• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • jordan barton
  • Carla Burke
  • Leigh Tate
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Steve Thorn

All the Great Things about Wood Chips

 
Posts: 1
1
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Whenever I chip wood, I also make sure to collect decaying branches from around my farm or my forest floor to add to the branch pile, then when I'm chipping away I make sure to put these decaying branches through the chipper with fresh ones here and there.

I have been doing this since October, and now I'm distributing the chips around the farm and almost all of the woodchip interior is matted with mycelium, it smells fantastic, it's actually slightly more work to spread it out haha.

Nonetheless I think this a great way to innoculate your woodchip (if your chipping yourself) as you go, little tip from Norway
 
Posts: 51
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooh, good tip! Thanks Shaun. I suppose it works better if the rotting branches are from the same tree species that you chip? So you get the right species of fungi, I mean...
 
pollinator
Posts: 306
Location: Northwest Missouri
106
forest garden fungi gear trees plumbing chicken cooking ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What are yall's thoughts on applying grass clipping on top of wood chip beds? I would like to start applying on the edges to smother the grass that inevitably creeps in.

But I'm worried that adding a lot of grass clippings will start composting the wood chips from the top down instead of the bottom up. And that would end up giving grass and weeds more purchase instead of less in the long run. Grass all summer and more wood chips layered on top in the spring?
 
pollinator
Posts: 617
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matt Todd wrote:What are yall's thoughts on applying grass clipping on top of wood chip beds? I would like to start applying on the edges to smother the grass that inevitably creeps in.

But I'm worried that adding a lot of grass clippings will start composting the wood chips from the top down instead of the bottom up. And that would end up giving grass and weeds more purchase instead of less in the long run. Grass all summer and more wood chips layered on top in the spring?



I guess it depends on the quality of the grass clippings. If they are full of weeds, maybe not. I would not be too worried about composting from the top: composting is composting and it is a plus. I got a lot of bags of grass clippings last year. These lawns were under maples. I now have quite a few maples growing in my garden. [I'm putting them to good use, transplanting them in my forest]
"Grass all summer and more wood chips layered on top in the spring?". Did you mean in the Fall? [In the spring, the grass may grow through the chips? whereas in the Fall, they would compost under the chips maybe?
 
Posts: 39
Location: Boise, Idaho
2
hugelkultur fungi urban
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been recently planting new spring items in my garden, raised beds and flower beds. Most I have been covering with wood chips for 2 years. Today I see some great changes in the soil.
I have earth worms in just about every shovel of dirt below the chips. That can only be good. I even dug a small hole in my heavily walked path covered with apple chips, lots of very small earth worms.

For me wood chips appear to be making for better soil.
 
gardener
Posts: 6740
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1413
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Matt Todd wrote:What are yall's thoughts on applying grass clipping on top of wood chip beds? I would like to start applying on the edges to smother the grass that inevitably creeps in.

But I'm worried that adding a lot of grass clippings will start composting the wood chips from the top down instead of the bottom up. And that would end up giving grass and weeds more purchase instead of less in the long run. Grass all summer and more wood chips layered on top in the spring?




The key is depth of the chip bed, grass clippings should not be a problem but seed content might be an issue. Drying the clippings would help reduce any issues. Keep as constant a depth of wood chips as you can (6 inches is the minimum for weed and grass supression).

Redhawk
 
Posts: 1
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Consider doing heavy chip moving on rainy days to
minimize airborne spores/dust. I know they wet asbestos
during remediation to minimize dry particles going airborne.
I’ll be getting a large amount of rotted log mulch and I never put any thought into mold inhalation. Great forum guys!
 
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  ~I have a mesquite forest filled with old, dead wood, and theres also a lot of old dry mustard plant~Is it possible that the mustard would create an alkaline soil when used as mulch, that would balance out the acidic effect of the wood chips, if used together for vegetable gardens?~
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6740
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1413
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Kathy, dead, dried wood chiped most likely would not have any effect on soil ph. Generally it is fresh wood that might cause a slight ph change, even that would be short term.

Redhawk
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  Thank you!~By chance, do you have any suggestions as to how i could go about getting all of this wood to be used?~Ive seen that a lot of folks try to get chips from tree trimmers, etc., Id love to have a way to get my woods cleared of a lot of it?~I have 45 acres of it~
 
Ron Haberman
Posts: 39
Location: Boise, Idaho
2
hugelkultur fungi urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kathy Woods wrote:   Thank you!~By chance, do you have any suggestions as to how i could go about getting all of this wood to be used?~Ive seen that a lot of folks try to get chips from tree trimmers, etc., Id love to have a way to get my woods cleared of a lot of it?~I have 45 acres of it~



And where would this be?
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6740
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1413
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Around my area the tree service companies will do the job and leave you the chips, ask if they reduce their charge if they don't have to remove the chipped up wood.

