbugs, and snails which then just eat the transplants.
2. The chip mulch keeps the soil cooler and this also delays when we can plant into the field.
3. Transplanting to chip mulch takes much more time than transplanting into bare ground.
For a just breaking even market garden, labor efficiency is the biggest concern.

Unfortunately the economic constraints of farming, mean the soil takes a hit compared to backyard gardening, which doesn't have the same economic constraints (backyard gardeners usually work without wages).

With that said, we are still using a permanent chip mulch on a bed for hard squash. We can only transplant out hard squash after it gets quite warm, then the bugs don't eliminate the transplants, so it is OK. Also the hard squash is an entire season squash, only plant it once, so the extra transplant time is OK, given we do not need to till.

I found here in the middle of Alabama that even chip applied as post planting was problematic. Not initially as the plants went in, but 2 months later when bio activity rose in the heat changing the sanitary conditions in the growing area. The general idea that simultaneous enrichment and planting should occur might work in areas without our high levels of heat and humidity, but you will lose the fungal battle in some way, including higher costs, or you have participated in increasing insect exposure immediately near the plants, again causing more work and cost. I have gone back to preparing the spring soil at the end of the fall season. It works here but I cannot say about composting in the soil in areas that get snow by October. Also, depending heavily on soil type -which here is a red clay- I have begun to favor wood ash for its liming and potassium and antifungal properties, as well as charcoals of wood for their permanance as soil carbon, oxygen retention and use as a heat source to purify soil when potting or raised bed becomes necessary due to overuse of an area and the infection that can result.


Use straw rather than wood chips as filler for garden beds

Q: I am thinking of building some waist-high raised garden beds, and I am wondering if it would be okay to fill the first couple feet with wood chips as filler beneath a top layer of maybe 1 foot of soil for growing vegetables. – Multnomah County

A: If you want a filler, I would recommend straw rather than wood chips. I’ve made several raised beds but I usually start in the fall. I took a couple of straw bales (not hay as it contains seeds as protein for horses, etc.) On the straw bales I add a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer (blood meal or feather meal) to the straw bales and then cover them with 4 to 6 inches of purchased garden soil (not dug out of the garden) and let them “cook” over the winter. Then in spring/summer I can plant tomatoes and they do great. If you are planning to do this now, you may need to forgo the nitrogen because the composting could get too hot. If you are going to put a foot of soil, I’d be worried about anaerobic composting for the straw or the wood chips. Depending on what you are using to contain the beds, you may get air infiltration from the sides. In both cases you may want to lay down some hardware cloth to prevent critters from tunneling up into your new beds. No matter what you choose, that organic matter will eventually break down so you will need to replenish the raised beds to maintain the height. – Sara. Running, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Strawberries grown at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center. Chris Branam, Oregon State University


목재 관련 제품 공급업체

If you want your landscape to be adored by all and a welcome sight to see each day you arrive home, it requires work. In this article, we'll show you how to use wood chip mulches in your landscapes.

What is Landscape Mulch?

Landscape mulches are important components of environmentally sustainable gardens and landscapes. Unlike soil amendments, mulches are simply materials laid on top of the soil rather than worked into it. Select the right mulch and you reap the benefits of healthier soils and plants choose the wrong mulch and the only plants that thrive are the weeds.

Benefits of wood chips

In areas where trees are a dominant feature of the landscape, wood chips are one of the best mulch choices for trees and shrubs. Studies have found wood chips to be one of the best performers in terms of moisture retention, temperature moderation, weed control, and sustainability.

Wood chips are considered to be slow decomposers, as their tissues are rich in lignin, suberin, tannins, and other complex natural compounds. Thus, wood chips supply nutrients slowly to the system at the same time they absorb significant amounts of water that is slowly released to the soil. It is not surprising that wood chips have been cited as superior mulches for enhanced plant productivity. Wood chips have been especially effective in helping establish trees and native plants in urban and disturbed environments. Wood chips also provide substantial weed control in ornamental landscapes.


