What can I do with chipper by products?

I have a chipper and I’ve been feeding it a bunch of trees from saplings up through 3" diameter trees. Most of the trees are poplar, maple, oak, and dogwood. I have about 30 gallons of saw dust similar to what’s left behind from a chainsaw and I have about 20 gallons of shredded mulch from chipping the ends of limbs with leaves on.

I typically use pine bark mulch under my trees and hesitate using any woody products due to their ability to rob nitrogen from the soil.

What should I do with this stuff?

I think the robbing nitrogen thing has been proven to be false unless you incorporate the wood into the soil profile. I use wood chips from local tree crews to mulch with and have never seen a negative affect from it. Sawdust wont make good mulch as it tends to crust over, but you could work it into a compost pile.


pack it in a larger than a “bread box” box and send it to me, seriously use it everywhere, with sawdust just make sure it doesn’t mat down


Good to know. I always wondered how true that was about nitrogen robbing. As mentioned I’ve been buying bark mulch but maybe I’ll throw it into the compost bin with all of the mounds of leaf mould I collected last year.

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I’m going to reach back 30 years in my mind and try to remember what they taught us about composting, and I think it was a bunch of fine woody material (cellulose), green material such as grass clippings (nitrogen) and dirt (soil bacteria). Alternate layers and stir often to ensure plenty of oxygen. I thought the woody stuff needed to be provided with a goodly amount of soil bacteria and the soil bacteria needed nitrogen to do its stuff, but I might be mixing it up … at any rate, try to keep things balanced.


I’d agree with the other posters, those hardwood chips are a great resource. You can use them as mulch around trees directly, and make a very good potting soil with them too (look online several videos, but basically mix with manure or other N source and let decompose a year or two, with occasional turning).

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If they are oak, maple, or beech you can cook them in the oven for a couple of hours to sterilize it then get mushroom bags and use it to grow mushrooms in.

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I have 1,000 pounds of chips, a little more than a cubic yard, composting. Sawdust is a challenge because of its tendency to mat down, but if you keep it damp, oxygenated and Nitrogenated mostly, mixed with rougher stuff, it moves right along.

I use urea and ammonium sulfate to do the dirty work. I live in the’burbs and can’t have piles of manure everywhere.

I recently bought a chipper/shredder,local,from a private owner.It’s a Craftsman 1450 series,with about a 9hp motor.It works fairly well.I’m not sure how much use it had or if the blades were ever sharpened.
There was a pile of brush and branches,getting higher and it was going to cost about the same to rent a bigger,pull behind model.My place is also too small for a load of free wood chips from a tree service. Brady

This jammed it,so it probably can’t quite do 3 inch limbs

I’m going to be spreading this stuff around

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Drop them off at my house on the way down to Gulf Shores beach. I don’t know what to do with them but I would like to have the problem.

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Brady, mine is just like that only it’s green. They chip green wood and branches really well but old dried wood is somewhat dangerous. Wear safety glasses, especially when chipping old dried wood. The blades aren’t that hard to sharpen and make a tremendous difference.

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Mulch with it.

Better still, buy stropharia mushroom spawn, mix into your chips, THEN mulch with it and enjoy mushrooms as well as fruit trees

Create a Wine Cap Mushroom bed.

Buy the block and use it as starter for the bed. plant pieces under the chips and soak it well a few times. You can use the same area for Corn which provides nice shade during the fruiting period.


I finally decided to sharpen the blades on my chipper/shredder.After watching a number of YouTube videos and reading the owner’s manual,it didn’t look too difficult,like speedster1 wrote.
It’s at the apart stage,presently.Most likely,the guy before me,didn’t sharpen them.Branches were vibrating and not self feeding too well.
An angle grinder was purchased for the job,a few years ago,along with a 24 grit wheel.But that seems excessive,because a number of sources suggest about 100.
Here’s a few pictures of the blades.One was hand sanded on a cheap 4 sided block with encrusted diamonds,for about 20-30 minutes,using the coarsest,200 grit.It’s definitely sharper but not good enough.If an appropriate wheel can’t be found,I let a shop do it.The shredder blade needs some work too.

Bark is a nasty mulch, it contains tannins to protect the tree from fungal infections and in the soil it disturbs the ecology you want to promote. On the other hand 75% of a tree mineral uptake ends up in the sub 2" branches and leaves, as they decomposte those minerals are deposited in the soil.

I compost my urea, if anything my compost pile has too much nitrogen. Every spring I mix what’s left of last year mulch (usually not much) with two inches of compost, top it off later with 5 inches of that green mulch. By the end of the season I have to top off the mulch again because half of it has been broken down. Judging by the greenery the plants are not lacking nitrogen.