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Author Topic: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.  (Read 566 times)

Offline bwallace23350

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Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« on: April 29, 2019, 02:58:10 pm »
Has anyone used hardwood wood chips for mulch in the garden? Did they work well?

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2019, 03:48:19 pm »
Yes! and Yes!

Hardwood mulch turned our Florida sand into soil with terrific tilth.  The tree services were dropping chips for free, and it's best if you spread it out right away - that's when it's fluffiest, and easiest to move with shovel & wheelbarrow.

Our only hitch was when their big truck broke the edge off our driveway while backing onto the area to tilt the load. 

We also had a really great mycelium result. That's the threads that carry water to roots.  So, more water retention in topsoil = less percolation though the sand = less irrigation and loss of topsoil nutrients into the aquifers.  Or if you have clay soil, it will help aerate it.

Eventually the mulch will break down to the point that seasonal weeds will establish.  Fluffing with a "winged weeder" or "hula hoe" helps longevity as a weed barrier. 

Ultimately, to never use chemical weed suppressant,  a gardener needs to learn the seasonal weeds, and how to catch them before seed germination. Or, the kind of ground covers that will crowd out weeds can be established. Or, the soils can be made so acidic (as in under oak trees) that not much will grow, and a "forest floor" will form.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 12:34:57 am by FloridaGardener »

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 04:35:59 pm »
So the wood chips will turn it very acidic? Lime could help offset that

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 06:02:53 pm »
bwallace, I have read that fresh wood chips will take nitrogen from the soil.
Having said that, I just put three inched on my asparagus last night.  I'm curious how things work out.

Offline jtcmedic

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2019, 09:09:37 pm »
I will second what the Gardner said it has worked great for us, had to add blood meal to plants because of the chips but works well. Also chickens helped

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2019, 10:43:53 pm »
Actually I don't think the chips changed pH where I used them.  I had a very productive veg garden where I used a huge amount.  Other ornamental plants are doing fine.

I'm not sure how much nitrogen is 'drawn out' to break down the chips,  in comparison with the multiple other nutrients 'added in' when the chips rot.

The 'nitrogen draw' from hardwood chips didn't stunt our pittosporum hedge, which went from 1 gallon plantings to 8 ft tall in 3 years. 

To add nitrogen fast, plant Clover, then rototill it under, if you don't want to add a commercial nitrogen fertilizer because of being totally organic. 

If something seems to be flagging, Compost Tea will help. (In a barrel of water, use 10 gallons of deciduous leaves, a quart of fish fertilizer, and a cup of molasses. Marinate a week, then pour on a bucketful as needed.)

The other location - where I'm making it inhospitably acidic -  is under the Live Oaks.  I even add the neighbor's oak leaves which they raked off their lawn.  Oak leaves are nutrient rich, just slow to break down.  For a few months, leaves contain phytols that inhibit seed germination.

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 12:17:26 pm »
Florida,
Are you writing about green mulch or aged mulch?
I was speaking of green mulch, I thought others were as well.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2019, 03:17:14 pm »
We used more than 20 dump trucks full (10+ yards each) of green hardwood chips.  The tree service gave it all free, so they didn't have far to drive, to dump in a landfill. 

Also we removed 6 trees from our densely wooded lot which went straight into a chipper that spit out the chips in a big pile, and we used all those too.  I?ll post some pics. 



« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 12:30:06 am by FloridaGardener »

Offline Acebird

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2019, 05:16:26 pm »
What about palms?  I see endless palm leaves down here.  Will they compost easily?
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2019, 12:05:39 am »
Yes, Palms are not trees, they are plants. They compost fast if chipped.  But they are REALLY tough to move because of the stringy fibers. They need to be pitchforked, not shoveled, even when run through a chipper.  Not heavy, just scratchy and awkward, and go musty/moldy real fast.

If you want to make a "peat bog" or deep compost pile, they're great, just dump them.  Just rough lifting to get them there.  Not so good for spreading.   After one load, lazy ol' me said, "No more palm chips, please."

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2019, 12:28:41 am »
Here are the palm chips.  You can see fragments of a palm boot, and the stringy shards of the fronds.

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2019, 09:41:38 am »
From what I have seen they draw nitrogen from the part of the soil they are in contact with but not in the root zone. I have put out a bunch and am putting out more so who knows. IN the long run it will be worth it I believe.

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2019, 12:15:42 am »
Florida gardener, the info you give makes me think you might be a certified Master Gardener.  I have been a Texas MG since 1993, but am now inactive.  Whether or not you have been through Florida?s MG  program, you are giving some good information and I?m glad to see you on the forum.  I am getting too old for gardening or working the bees, I?m afraid.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hardwood wood chips for the garden.
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2019, 03:02:57 am »
Florida gardener, the info you give makes me think you might be a certified Master Gardener.  I have been a Texas MG since 1993, but am now inactive.  Whether or not you have been through Florida?s MG  program, you are giving some good information and I?m glad to see you on the forum.  I am getting too old for gardening or working the bees, I?m afraid.

Wow Dallas, not only are you a Jack of all trades, but a master of many!! Keep up the good work!!
Phillip