ChrisC_77
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Location: West Virginia (Zone 6)

wood chips in compost.

I have been adding some wood chips to my compost. My neighbor has a tree trimming business and he said I could take any wood chips I want. He is also kind enough to let neighbors put any lawn, tree, or garden debris in his truck.

In any case. Should I not add too many wood chips as I know they take quite some time to break down. Do these look to big for composting? This is some kind of cedar I think. Are wood chips considered a green or brown? It was living when it was chipped so I am not sure.

Also, would it be a good idea to add wood chips of this size to the garden at all? I also worry about attracting termites. Thoughts?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: wood chips in compost.

Wood chips are a definite brown. They can be added to compost pile but only well mixed with greens (well more greens than wood chips by volume).

For mulch, it might be a good idea to let it sit in a pile somewhere and break down a little. By next spring they would be better to use without attracting things, providing such a good home to slugs, etc. Wood chips work better as a mulch for trees and shrubs, not veggies and other annuals.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

DoubleDogFarm
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Re: wood chips in compost.

For mulch, it might be a good idea to let it sit in a pile somewhere and break down a little. By next spring they would be better to use without attracting things, providing such a good home to slugs, etc. Wood chips work better as a mulch for trees and shrubs, not veggies and other annuals


This is my first year using wood chips in the garden. The photo below is my painted mountain corn. The chips I feel are robbing the nitrogen from the weeds. Mulch yes. Soil ammendment, No.

Image

Image

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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Re: wood chips in compost.

It looks great, but do you have trouble with slugs hiding in the wood? I would think slugs would be a big problem in the moist PNW. It was the Teaming with Microbes book we read that suggested that wood chip mulch leads to a more fungal soil which is better for trees and shrubs. Green mulches -- he said -- lead to a more microbial soil, which is better for annuals, veggies. It made sense to me in an intuitive kind of way: mulch the things that will be browns with brown and the things that will be greens with green, so that's mostly what I've been doing. This year I started mulching my veggies with a green/brown mix which worked well in the sense of breaking down quicker than either one separately. That's a + and a -. I feel like I am feeding the soil more that way, with a nice balanced mix like w.hat comes out of my compost pile. But I have to keep renewing the mulch more.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

toxcrusadr
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Re: wood chips in compost.

Different woods break down at different rates. Cedar is generally rot resistant, more or less depending on the variety. Probably better for mulch than composting.

Chips made from live trees with green leaves and juicy twigs do have more N than chips from larger branches and trunks. If you want to compost them, see if you can get a batch when your neighbor has been chipping up a lot of tree tops rather than big branches.
Tox

gepstein
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Re: wood chips in compost.

They'll take forever to break down.

DoubleDogFarm
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Re: wood chips in compost.

It looks great, but do you have trouble with slugs hiding in the wood? I would think slugs would be a big problem in the moist PNW.


We had a measurable rain Thursday. .83 in June, 0.0 July and about .125 in August. People find it hard to believe we have 4 dry mouths June through September. The right coast gets considerable more rain than we do.

Cleveland Average
Seasonal Rainfall
Winter 2.57 inches
Spring 3.59 inches
Fall 3.09 inches
Summer 3.66 inches

Looks like we have at least 3 imported European slugs
http://share2.esd105.org/rsandelin/Fiel ... ilslug.htm

That said, No problems with slugs in the wood mulch. It maybe do to the rough edges. More of a concentrate in the deep hay mulch.

After the rain, I collected slugs. The ducks had a feast.

Eric

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ElizabethB
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Re: wood chips in compost.

I have access to wood chips but only use them in extreme moderation in my compost bins. They decompose slowly and unfortunately, in the southern regions of the US, attract ants and termites. If you add manure the decomposition process will be accelerated. No science just my own opinion based on experience. Good luck.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Artemesia
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Re: wood chips in compost.

Every fall I trim and chip the tree trimmings. I spray honey water in layers as I pile them up. By spring they are half composted. Then I use them as mulch around trees and shrubs. The most decomposed inner core I use as mulch in the garden. They do not drain nitrogen because they are so decomposed. By fall, the mulch is ready to work into the garden soil. There is very little wood left that has not greatly decomposed. Wood chips are a great source of potash. Hard woods are actually very good for the soil, because a type of fungus will grow on them (as opposed to softwood) that will kill nematodes. Most of my other organic matter I use directly as mulch for one year before working it into the soil.

toxcrusadr
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Re: wood chips in compost.

I use them in compost only when I run out of other stuff, as they make a better mulch. Especially if I have half-done compost to put them on top of.

That said, they DO break down at varying rates depending on what kind and the conditions. I use yard waste mulch from the City pile which has a lot of wood in it, and after a year, the beds are darn near bare again. It's going SOME where!
Tox

Mahevish
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Re: wood chips in compost.

I just started making compost so i probably going to use it for every type of plant ( fruit, flowers and trees). Is it okay to add wood chips to it? Because another member had posted that the chips remove nitrogen from the soil, but i added rabbit poop to it because its rich in nitrogen. Is it still okay to add wood chips to it?
Thank you. :)

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