Wood chips are a great way to keep your garden looking good. They also help with water drainage and control weed growth. However, they’re not all created equal – some wood chips are better than others for your garden.
This blog post will discuss the types of wood chips that you should avoid using in your garden, as well as the ones that work best.
Remember: even if it’s made from natural materials like wood, one type of chip can be bad for your soil while another is beneficial.
What is a wood chip
Wood chips are also called mulches, and they can be made from different materials such as pine trees or oak tree branches. They’re used in landscaping to provide the soil with an airy structure for better drainage while at the same time preventing weed growth by blocking most sunlight penetration into the dirt below.
A wood chip is a flattened piece of round or rectangular shaped solid organic material that has been chipped, shredded, ground up, and then aged. It can be made from many different types of materials, including softwoods like pine trees and hardwood varieties such as oak tree branches and twigs.
Wood chips might not seem like they would have much surface area coverage, but when spread out over a large garden bed, these small pieces will cover a lot more space than you might think at first glance – especially if there’s enough depth to allow it to do so without any interference from other types of plants, stones or objects.
Some oak trees produce safe types of wood chips, while others will create dangerous foliage.
Different types of wood chips
There are many types of wood chips, but we will explore the different types in greater depth.
In principle, all three species can be used for making woodchips. The most common woods include pine, spruce, and oak.
Pine is light-colored and often has a pleasant scent that keeps insects away from plants (pine oils).
Spruce is dark green with silver stripes due to the needle-shaped leaves and an earthy smell which helps deter pests like aphids or beetles from getting closer to your garden.
Oakwood protects against slugs and snails because it’s very strong and durable when chipped up small enough. All these trees provide great materials for use in gardening.
This is a list of all the different kinds of woods that can be used for making wood chips and what they bring to your garden.
Pine: This kind has light-colored leaves with a pleasant scent and an earthy smell which helps deter pests like aphids. Keeping these pieces of wood out of your garden is a great way to deter beetles from getting closer. It also protects against slugs and snails because it’s very durable when chipped up small enough. These are great materials to use in gardening.
Spruce: They have dark green stripes due to their needle-shaped leaves, as well as an earthy smell that deters pests, which would keep aphids and beetles away from your plants.
Eucalyptus Trees: There is one more type we recommend which is Eucalyptus trees. Since ancient times, the bark has been harvested from these trees due to its antifungal properties and its great smell.
How to identify the type of wood chip
There are a few methods that can be used to identify the type of wood chip you have. One way is by looking at its color, smell, and what it’s made from. For example, if your wood chips were blue, they would likely come from cedar trees because most other varieties don’t make this particular dye.
The Eucalyptus tree will give off an earthy scent when broken in half or crushed and anti-fungal properties, which is why we recommend them.
The second way to identify the type of wood chip is by its size. If you have any small chunks in your pile, that would indicate that they are made from softwoods such as pine or spruce trees, which tend to produce smaller pieces than hardwoods like oak and ash trees.
The last method for identifying wood chips we recommend using is their shape. Pieces with an irregular edge are likely coming from cedar trees, while rounder shapes usually come from oak or ash tree trunks.
So now what?
Once you know how to identify the different types of wood chips, it’s time to decide where they go on your property.
We recommend keeping all fertilizers away from water sources, so try not putting them under the vegetable garden, near the swimming pool, or on any slopes.
What kind of wood chips are bad for gardens?
- Avoid using pine chips as they are acidic and can promote the growth of fungi.
- Stay 30 feet from buildings with mulches such as pine needles, which are shown to be highly combustible.
- Apply the mulch and then taper it down gradually toward plants, so they don’t suffocate in a moist environment caused by too many layers of thin materials like pine needles.
The size of material determines how thick or thin you make your layer; larger pieces can go 4 inches deep, while smaller ones need only 2-3 inches at most.
Mulch put on the ground can have adverse effects.
For instance, mulches that are not stored or handled properly encourage harmful microbes and produce toxic chemicals like ammonia, methanol, acetic acid, to name a few. Toxic mulches smell bad but aren’t just smelly – they’re also very acidic with pH levels of 1-2.
Properly turning your pile every month will eliminate these compounds in 24 hours so go ahead and enjoy this natural plant food without any harm done by improper storage methods.
Eucalyptus: Try to avoid using wood chips from eucalyptus trees as they are bad for the soil and can promote plant diseases. The aromatic oils that eucalyptus trees produce are said to inhibit the growth of nearby plants.
