Paul, I think wood chips are one of those things that just have a lot more positives than negatives. A little bit of alleopathicity or acidity isn't really that bad, the pesticides and poisons get eaten by the mushrooms pretty quickly, pee, poop and dead animals are just more bio matter, and duh, don't use a lot of it for annuals. All you have to do is set it in a pile for a year and the carbon is broken down enough where it doesn't deplete nitrogen.
Hi salamander, why would one not use wood chips for annuals? Just curious.
I have been told that green waste/mulch/wood chips turns organic if you let it sit and compost for 2 years. Do I believe it? I don't know. It seems the compost will sort of balance itself out.
Wood chips are mostly carbon, so they would rob the annuals of the nitrogen they need (and most need a lot.) I would use either wood chips that have sat for a year or a small amount of wood chips along with green manure for annuals. Wood chips also provide the perfect habitat for fungi, but not so much for bacteria. Woody plants tend to also like fungi rich soil more than bacteria rich soil, and annuals tend to like bacteria rich soil more than fungi rich soil. If you think about forest succession it makes sense.
And I was thinking of using it for deep bedding under the cows and chickens this winter before composting it next spring.
Would it not be better to convert your wood chips into bio-char?
A dump truck load of wood chips would create a wonderful pile of bio-char!
John Polk wrote:
The original post was "the problem with importing wood chips", not "making wood chips".
Granted, 'making' wood chips consumes energy, but most people buying, or receiving wood chips are not spending the energy...that has already been expended by the person making the chips. Tree trimmers use the energy converting the branches into chips to actually save energy and labor. Any decent chipper will give a 10:1 ratio. I ran into this when I did tree trimming. Do I make 10 trips to the land fill with branches (spending gasoline, time, AND tipping fees each load), or do I make one trip? A decent chipper will pay for itself in one week!
A truck load of chips will break down within a couple of years, whereas a truckload of branches may take a decade or more. You often need to spend energy to save energy.
If "spending" energy to convert branches into chips is an issue, I could make the same argument against composting. The spent energy buys time.