Turning Wood Chips into Mulch

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by pcs, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. pcs

    pcs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 198

    How would we be able to turn wood chips into mulch? What is involved? Would it be worth while to do this?

    We use to burn all our brush and have a chipper to chip all of it now. Just wondering how these wood chips will turn out to be mulch. Is this Mulch going to be good quality?
     
  2. Guthrie&Co

    Guthrie&Co LawnSite Senior Member
    from nc
    Posts: 784

    we mix some chips in with ther single ground mulch we get in. as long as you mix it with something else when you run it though a mulch grinder you should be fine. thats about the only way to make it look good. i have seen yards where thats all they had and it looked like crap. bigtime!
     
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Also, it is my understanding that just throwing wood chips down can actually suck the nitrogen from the ground. Don't ask me how. Apparently, you can use them but replace nitrogen when placing just wood chips down.

    I've used them in the past. Took the clippings from the oak tree we had taken down. I mixed in some peat moss with it. I then top coated it with real mulch.
     
  4. kerdog

    kerdog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Wood chips = picnic for termites!
    Have also read something about the nitrogen. Wood chips don't provide the nutrients that mulch does (of course), and the wood takes a long time to break down.
    Wood also sucks up moisture. Have read where it's used as a 'dressing' on like commercial accts. But NOT on residential, because of it attracting termites.
     
  5. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Correct, that is why I placed mine under the hedgerow which is located away from the house.
     
  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    The reason it "robs" the nitrogen from the ground is as the wood chips decompose, the microbes need the nitrogen as food as well.

    It's probably better to compost the chips, and once they are thouroughly composted, use them as a soil amendment.

    IMHO, unless you are a tree service, if you can burn the brush, BURN IT!! Chips just aren't worth it....


    Dan
     
  7. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 640

    A few years ago there was a large controversy among organic gardeners on the subject of using wood products (bark, chips, sawdust) as mulch because of the alleged nitrogen-robbing aspects of the decomposition process. After much experimentation, it was determined that the nitrogen leaching aspect of the process occurred ONLY at the beginning of the composting process and that, once the process had begun, the nitrogen was being replaced as the process proceeded. This is why many serious composters use 'starters' to accellerate the process and mitigate the early nitrogen loss. I have personally used softwood sawdust for many years as mulch between rows of perennials in the field and have never experienced any adverse effects. Hardwood mulch is another matter as the decomp. process takes longer and is more likely to foster fungi growth as it composts.
     

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