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What To Do With Wood Chips From Chipper? If you have a pile of wood chips that you don’t know what to do with on your property this is the article for you. We will give 10 ways to use this useful resource which are listed below.
- Using As Mulch On Garden Beds
- Creating Garden Paths
- Using Them In Compost
- Using The Wood Chips To Construct A Hot Bed
- Using The Wood Chips As A Medium To Grow Mushrooms On
- Spreading It In Your Chicken Run
- Using The Wood Chips As “Soft Fall” Material Below Play Equipment
- Using The Chips As Bedding For Pets
- Using The Wood Chips In a Smoker
- Using The Material As Kindling For Fires
1. Using As Mulch On Garden Beds
The most obvious way to use wood chips is as a mulching material for garden beds. They are most suited to mulching ornamental beds and borders. However, wood chips are generally not recommended on beds that are growing annual vegetables or flowers.
The reason for this is that wood chips consume nitrogen from the soil as they break down. This occurs because the microorganisms that feed on the wood chips require nitrogen. As the wood chips are low in nitrogen the microorganisms consume nitrogen from the soil.
This process can temporarily deprive annual plants of their nitrogen requirements which can affect the plants’ development. Fortunately, this only affects the top layers of soil for a short period of time as the nitrogen is returned to the soil once the decomposition of the wood chips is complete.
As perennial plants tend to have deeper root systems they are largely unaffected by the process.
2. Creating Garden Paths
Using wood chips to create garden paths or top up existing ones is an extremely effective way to use up the wood chips. To reduce the level of maintenance associated with garden paths it is advisable to put down a thick layer of cardboard before placing a thick layer of wood chips over the top.
The cardboard layer will help to suppress weeds, however, to be most effective it is important to ensure that there are no gaps in the cardboard layer as weeds will exploit these gaps over time.
3. Using Them In Compost
Wood chips can also be used to bulk up the volume of material in your compost heap. However, when adding the material to your compost it is important to ensure that you add the wood chips in alternating layers with green material such as lawn clippings and green leaves.
By doing this the compost heap will reach higher peak temperatures and break down faster. The speed of decomposition can be further accelerated by selecting small-sized wood chips as they will have a larger surface area relative to the mass. This will accelerate the rate of reaction.
4. Using The Wood Chips To Construct A Hot Bed
Another way to use up wood chips is to make a hotbed. A hotbed is essentially the same as composting accept that you can take advantage of the heat generated from the decomposition process to grow vegetables. This is a method that was refined in the victorian era as a way of extending the growing season of vegetables.
To create an effective hotbed you typically need around 1 tonne of material (a pile 3-4 ft high and 3-4 ft wide). To hold the material in place it is best to place 4 posts in the ground and wrap them in wire to create a support structure for the pile. This will allow the material to be compressed downward.
To create the hotbed started by layering material like lasagna with green material being added follow by the wood chips. As you are building up the layers it is a good idea to sprinkle in some manure pellets as that will act as an accelerant.
Build the heap up to 3 to 4 feet in height and then added around to 10 inches of topsoil on top. The centre of the hotbed should reach a temperature of around 140°F (60°C). Once the hotbed has reached the maximum temperature you can plant into the top layer.
To help hold the heat it is advisable to use a cold frame on top if you live in a really cold climate.
5. Using The Wood Chips As A Medium To Grow Mushrooms On
Wood chips are also a useful medium on which mushrooms can be grown. However, to use wood chips it is necessary to first sterilize the wood chips before mixing them with the mushroom mycelium.
To sterilize the wood chips they need to be boiled in water. The heat will kill any wild mushroom spores and bacteria. This prevents any chance of you accidentally growing poisonous varieties of mushrooms.
Once the wood chips have been boiled the water needs to be drained away and the chips allowed to cool. The chips can then be mixed with the mushroom mycelium before being filled into a container or plastic bag with small holes in it.
The holes in the side of the container will allow the fruit from the mushroom to develop on the outside of the container which makes them easy to pick.
Once the container has been prepared it should be stored in a dark location. It will usually take 4 to 8 weeks for the mushrooms to appear.
6. Spreading It In Your Chicken Run
Wood chips are also extremely useful material if you have chickens. The material can be used within the nesting boxes or in the base of the coup. It helps to absorb droppings and also the chickens also love scratching around in the wood chips.
The added benefit of using wood chips is that they can be scooped up and placed on the garden as mulch or alternatively put into the compost heap after the chickens have finished with it. Wood chips combined with chicken manure produce a material that is highly beneficial for the garden or compost heap.
7. Using The Wood Chips As “Soft Fall” Material Below Play Equipment
If you have a set of swings in your backyard for your children wood chips can be useful for creating a “soft fall” surface at the base of the swings. To create a really effective area below the swings it is advisable to place a layer of wood chips that is approximately 6- 8 inches deep.
At this depth, it will create a really spongy surface that will cushion any falls. However, before putting down the layer of wood chips it is best to use a weed matt underneath. Additionally, it is best to create sides around the area to stop grass from invading the wood chips.
8. Using The Chips As Bedding For Pets
Fine wood chips are very useful as bedding for the little critters in your life. They are particularly suited to hamsters, rabbits, and reptiles.
9. Using The Wood Chips In a Smoker
Damp wood chips are also useful in creating a smoky flavor in meats and cheese. However, the quality of the flavors will be highly dependent upon the type of wood that the chips are made of. To achieve the best outcome it will necessary to experience the particular wood chips you have available.
10. Using The Material As Kindling For Fires
Larger wood chips can also be suitable for use as kindling in fires. However, for the wood to be suitable for this purpose it needs to be thoroughly dried out. To achieve this it is best to lay the chips out on the ground in warm weather and allow them to full dry out before packing them in containers for winter. If they are not fully dried out prior to packing away they are extremely likely to remain damp and start to rot.