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Tons of Wood Chips Okay?
Old 08-03-2019, 01:08 PM   #1
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Tons of Wood Chips Okay?

I'm having some major tree work done, limbing some pines and firs.

I can save money by letting them leave the wood chips here.

Much of my yard is like this:



Is there any disadvantage to adding a layer of wood chips to ground like this?
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:17 PM   #2
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They'll eventually decompose. Probably no downsides unless you walk aroudn that area barefoot a lot. How much are the savings? What kind of wood?

Or you could just have them make a pile in a corner somewhere convenient but out of sight and use them a mulch around your gardens.
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:23 PM   #3
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I don't know how much I'll save, but as long as there's no problem (like fire danger or increased insects) I think I'll keep the chips (pine and fir).
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:24 PM   #4
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I've heard all kinds of stories about this. The most often one being a "change of pH" in the soil. The other one is that the chips will "steal nitrogen" from the soil.

Honestly, I don't give either of those too much worry.

What you do have to consider is a thick layer absolutely will create a lot of compost heat for the first few months. Ever see a steaming pile of wood chips? Happens all the time. That can burn roots.

But I don't think you have anything sensitive under there, right?

The second issue with wood chips is they float if you get heavy rain. Many-a-mulched area in these parts have vanished after a rainstorm.

Here in NC, this is termite heaven. In a year, you'd barely realize they were wood chips. Your mileage may vary up in the Pacific NW. These are silent insects for the most part. They just do their job. Not sure if you have termites. No worries, there are plenty of other organisms to have a feast. There are a lot of places, including the city, that give them away. We use them for mulch ground cover all the time. And then replace them after the termites feast and the rains carry them away.
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
I've heard all kinds of stories about this. The most often one being a "change of pH" in the soil. The other one is that the chips will "steal nitrogen" from the soil.

Honestly, I don't give either of those too much worry.

What you do have to consider is a thick layer absolutely will create a lot of compost heat for the first few months. Ever see a steaming pile of wood chips? Happens all the time. That can burn roots.

But I don't think you have anything sensitive under there, right?

The second issue with wood chips is they float if you get heavy rain. Many-a-mulched area in these parts have vanished after a rainstorm.

Here in NC, this is termite heaven. In a year, you'd barely realize they were wood chips. Your mileage may vary up in the Pacific NW. These are silent insects for the most part. They just do their job. Not sure if you have termites. No worries, there are plenty of other organisms to have a feast. There are a lot of places, including the city, that give them away. We use them for mulch ground cover all the time. And then replace them after the termites feast and the rains carry them away.
I don't see problems above what JW suggests. The only concern I'd have is what is the area used for? Some wood species are acidic and some folks or critters can have issues around them. One mill I worked at wouldn't sell them for horse bedding as someone's expensive race horse had hoof issues after standing on them.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:21 PM   #6
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We did sometime similar when we had trees removed. We did try to focus the chips in an area where we had a depression and wanted filled. We also used a compound to accelerate decomp and it contributed to rapid fungi growth. Found it at Home Deposit Garden supply section
Here is an article that offers a fertilizer treatment to accelerate decomp and suggests you could complete in 1 year or less. Wood Chips €“ Fast Decomposition | Walter Reeves: The Georgia Gardener
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I'm having some major tree work done, limbing some pines and firs.

I can save money by letting them leave the wood chips here.

Much of my yard is like this:



Is there any disadvantage to adding a layer of wood chips to ground like this?
Termites?
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:42 PM   #8
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some thoughts here...

https://agrilife.org/etg/fresh-wood-...rmful-or-good/
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:04 PM   #9
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The nitrogen robbery theory has been debunked. A thick layer of wood chips is a great way to build new soil. I'm not sure about termites;I night keep them away from the house and do a periodic inspection of the sills/basement/etc. to be safe.

The article referenced above by @imoldernu is excellent. My only disagreement is that all my flower and vegetable beds are mulched with wood chips. The soil is not hot and stays moist in the heat of summer, and the plants are all thriving.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:53 PM   #10
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Our garden beds are mulched with cedar mulch, same as the entire development. No plant problems. It does eventually decompose. New mulch is added every year.

Al lives in a cool climate heavily wooded area. Seems like decomposing wood is quite natural for his environment.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:57 PM   #11
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Maybe add them to the rock pile !
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:47 PM   #12
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Maybe no downside if spread relatively thin like mulch in a flower bed but be careful about inhaling mold that can cloud up if you disturb a large mound of the stuff after months of sitting.

My father let the county leave a couple of large piles of wood chips near his garden. They had been clearing limbs and small trees along the country roadways in his area. After letting it sit for several months he took the tractor and started spreading it. Clouds of mold spores came up and he got very sick. That was in August 2011. On February 1st 2012 he died after months of hospitalization from complete failure of his lungs. There was a steady decline in lung function over that time requiring higher and higher levels of oxygen to keep him going.

He had a chronic cough before this and he had quit smoking about 15 years prior because of early signs of emphysema, so his lungs weren't the best to start with. But that fateful day ended his life earlier than necessary. He was 72.
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