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What To Do With Wood Chips From Chipper? Check These 12 Uses

Wood chips are multifunctional and have many uses. Here are the best uses for wood chips from a chipper:

  1. Mulch for landscaping
  2. Composting 
  3. Covering up mud
  4. Grilling and smoking foods
  5. Creating pathways
  6. Animal bedding
  7. Playground cushioning
  8. Starting a fire
  9. Erosion control
  10. Building raised beds
  11. Growing mushrooms

Don’t know what to do with wood chips from chipper? Are you thinking of throwing them away?

Before you do that, you should read my 12 best uses for wood chips

We are quick to throw away things without ever trying to find an alternative use for them. Wood chips may look useless, but in reality, they are every gardener’s gold

Want to find out how to make them your gold too? Keep on reading! You will find all the best uses for wood chips listed and explained below.

The 12 Best Uses For Wood Chips From A Chipper

Use Wood Chips As Mulch

Wood Chips

One of the best and easiest ways to use wood chips is to use them as mulch in your garden and around landscaping.

Benefits Of Using Wood Chips As Mulch 

Wood chips bring many benefits to the soil. They help regulate the temperature by keeping it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. 

Wood chips absorb water and help the soil retain moisture, even in summer. By using wood chips as mulch, you won’t have to water your precious plants as often, and you will lower your water bill.

Last but not least, wood chips naturally decompose and, in the process, improve the nutrient content and texture of the soil

To obtain all these benefits, lay a 3-inch layer of wood chips around your shrubs and on your flower bed. Only stay clear of the base of the plants to allow the stems to grow and breathe. 

Things To Look Out For When Using Wood Chips As Mulch 

Just be wary that wood chips may cause nitrogen deficiency in plants with shallow roots, like seedlings and annual plants. I recommend you lay a layer of fall leaves on the soil before mulching. Leaves will protect the roots, and provide essential nitrogen to the plants in need. 

I also don’t recommend you use wood chips on disease-prone plants, like tomatoes and roses. Those easily get diseased by fungal spores that tend to live in wood. 

You shouldn’t worry much about wood chip mulch attracting bugs either. Mulch provides a home for many beneficial creepy crawlers, like earthworms, ladybugs, and spiders.

But what about termites? Mulch won’t attract termites but it can provide a home for them if you already have them. This becomes a problem only if you have mulch right up against your house. You can try eradicating them with a termite killer if you notice them. 

Want to know how to get rid of termites in mulch? Click here for more on the topic.

Watch this video to discover more reasons to use wood chips as much:

Turn Wood Chips Into Rich Compost

Compost Pit

Taking away from nature and never giving anything in return is a bad trade. Turning wood chips into rich compost is an amazing and clever way to give back

How To Compost Wood Chips 

Turning wood chips into compost takes time and patience. Wood is a tougher material that takes longer to decompose than food scraps, grass clippings, and leaves. 

Adding wood chips to your composting bin or pile will temporarily slow down the decomposition of the whole compost. That is why it is important you make your wood chips as fine as possible to speed things up. 

Feed your compost pile in increments if you have lots of wood chips on your hands. Also, make sure you are adding enough nitrogen-rich scraps to the compost, as well. This way you won’t throw the composting process out of balance. 

The wait is worth it! Wood chips will add lots of carbon to your compost and make your soil ready to bear fruits and veggies season after season. 

Lay Walkways And Pathways

Thinking of running paver stone walkways through your yard? Try repurposing wood chips instead!  

How To Create A Wood Chip Walkway

Wood chips walkway

Creating a wood chip walkway is not difficult at all. Simply lay 5 to 6 inches of wood chips between raised planter beds, stones, or another path border you have created. This way, your wood chips won’t spill over onto your grass. 

That’s it! You’re done! What an amazing organic and eco-friendly idea!

Of course, you will have to top off your pathways each year with fresh chips, as the old ones start to decompose. But that shouldn’t be a problem since every spring and fall, wood chippers are in full work mode. 

Not sure if your old chipper will make it through this season? Find a new one with my best chipper shredder reviews.

You can run wood chip walkways between your garden beds to keep your boots mud-free or connect different landscaping areas to make them look artistic. The choice is yours! Get some more inspiration for your front walkway right here

Best of all, wood chips will keep weeds from growing – you only have to lay them thick enough. Even paver stones can fall victim to weed overgrowth!

Solution For Soil Erosion

Dry soil with cracks

Wood chips are a great temporary solution for soil erosion. Use them to create a barrier in areas where your lawn is eroding from heavy rain and wind

Build up low areas of the ground by tilling wood chips into the soil. The wood chips will soak up water and hold the ground in place. 

Of course, this is not a permanent solution to soil erosion. Wood chips will decompose with time and lose their hold. When you develop a better solution, collect the used wood chips and add them to your compost bin as a carbon-rich “brown.”

Use Wood Chips To Cover Up Mud

Have lots of unsightly mud on your lawn? Instead of trying to sow Bermuda grass on the affected areas for the tenth time, you can try concealing it with a thick layer of wood chips

Problem solved! 

Wood chips are free and multifunctional. They biodegrade slowly, so you will be mud-free for several years to come.

Wood chips add another natural element to your backyard and make it look dynamic. You can get creative and design pretty shapes on your lawn using wood chips of different types and colors. Decorate the area with herbs and potted plants, and you’ve got yourself a pretty botanical centerpiece

Click here to get more ideas

And take a look here to check out some other clever ways to cover up mud in your backyard.

Build Up Raised Beds 

Raised beds in a lawn

Wood chips are excellent natural material for building “lasagna” raised beds. They can be used as a nutrient-rich filler for your raised beds. 

