Free Wood Chips (

I mean from treated (or painted) lumber. Looking for anec-data on what people have received. I’ve experienced some shady tree services in the past so I am curious.

Not worried about the nitrogen issue…based on my (albeit non soil scientist) research, this is incorrect, at least it is not an issue except for vegetable beds or plants without deep root systems.

I have gotten lots of loads directly from the tree company. The wood chips are not like you buy in the store. These have random sizes with some big pieces. Also, the main concern I have had is the load often comes with seeds and other things that sprout up from it.

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Well Chipdrops come from arborist cutting down trees, unless there was a tree house in the tree the arborist choped up along with the tree i cant imagine running into lumber frequently.


I guess it’s a little bit of an absurd concern, but I couldn’t immediately think of anything else undesirable that might be in a load.

I think that the idea is that a bunch of wood sitting on the surface doesn’t steal N. It does if it’s mixed into the soil or growing medium without compensating N being added.

That was also my experience.

Wood chips on the surface do not suck up any nitrogen at all. Many scientific studies show that this is a myth. It’s also my experience.

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Wood digesting bacteria consume the available nitrogen to break down the wood. The Nitrogen is not in the wood but its not available either for other organisms.

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Seems to be a myth

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That is my understanding as well.

Impact of Mulches on Landscape Plants and the Environment — A Review

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The most irritating thing I find in the loads are plastic garbage from the employees’ lunch, it seems universal that they throw all garbage in the chip truck. When I spread chips at the orchard, I usually keep something handy to put the trash in.


I got 20 yards dropped once from a local arborist and spread it all by wheelbarrow and fork. Was happy to see the last of it! Mulched about 30 trees with it, and all kinds of mushrooms came up in the following years. I’m pretty sure some were honey fungus though, with tell tale black mycelium in thick rhizomorph threads through the chips and surrounding soil, and that could be a big issue for infecting apples and pears etc.

They’re still around though less as the chips break down, and never infected anything yet. Made me think twice after that though! I guess a lot of trees get the chop due to honey fungus infestation so must be somewhat common for it to show up in arborist chips.


In my coolish Z6a climate, I’ve thought that that thick layer of wood chips inhibited soil warming and growth at the beginning of the growing season.

But that’s a separate issue.

I discovered a 3 foot steel crowbar in my last load. I’m glad I didn’t damage my tractor with it. They said they could pick it up when they drop the next load, but no such next load materialized.


Ha, for us it’s the tree crew that keep the power lines clear that leave equipment behind. So far I’ve retrieved a hand held sprayer and a fiberglass pole extension, which of course doesn’t work with my pole pruner.


I found a couple of orange caution cones in my chips one time. Since the crew was stopping by regularly I just set them off to the side and they picked them up the next time they came to drop a load.


So… seems more like mostly plastic trash and random items. I think I can live with that in exchange for yards of chips.

I was never successful with chipdrop. I got two loads of my neighbor’s trees when I saw he was having work done, stopped by when I saw the truck was packing up. Tree company driver was really happy and told me to call the office if I needed more. Most tree services here drop at the landfill for free, or down the street at a commercial drop site.


My thoughts as well.