Wood chip garden mulch comparison


I’d love a chipper like that, but it’s electric, and I’m 200 feet away from the nearest outlet where my garden is.

Gas costs over twice as much…


You do present compelling evidence. Based on my readings and observations, though, I’d like to see your comparison repeated one or more times. How about doing it again next year, reversing which bed gets wood chips, and this time with the same plants and configuration of plants in both beds. (That’s assuming that this year’s chips aren’t broken down or have a carryover effect.)


Yeah, they’ll usually lay down annual rye as a quick cover to prevent erosion, with a mix of perrenial grasses in there to pick up the slack in the long run.


I agree. Repeating it would be informative. I am by no means arguing that it is definitive. It’s just one directly observed data point that I thought might be helpful to share.

If I do it again, I will chip my own wood, to make sure there’s no contaminants.

Also, perhaps my planting style isn’t compatible. Perhaps quart sized or larger transplants would do better.


I did a non scientific test last year for tomatoes. Family insisted wood chip mulch steals nitrogen and grass clippings were better. In the same raised bed I did half wood chips and half grass mulch. Looked the same all year. Only difference is the grass is gone a lot sooner. I use whatever I have. My thinking is almost any mulch is better than bare earth (unless you are in a hurry for the soil to warm up in the spring).


In construction I have spread out lots of hey. It is often used in dirt work for dust and erosion control. In my area the hey always has plenty of tops with seeds in them. As I scatter out the hey I see plenty of plump wheat seeds on the ground and they do sprout if the rodents don’t eat them first. The wheat plants never seem to come back the next year. I think the rodents descover were they are growing and eat all of the seeds. To bad wheat is not a perennial. It would be nice to see it around more.


So i removed a large black walnut limb…chipped all the hardwood branches that i could (about a wheelbarrow full) and saved the big chunks for burning…all the green leaves i’ll just compost… Any worries about using these woodchips? Maybe just use them for walking paths?


That’s the tree they say to not use as mulch around plants. Even the leaves shouldn’t be used as it all contains the chemicals that hurt other plants. If you using it for a path, keep it away from plants you like.


I have used walnut mulch for years with no trouble.


Yeah im not using it in any soil mix, but did throw all of it down on walking paths. I have several black walnuts that i need to prune so i’ll have more to chip up in the future.


Another anecdotal result. I let one volunteer dill plant come up in the wood chip part of the garden. The base is about an inch wide. Never seen dill that big.


I have an 8x4x3 foot deep raised bed for the past 6 years. Its by far the best soil in my yard and I mulched it from day 1. All my plants and trees in that bed are always the healthiest and biggest plants in my yard. It has a meyer lemon, a variegated eureka, a mexicola avocado and a pinkerton avocado tree. It also has strawberries, pepper plants and basil growing in the bed. For example the basil is twice the size of every other basil plants I have is other area of my yard and the leaves are also twice as big. Also its the least watered area in my yard.


It depends on the plants. Many have sensitivity to juglone. Nightshades in particular do not like it.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juglone#:~:text=Juglone%20is%20an%20allelopathic%20compound,germination%20in%20some%20coniferous%20seeds.


Pawpaws don’t mind juglone either


There is very little juglone in the woodchips of walnut trees. I have planted all manner of plants in walnut mulch with no negative affect including tomatoes.


Well, if it works for you, it must be safe. I will stick to fir bark in my gardens. :stuck_out_tongue:


I just noticed this and have to reply, even though it’s much too late. Construction sites don’t use straw to my knowledge because straw runs at about twice the price of “mulch hay”

That said, I buy the cheapest bails I can find (not suitable to give to horses and often used on construction sites around here) and let it sit in the rain for a month or so. The seeds sprout and die and then the rotting hay makes fine mulch and hasn’t lost too much bulk, but seeds are no longer viable. either they are rotten or sprouted and died.