Pros and Cons of using woodchips in place of gravel

posted 9 years ago

  • So when I get some land, I was thinking of using wood chips rather than gravel for a long flat driveway. Looking for feedback so Ill start.

    Usually you get lots of greens in along with the chips as the local guys trim to keep powerlines safe.

    Pro - can be had for free in many areas, just by knowing who to talk to
    - could be a way to get it to break down faster to use as a mulch.
    - improve soil compared to gravel
    - easier to spread and fill pot holes

    Con - wouldn't pack and hold together like gravel
    - might be bumpy?
    - 2wd vehicle get stuck in snow/ice more so than gravel
    - snow plows would make a mess of it

    posted 9 years ago

  • i don't think it would be bumpy but the other two cons sounds like something to think about, i'd never thought about it much

    heres a guy who use wood chips for damn near everything, i believe hes got it on his driveways and such as well
    google:
    backtoedenfilm.com

    posted 9 years ago
    • 1

  • Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world, Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. Formerly pa_friendly_guy_here

    posted 9 years ago

  • posted 9 years ago

  • I would avoid woodchips for a roadway unless you can reapply them annually. A decent (not even great) gravel road can last years without maintenance, but a woodchip road might need to be topped with new chips every year or so. This is from my own experience having both gravel and woodchip driveway areas. The woodchips are on a section of driveway we don't use more than once a week.

    posted 9 years ago

  • I think it depends a lot on how the road is going to be used. infrequent use and no heavy equipment: the wood chips ought to be fine. if it will be used a lot and their will likely be big trucks or other heavy thing: wood chips could still work, but you'll have to replace them often. your mention of the snow plow suggests the latter might be the case.

    a friend of mine has a gravel that was built really well. all told, it goes down more than four feet below grade. big rocks at the very bottom getting smaller with each layer until the top is packed crushed rock. in the 25 years he's had the place, he has never had to bring in gravel or do any serious maintenance, despite moving all manner of heavy equipment on it. the driveway predates his arrival by at least 50 years. the driveway next door to his is more modern, and they spread a couple loads of gravel once or twice each year depending on the weather.

    you can bet that my friend's driveway cost a whole hell of a lot more money to build initially, but that was pretty much the end of the cost. the newer one was probably pretty cheap, but continues to incur costs regularly and indefinitely.

    my friend discovered the makeup of his driveway when he tried to run a waterline under it. thought it would be a simple matter of some time with a trenching shovel. when that didn't work, he moved on to a ditch witch. when that didn't work, he moved on to a track hoe. that didn't work either. he ended up having to dig a pit on either side deeper than the driveway, then he drilled a pipe through.

    roads are one of those things that seem like they should be really simple to build, but reality turns out to be different.

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    What Else to Do with Wood Chips

    If you don’t want to compost your wood chips, you have a number of other options.

    Wood Chips as a Ground Cover

    Wood chips can be used as a mulch to cover the ground.

    If you spread the chips as a ground cover, be aware that they will still break down over time. Therefore, it’s best to apply a layer that’s at least two inches thick.

    Wood Chip Mulch Pros and Cons

    • Helps prevent erosion
    • Helps keep down weeds
    • Can be found for free
    • Adds organic matter to the soil

    • Will decompose over time, requiring additional applications
    • Softwood trees can alter soil pH
    • Can wash away with heavy rain

    Wood Chips as a Soil Amendment

    Since wood chips are high in carbon, they can tie up soil nitrogen when they’re tilled into the ground. Therefore, don’t incorporate them into soil you wish to plant into soon.

    However, wood chips can be spread on top of soil. As the chips break down over time, they will provide your soil with a healthy dose of organic matter.

    Grinding Wood Chips into Sawdust

    One more option for wood chips is to turn them into sawdust. You can then use this sawdust as animal bedding.

    While you can compost this sawdust, beware that the pile will compact due to the fine particle size. Therefore, you’ll need to frequently turn the pile or add in larger materials like wood chips.


    Watch the video: Worst and Best Wood Chip Mulch for Your Vegetable Garden


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