For this reason, gardeners often worry about mulches made from these trees damaging or inhibiting their gardens’ plants.
Fortunately, multiple research studies have been conducted on whether or not it is harmful to a plant’s health if its roots come into contact with the ground covered by such materials and found that while there may be some initial damage during transplanting time, any negative effects typically wore off after just three months in most cases.
Uneven & Rough: Avoid using wood chips with an uneven or rough edge because these come from cedar trees that produce poisonous gases. Don’t use old or rotten wood as a mulch; it will attract insects and rot the roots of your plants.
Cypress Mulch: Be careful with cypress mulch because it will release a lot of salt into the ground over time and make your soil too alkaline, which is not good for plants. Cypress mulch is a by-product of the lumbering industry. Originally, it was made from shredded cypress tree wood that came mainly from Florida and Louisiana. However, increased demand for this product comes an increase in felling these trees solely for purposes other than harvesting timber – namely, making Cypress Mulch.
Cypress lumbering has been decimating cypress populations in Florida, Louisiana, and other southern US states. Without these trees, forests become bare and are prone to be taken over by invasive plants.
This destroys wetland, too, with all the ecosystems that come along with it, including wildlife such as migratory birds who also need habitat for nesting or breeding purposes, which is now endangered because of lessening cypresses’ available (which take decades to regrow).
Painted or Pressure Treated Chips: Avoid using wood chips with either pressure treated or painted with a sealant. This is because the chemicals in these can be toxic to plants, and you won’t know about it until there are visible signs of damage on your plants.
Bark Chips: Make sure to use bark chips sparingly to avoid compaction problems with your garden’s soil. Bark mulch is a popular type of ground cover that may be abrasive to some types of plants. It can also contribute to acidification in the soil, and it attracts birds which distribute them throughout your garden.
Furthermore, areas treated with bark mulch lack aesthetics after only two years due to its tendency for scruffiness over time.
Bark mulches are very aggressive against plant life unless they are softwood varieties such as pine or fir trees since these have lower levels of lignin than hardwoods like oak trees do; therefore, their cell walls will break down more quickly under pressure caused by constant exposure from contact with bark-mulched surfaces.
In addition, they often lead towards acidic soils if not properly maintained through watering and fertilization treatments because of excess.
Don’t Make Your Own: Make sure you buy hardwood chips from a reliable source; don’t try to make your own by cutting up softwoods like pine or poplar, which will decompose quickly and fill up the garden with plant-unfriendly aldehydes.
A better idea would be to use hardwood chips that are kiln-dried since they will last for years outside and not release harmful chemicals into your soil.
Which wood chips are best for the garden?
Wood chips are a great organic fertilizer for gardens. They not only provide nutrients but also help to break down heavy dirt clods and loosen the soil. There is an abundance of wood chip types available when choosing which one will be best for your garden.
Bark mulch is a popular type of mulch, and it can be the best option for water conservation. Decomposed bark chips protect against evaporation, so you don’t have to worry about moisture disappearing from your plants. However, shredded wood provides better environmental conditions than large chips because, with larger pieces, there’s more room between them for air circulation which means they are slower in decomposition time.
You should use this if you find any available at your local hardware store or garden center.
Bark mulch provides moisture to the soil and a layer of protection for plants against the weather. It suppresses weeds and keeps dust from blowing around as well as making your garden bed look more attractive by dressing it up with texture and color.
The bark mulch decomposes over time, which improves fertility in the soil because of its natural ingredients like leaves, twigs, or cones rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, etcetera.
Bark mulches offer many benefits:
Retaining water levels on moist soils.
Providing an extra barrier for plant life when exposed to harsh conditions outside-offering both physical cover (keeps out wind) along with chemical resistance. Choking off weed growth so they can’t compete during periods where the ground is damp.
Decomposed wood mulch can be a good option to reduce the risk of erosion and ground compaction when walking in your garden. The natural coarseness also ensures that water is distributed more evenly over plants which will help them grow healthier.
If you’re looking for an alternative, there are recycled paper chips or even shredded newspaper available as well – these additions provide nutrients in return, so they’re not just soil-covers like others.
Colored mulch is the best option for people who are looking to enhance their outdoor landscaping. With colors such as crimson, emerald green, and forest blue, there’s no way you will be disappointed by this choice.
Dyed mulch comes in two forms: shredded wood or chips that have been dyed a certain color. These options offer an unmatched appearance quality at a price – don’t forget your budget if choosing them.
