Wood-chip Motherlode

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by mamabear, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

    Oct 15, 2004
    NW AR
    I hit the wood-chip motherlode yesterday. I was talking with a man that works for the county parks department. I asked if they ever chipped wood when they were doing park cleanup and he said they did. Then, he told me to help myself to all the woodchips I needed from their lot. I drove by there on the way home to locate exactly where the pile was. There is a pile of chips out there that must be at least 20'h x 30'w x 80'l.! Needless to say, I don't think I'll be getting those little bags of chips anymore. And I had been looking at what chipper/shredders cost, but hadn't been able to afford them. Now I don't have to look no more.
  2. kosh

    kosh Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    what an awesome find.

    Last year I went in with my parents and my brother to buy a chipper. It was the best thing I've bought. I've had to cut some trees down and the huge pile of branches is reduced to a tiny pile of chips in a few hours. It's so much more useful than cutting them up and burning them or tossing them into the woods or out for trash pick up. It's also great for shredding leaves and hay for better mulch.

  3. nwilder

    nwilder Active Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    We went to a sawmill to buy a load of ends to burn, and they had the drive back to the pile laid with chips. We are wanting to put a drive back to the barn and gravel will cost us over $500.00. Could we use chips like they did? We have never used wood chips for anything. We bought mulch by the bag. Is it the same thing? There is a tree trimmer that lives down the road from us. He will dump it in your yard if you ask. For free.
  4. SW Ohio

    SW Ohio Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    I have been taking advantage of free wood chips at the township maintenence yard for some time. My wife worries about disease since the chips have not been properly composted to heat up and kill pathogens.

    But dig into those piles and you will find some good stuff. Find the sweet spot and the chips will be partially composted. I use a garden fork and a plastic tub to load the pick-up. Shovels just do not work and it is difficult to get the truck up against the pile to simply rake it into the back. But speaking of back, take your time 'cause the other week I twisted by back a bit lifting and twisting to load the truck in a hurry.

    We use the chips (with grass cliipings to provide nitrogen) to hold down and hide newspaper weed block in the garden. We line the paths in the woods to keep them less muddy. And also put the chips down around the animal pens. For use as a mulch we screened some through a hardware cloth screen to get a good soil ammendment and used to larger material for the paths. FOr a decorative mulch we put down newspaper weed block, a couple inches of the free mulch, then topped it off with the fancy nicely colored stuff from the garden store. Saved a bunch of money and had the same look. At least until the chickens got there and tore everything up...

    I tried a cipper shredder and while there is always plenty to chip the smaller units take forever, are loud, and at the end of the day, while my brush pile was gone, the pile of chips was pretty small. Much better to fill the truck with the free wood chips.

  5. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2002
    We met up with a landscaper who didn't have a place to dump his chips...now he does!! Already brought five lovely loads of chips this year...last year's are well on their way to decomposing....we put them everywhere. The grapes did great with chips--and all the fruit trees plus it marks off the no-mow line....my DH gets a bit wild with the rider at times!!! We use it for paths,specially the ones the dogs make and any muddy place gets a cart load or two. Plan to put them down between the new raised beds we are making. Mulched over a new planting of 200 daffodils and they are coming up green and husky. Love those chips! DEE
  6. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 16, 2003
    Southern Maryland
    We get ours free from the county. We don't pay for trash pick-up so we drive to the recycling plant to take our trash and fill up the truck with free mulch while we are there. We use a pitch fork and a grain shovel, but sometimes the guys will load us up for free.
    We use ours on the paths between the raised beds, as mulch for the trees and we have put some through our chipper/shredder and added it to the compost heaps.
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    So Cal Mtns
    The chips are excellent in muddy walkways,makes a high/dry pathway.

  8. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    I've used free chips for pathways as mentioned. But keep in mind that chips used as mulch will suck nitrogen from the soil.

    Don't ask me how. Just a chemical reaction I guess.