Redhawk
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  ~Southern Arizona, where there is a lot of desert~
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 617
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kathy Woods wrote:   ~Southern Arizona, where there is a lot of desert~



And so your woodchips should be really precious. If you really have too many, I'm sure some folks would love to buy them from you and pay good money to boot!
Here, I get my woodchips from the county: When we get weather events, they will chip the trees that are on County land [That is not often]. More often, when folks get rid of a tree, if they choose to keep the wood and get it chipped, that is a *service*, so they pay for it. If they want to get rid of it, the arborists may take it to the County dump, where it gets chipped.
So either way, the County folks are the ones to talk to. I have my name on their list as someone who will take chips, so once in a while, they will contact me to check that I want them and where to pile them. It is free because by taking them from the dump, I free room at the dump. But now, I'm getting competition as I'm not the only one or even the first on the list.

The quality of the chips vary: sometimes, they are chipped rather coarsely, sometimes they are finer. I'll take them all: trash trees, hardwoods. If  I want them chipped finer, I have a little electric chipper that can do the job. My main concern would be if some trees are sick. I have them piled at least a year before I put them in the garden, but yeah, it is a concern. I trust that the County will not give me diseased trees.
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 ~Thanks, yes, it seems wood chips are mainly gotten from tree trimmers, by being on their list, etc.~Ive read about a recent discovery that the fungal element in wood chips is what allows the minerals & nutrients to be better absorbed in the veggies, when used in a veggie garden~Id love to help that happen for folks!~
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  ~I just heard that mesquite wood has a chemical in it that prevents things from growing?!?~Is that true???~There have only been a few different plants that have grown under them, mainly Greythorn & Mustard?~
 
Posts: 177
Location: Temperate coniferous forest (Oregon) - zone 8b, 94" rain/yr
25
3
trees tiny house solar
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bryant, this paragraph in the original makes more sense to me if I change the order of the sentences. Also fixed some typos:
There are, for the public, a number of concerns surrounding the use of arborist wood chips as a landscape mulch, due to a lot of either uninformed opinions or misinformation being circulated on the internet as well as pseudo-scientists putting out non-trialed theories.

Thanks for the thorough summary of wood chip info! I love them and transformed our entire front yard with 8-10" of wood chips.
 
Posts: 16
Location: Dallas, TX area
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I had a similar mold problem with a load of woodchips we got. We had to move the pile of chips to distribute it around the property and we noticed a lot of dust coming off the pile. The next day my husband and I both had sore throats! We used masks from then forward while moving that pile and our throats got better. I'm not sure what could have been in that pile to affect us so much; I assumed it was mold, but that's just a hunch.

The chips are on paths and around trees now. Everything seems to be doing fine. It was just moving the pile initially that caused the health problem.
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
  ~Ive heard others say this same thing, and it is thought to be spores of some kind, i think?~It makes me wonder if that would mean it already has the fungal element, that a mushroom slurry treatment would do?~
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6740
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1413
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Molds are not fungi, fungi generally do not effect the throat and a fungi would take days to become problematic if inhaled. Molds are more likely to cause respiration problems since their spores reproduce quickly. Dust from some wood species are known to cause respritory issues, the woods usually are either resinous or oily. It is proper caution to wear a mask when handling unknown woods like you can encounter in arborists chips, the N-95 type would be the prefered type of mask.

Redbawk
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
~☆~Thank you for clarifying that!!!~☆~There is so much to learn about this!!!~☆~
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 6740
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1413
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The mesquite roots put out two potent allopaths while the tree is alive, once dead these compounds are no longer being made, but they are persistant on the soil for around a year. The wood can't make these exudates, only live roots.

Redhawk
 
Kathy Woods
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
~Im glad to know that, thanks!!!~I guess it wont interfere with the wood for chips, then~
 
gardener
Posts: 791
Location: N. California
277
hugelkultur kids cat dog fungi trees books chicken cooking medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A quick update. Being a lazy sort I spread out the sweet gum chips, and took my chances.  I'm happy to report the smell didn't last long, and not one sweet gum tree popped up.  I was surprised by this because we have walnut trees popping up everywhere, every year. I think this is mostly the work of squirrels.  So if you get sweet gum, no worries, at least in N. California zone 9 b.
 
A lot of people cry when they cut onions. The trick is not to form an emotional bond. This tiny ad told me:
The Wheaton Eco Scale
https://permies.com/t/scale
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic