n the pursuit of cultivating vibrant landscapes and thriving gardens, there is a transformative and simple secret which is wood chips. Wood chip mulch benefits cultivated gardens as much as natural forests, and that’s why this mulch is an excellent choice.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a budding enthusiast or a seasoned horticulturist, we are here to take a deep dig in the wood chip mulch’s rich earth. Keep reading this blog to discover the secrets that will aid you in the flourishing future of your garden.
What Is Wood Chip Mulch?
Wood chip mulch is a kind of organic matter which is generally used in landscaping and gardening. It comprises of wood small pieces which can be obtained from shredded or chopped wood debris like branches and trunks. With time, wood chip mulch can break down, which will enrich the soil along with organic matter and boost its fertility. That’s why it’s a perfect environmentally friendly and sustainable choice for gardeners who want to boost the appearance and health of their landscapes.
The availability of wood mulch comes in several types and sizes, like softwood or hardwood chips. They can be used in a range of outdoor settings, such as flower beds, gardens, and around shrubs and trees. Among landscapers and garden enthusiasts, wood chip mulch is a popular choice due to its weed control properties, soil improvement benefits, and aesthetic appeal. This can contribute to the overall beauty and health of outdoor space and even promote practices like sustainable land management.
Pros And Cons Of Wood Chip Mulch
Pros of Wood Chip Mulch
- Moisture Retention: Wood chips aid in retaining soil moisture to reduce evaporation, which is mainly beneficial in dry and hot climates. With this, there will be a reduction in water usage in your garden.
- Weed Suppression: Generally, wood chip mulch forms a sensing layer that can block sunlight effectively and inhibit weed growth. As a result, there will be less need to use herbicides and manual weeding.
- Temperature Regulation: Wood chip mulch acts like an insulated, which can aid in moderate soil temperature. Your plant root systems will benefit because it keeps the soil warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather.
- Erosion Control: Soil erosion will be prevented by reducing the raindrop’s impact and slowing down runoff. Thus, topsoil will be protected and sediment buildup can be prevented in waterways.
Cons of Wood Chip Mulch
- Decomposition Time: A lot of time is taken to break down the wood chips fully. During this process, they might reduce the nutrients available to plants temporarily.
- Nitrogen Competition: With the decomposition of wood chips, they can tie up nitrogen temporarily in the soil. As a result, there will be nitrogen deficiency in pants, mainly if they fail to be compensated with additional nitrogen fertilizer.
- Termite Attraction: There are cases in which termites are attracted to wood chip mulch. This might be a concern if your garden is near to a structure. However, by using hardwood chips you can get aid in mitigating this risk.
- Potential for Fungal Issues: In the case of humid environments, a favorable environment can be created for certain fungi, which might cause diseases in plants.
How to make wood chip mulch?
If someone wants to make wood chip mulch, then it’s a straightforward process because you can easily do it at home if there is access to tree branches or wood. So, we have mentioned a step-by-step guide to making wood chip mulch:
Materials and Tools You’ll Need
- Chipper/Shredder: There will be a need for a shredder or chipper machine to break down the small chips of wood. If you don’t own one, then you can rent it from the local equipment rental store.
- Wood or Tree Branches: You can use several kinds of wood, including softwood or hardwood. Try to avoid woods that have been treated with paints or chemicals.
- Safety Gear: While operating the chipper, don’t forget to wear appropriate safety gear, comprising hearing protection, gloves, and safety glasses.
Steps to Make Wood Chip Mulch
- Collect Wood: Start gathering the tree branches or wood you want to turn into mulch. Make sure the wood is clean enough and free from any kind of contaminants, such as screws or nails.
- Prepare the Chipper/Shredder: Safe operation can be ensured if you read the instructions of your manufacturer for your shredder or chipper. The machine should be properly powered or fueled and be in good working condition.
- Set Up a Safe Work Area: Look for a stable and flat surface to set up your chipper. Also, it should be away from obstacles, people, and structures.
- Feed Wood into the Chipper: You can feed the wood into one piece of chipper at a time. Go through the guidelines of manufacture for the wood piece’s maximum diameter that can be chopped safely.
- Operate the Chipper: Now, turn on the chipper and steadily feed the wood. You can use tools like a push stick provided by the chipper manufacturer to guide the wood into the machine. Try to keep clothing and hands away from the intake of chipper.
- Collect the Wood Chips: As the wood is shredded by the chipper, it will generate wood chips that will later expelled from the machine. For collecting the wood chips, you can have a tarp or containers nearby.
- Store or Apply the Mulch: After producing a sufficient amount of wood chip mulch, you’ll be left with two choices. Store it in a covered and dry area for later use or directly apply it to your landscaping or garden.
- Spread Mulch: If you’re immediately using the wood chip mulch, then evenly spread it over the landscaping or garden’s desired area. It would be better to have a thickness of 2-4 inches to provide effective moisture retention and weed suppression.
- Maintain the Mulch: Keep an eye on your mulch periodically, and as it breaks down over time, you can replenish the mulch layer.
Choosing the right kind of mulch considers your specific local conditions and gardening needs. Beneath the unassuming exterior of wood chips, there lies a powerhouse of benefits that can easily breathe life into green. However, while operating heavy equipment you must prioritize safety.