Cedar mulch is one of the best types of wood mulches. The natural oils within the cedarwood repel insects make it a great choice for areas prone to pests like termites. Cedar costs more upfront but will save you in pest control services over time, making this an excellent investment.
Cedar mulch is an amazing addition to any garden. Not only does it provide insulation for plants, flowers, and trees, but it also protects them from fungus or bacteria growth.
In addition, cedar mulch can help regulate temperature because of its ability to reflect sunlight – this means that you will be able to keep your yard looking fantastic all year round with cedar in the soil.
Pine bark mulch is a budget-friendly option for those working on landscaping projects. Pine peelings and shavings are generated by the lumber milling process but may not be as head-turning like cedar or bark mulches, but they get the job done. If you’re looking to save money without sacrificing quality, then pine peels will do just fine.
Pine bark is one of the best organic mulch options for gardeners. It’s lightweight, easy to spread, and retains moisture well while still preventing soil-borne diseases from spreading due to its coloration properties that reduce weed growth. Pine bark can also be used as a natural groundcover in planters or containers, providing an attractive look with plenty of benefits.
Natural colored mulch is a wood-based mulch that’s not dyed or sprayed with any chemicals to enhance its aesthetic appeal. It is an excellent option for many homeowners, as it usually costs less than a dye and, combined with these other benefits, offers weed reduction, moisture retention, and composting properties while saving you money from purchasing expensive colorized varieties of this product.
Sawdust is a great mulch for any acid-loving plant. This material lasts an average of one year before needing to be replaced, and it can also be used as a walkway in your garden. Avoid using sawdust from building materials; chemicals within the wood might leach into your soil if you do so.
Sawdust can also serve as natural walkways within your yard, though beware of spreading any type derived from building materials such as plywood due to chemicals leaching into the soil where they may cause damage over time.
Organic mulch, such as wood chips and bark, is rich in nutrients that encourage all-around plant growth. Unfortunately, mulches are often sold in bulk for a cheaper cost than their artificial counterparts; you may have to haul it home or even deliver it yourself.
The best way to get the most out of your organic materials? Mix them with an existing compost heap at least once every six months and top off soil when needed.
Tips for using different types of woods safely in your garden
Wood chips of all kinds are useful in a variety of ways if you do so. For example, sawdust can be used to make paths in your yard.
However, beware of using sawdust from building materials. Such as plywood due to chemicals leaching into the soil where they may cause damage over time. Organic mulch, such as wood chips and bark, is rich in nutrients that encourage all-around plant growth.
Mulches are often sold in bulk for a cheaper cost than their artificial counterparts; you may have to haul it home or even deliver it yourself. The best way to get the most out of your organic materials? Mix them with an existing compost heap at least once every six months and top off soil when needed.
If using pine straw, be wary of the needles, which can cause allergic reactions for those with certain plant sensitivities.
If using sawdust, keep it away from any delicate plants or flowers as wood dust often contains harmful chemicals used in building materials such as lead and arsenic that may seep into the soil where they will leach over time, killing off nearby vegetation if exposed at high levels.
Keep these tips in mind when deciding what type of mulch is best for your yard.
Types of trees that produce safe and unsafe wood chips
The types of wood you should keep out of your garden are called “ash” and “oak.” This is because they produce a lot of spores when the logs decay, which can hurt animals like rabbits or squirrels and have adverse health effects on humans if inhaled over long periods.
Types that will be safe include fruit trees such as apple and maple; also, pine tree’s bark is not too harmful since it does not contain any spore-producing dust making it okay to use around pets and children alike. Lastly, three other types are safe for your garden: fruit trees, maple trees, and pine tree bark.
Safe wood chips: apple, maple, pine tree’s bark is not too harmful since it does not contain any spore-producing dust making it okay to use around pets and children alike.
Unsafe wood chips ash; oak; eucalyptus tree. The types of wood you should keep out of your garden are called “ash” and “oak.” This is because they produce a lot of spores when the logs decay which can hurt animals like rabbits or squirrels, in addition to having adverse health effects on humans if inhaled over long periods. Types that will be safe include fruit trees such as apples, maple tree bark, and pine trees.
Wood chips can be a helpful addition to your garden, but you should know which types of wood are safe and unsafe for use on the ground. To keep out certain types of bugs, you should avoid using oak or pine as they will attract many pests. Instead, opt for hardwoods like maple, birch, and ash because these trees produce low-aromatic woods that won’t draw unwanted attention from insects. Use this information when deciding what type of wood chip would work well with your plants.