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5 Things To Do With Wood Chips

Chipping with a commercial chipper is a great way to process pruned tree limbs from around your home. Once your arborist is done with the job, you may elect to keep the fresh pile of wood chips. However, it can be difficult to decide what to do with them. We’ll aim to help you with some useful tips and tricks you can employ with your newly acquired chip pile.


● 6 Uses of Wood Chips

● Idea 1: Use Wood Chips for Mulch

● Idea 2: Add to Compost

● Idea 3: Ground Cover or Filler

● Idea 4: Build up Raised Garden Beds

● Idea 5: Livestock Bedding

● Chipper Debris and Tree Service

While some people will simply toss the chipper debris into their yard waste bin, there are actually several things you can do with all that wood. Here are six great ideas.

Idea 1: Use Wood Chips for Mulch

The very first thing that comes to mind whenever you think about wood chips is probably mulch.You may see many different kinds of mulch in garden stores, including bark mulch, cedar mulch and even rubber. The primary difference is that the arborist wood chips from a wood chipper are unprocessed—fresh off the tree.

Just like store-bought mulch, you can also use the arborist wood chips to mulch around trees, shrubs, and flowers. You can also add them to your garden beds or even spread them on top of your lawn to keep it cool and prevent weeds from growing.

The wood you use will determine how well it performs as a mulch material. Hardwoods, such as maple or oak, make excellent mulch because they are slow-decomposing, which means that they will not break down quickly like softwoods do. This can benefit your plants as the slow decomposition also means that there will be a slow, but continuous release of nutrients for your plants to use.

Idea 2: Add to Compost

Keeping an eye on the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in your compost bin is an important factor in determining whether or not you will get good results. Wood chips, sawdust, and other wood debris from pruning are ideal composting materials when used together with cut grass and other leafy, green materials since wood is high in carbon and greens are high in nitrogen.

The rigid structure of the wood chips also helps improve airflow through the compost pile, which improves decomposition. Air circulation is extremely important when composting, as it helps speed up the process and prevent bad odors from developing.

If you're new to composting, it is important to remember the following when adding arborist wood chips to your compost:

● Always mix new material into existing piles after you turn them; otherwise, they may not get enough oxygen and will start to smell;

● Make sure you have at least three different types of material in your pile; this ensures that all of your nutrients will be utilized;

When using wood chips, make sure they have been aged for at least six months to a year; this will allow any chemicals or preservatives that were used in the manufacturing process time to break down;

Idea 3: Ground cover or filler

Arborist wood chips derived from grinding pruned branches and removed stumps are an excellent material for filling low spots in your garden area. It can also be used to cover ground spaces that you intend to keep flat and weed-free, such as your outdoor seating or play area. You can also use them to make a pathway from scratch.

Another benefit of using wood chips as ground cover is that they can help prevent soil erosion. This is particularly useful if it always rains in your area. In fact, it was determined that wood chip ground cover could actually reduce soil erosion by 22% to 78% (Buchanan et al., 2002). So, go ahead and don't hesitate to spread out that wood pile if you have one at home. [1]

Idea 4: Build up Raised Garden Beds

Raised beds are great for growing your own food, especially if you have limited space or have an irregularly shaped yard. They can be used to grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, and even fruit trees. If you have a pile of wood chips and shavings, you can use them to build up these raised garden beds.

Arborist wood chips from a wood chipper is an excellent material for filling up the bottom of your raised bed because they're lightweight and very porous, which allows water to drain through them quickly. They are also great at improving soil quality and fertility by adding back organic matter into the soil and improving its ability to retain water.

Idea 5: Livestock Bedding

If you have chickens or pigs, you probably know the importance of bedding for your animals. Bedding provides warmth in winter, coolness in summer, and dryness in wet weather. But did you know that stump grinding debris works better as bedding compared to straw?

Straw tends to decompose quickly, making your bedding moldy, murky, and very difficult to clean out. Wood chips from Western Juniper and Alaska Cedar (which is actually a type of Cypress) also possess antimicrobial properties that can benefit your livestock (Johnston WH et al., 2001). [2]

However, fresh arborist wood chips have high moisture content, and they will be warm too (about 60°C). If you want to use them as livestock bedding, remember to dry them out first.

Wood Chips and Tree Service

Do you have trees that need attention at your home? 3rd Day Tree Service offers affordable tree care services for residents in Waco, Robinson, Hewitt, Woodway, and nearby areas.

We offer a variety of tree and plant health care services like tree installation, tree trimming, pruning, and tree growth regulation (TGR). If you need a Certified Arborist to help you out with your trees, call us at (214) 497-6226. We will gladly answer whatever questions you may have about our services. If you are still looking for more options, check out our website and see what else we have to offer.


[1] Buchanan, John & Yoder, DC & Denton, HP & Smoot, JL. (2002). Wood chips as a soil cover for construction sites with steep slopes. Applied engineering in agriculture. 18. 679-683. 10.13031/2013.11322.

[2] Johnston WH, Karchesy JJ, Constantine GH, Craig AM. Antimicrobial activity of some Pacific Northwest woods against anaerobic bacteria and yeast. Phytother Res. 2001 Nov;15(7):586-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.765. PMID: 11746838.

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