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What to Know About Wood Chips as Mulch

Can I keep the wood chips that were mulched up after tree removals?

This is a common question. When we remove a tree, bush or hedge we often mulch and grind the twigs, leaves, and trunk up into great mulch. Often, homeowners will use this for mulch, but there is something to know about it before adding to your garden or lawn.

This is not beauty bark.

This is not playground wood chips.

Homeowners often think that if they remove a tree, they instantly have beautiful bark or mulch to go around trees and in flower beds. This is not the case. When we chip up a tree or limbs, it’s literally ‘mulch’. Which can be defined very loosely as a protective covering on the ground. Now, I understand that this could be beauty bark, but these chips are far from the uniform color, texture, and size of beauty bark you’d get from the store.

Read More: How do I know if a tree is dead?

What to Know About Wood Chips as Mulch

This is a combination of leaves, bark, shredded twigs, wood, sticks and dead organic matter. It’s perfect for a non-beauty spot on your property. We recently had a homeowner use it a foot thick under all her fruit trees. It prevents the homeowner from mowing under the trees and will hold in the water for the tree much better. It will take a year or so to break down, especially exposed to the elements but it was the perfect (and free) mulch for what she wanted. This wasn’t to beautify the backyard necessarily, although it looked nice and neat; it was to create a barrier to limit the growth of grass and protect the trees.

What to Know About Wood Chips as Mulch

This is also not the best if you are looking for playground chips. Those chips are more uniform, even, and softer. Raw, rough chips from grinding up stumps and trunks have slivers and various sizes of wood products. You might get a 2-foot skinny stick along with chopped up leaves and even a large piece of wood from time to time.  Again, meaning it’s perfect for basic mulch, not to be pretty.

However, this is the best stuff for breaking down into compost and really feeding the soil. With so much nitrogen from dead and decaying leaves plus all the nutrients from the wood itself, over time, this will offer some of the best nutrition for your soil, ideal for gardens and feeding live trees.

If you ever want this type of mulch for these purposes, let us know. We also partner with GetChipDrop.com which connects tree service professionals with homeowners that want these types of chips and even logs.

For the ultimate care in tree service around Snohomish and King County, give Lineage Tree Care a call.