Lasagna beds are simply made from layered brown and green materials to create on-site composting. Wood chips act as a “brown” layer, rich in carbon, while “nitrogen-rich green materials” include grass clippings, food scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and animal manure. 

Use Wood Chips For Smoking & Grilling

Grilling with charcoal and wood chips

If you like cooking outdoors, you will love this idea! 

You can use different types of wood chips for grilling and smoking food. Different types of wood chips add different smoky flavors to your meats. Here are some classic options you can experiment with:

  • Applewood wood chips add a sweet and mild flavor to poultry.
  • Hickory wood chips add a traditional smokey flavor to all types of food.
  • Mesquite wood chips add bold and intense flavor to beef. 
  • Cherrywood wood chips add sweet and rich flavor to turkey.
  • Oakwood wood chips are a classic choice that goes with everything. 

If you have never tried smoking food before, you can start with a beginner-friendly steel charcoal smoker. You will love it! 

Use For Animal Bedding

Animal shed with wood chips for bedding

Is the straw too expensive in your area? No worries! You can use wood chips as animal bedding

Wood chips are a cheap alternative to straw. They can be used as bedding for cattle, horses, and other livestock.

Wood chips are hygienic and produce very little dust, if any, allowing your livestock to stay clean and healthy

This type of natural bedding is best when the moisture content of the wood chips is kept at around 20 percent. Keeping track of moisture is easy with special tools and it will help you stay on top of your game. 

Before you use wood chips for bedding for the first time, consult with a veterinarian or other expert in the field

Lay Wood Chips In Your Chicken Run

A flock of chickens in a coop

Are you running low on materials to lay in your chicken run? Have you tried using wood chips?

Wood chips make for an excellent padding material. But you can’t use just any type!

You should only use hardwood chips for a chicken run. Bark, pine, and other softwoods are not safe for your flock, as some of these types of materials can attract harmful mold or cause bumblefoot

By using safe hardwood, you can quickly solve the mud problem in your chicken run. Lay the material 2 inches thick. You will make the area look more presenting and give chickens something to peck and dig through.

Rake up old wood chips and replace them with new ones when the flooring requires refreshment. But don’t throw it away! Add it to your composting pile, as it is rich in chicken manure. 

Use Wood Chips For Fire

A camp fire

Do you know you can use dry wood chips as fuel for your small camping stove?

Wood chips may not work well in traditional wood-burning stoves, but they sure can put up a flame in any small oven that works on sticks and twigs.

You can also use wood chips for your gazebo with a fire pit inside. Just make sure you are following all the safety precautions you can read about right here.

Roasting marshmallows deep into the night has never been easier!

Use Wood Chips As Playground Cushioning

Playground with wood chips for cushioning

Have a small playground in your backyard for your kids? You can make their little corner safer by cushioning the ground with wood chips

Wood chips can be used as padding material below jungle gyms and swing sets. Wood chips level the uneven ground and create a softer surface to fall on. We all know how painful it is to fall on concrete and pavers. 

Most importantly, wood chips will keep your yard from becoming a muddy mess from all the busy little feet running around. 

Use Wood Chips To Grow Mushrooms

Mushroom growing on wood chips

Have you ever thought about growing mushrooms? You can! Use wood chips to grow mushrooms at home.

Wood chips are one of the natural substrates that mushrooms love to grow on.

Some species love to grow on logs, others on sawdust, and some even on coffee grounds. 

Of course, there are also those who prefer wood chips over anything else, like wine cap mushrooms also known as garden giants.

How To Build A Mushroom Garden 

  1. To get you started, you will first need to buy a wine cap mushroom spawn
  1. Soak your wood chips in a barrel of water for a week. Hardwood chips work the best. Avoid using conifer, pine, and other softwoods unless they are well-aged or only make a small portion of the total mushroom bed. 
  1. After that is done, you can dig a 4-inch deep hole in the ground in a shady spot, preferably under the base of a tree. 
  1. Place cardboard in the bottom of the hole and lay wood chips on top
  1. Break up the spawn and sprinkle it all over the wood chips. Now cover it with another layer of shred. 
  1. All that is left to do is water your little mushroom garden occasionally during dry weather, and wait for the mushrooms to start growing. 

Check out this video for more details on how to grow and harvest mushrooms:


Are Wood Chips Good For The Garden?

Wood chips are good for the garden. They are a building material for raised garden beds and they prevent soil erosion and suppress weed growth. They are, however, coarse and should not be used around seedlings and plants with shallow roots systems.

What Wood Chips Are Bad For Garden?

Wood chips that are generally bad for the garden are black walnut, tree of heaven, and eucalyptus. These trees leach chemicals that can suppress seed germination or kill seedlings when it comes to some vegetables.

Is It OK To Use Fresh Wood Chips As Mulch?

It is not OK to use fresh wood chips as mulch according to some agricultural experts. A thick layer of fresh mulch laid directly on the ground can cause a loss of nitrogen in the soil. Let the fresh wood chips season for at least 3 months before using them as mulch in your garden.

Do Wood Chips Turn To Dirt?

Wood chips turn into dirt through the process of decomposition. You can add wood chips to your nitrogen-rich compost pile and watch them slowly biodegrade into substrate over the course of four or more years.

Do Wood Chips Kill Grass?

Wood chips kill grass only if they are laid on quite thick. By laying 12 inches of wood chips on a mowed lawn, you can completely kill it off to start a garden, but light layers of mulch won’t damage your grass.

Make Wood Chips Your New-Found Gold

Now you know exactly what to do with wood chips from chipper using my 12 ideas. Wood chips are often someone’s trash, but you can make it your treasure with a little bit of creativity. 

Together, we have seen that wood chips have many uses. They can be used as mulch, added to your new compost bin, or make you the next best meat smoker in town. 

These are just some of the uses I have found. Do you have any in mind? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to ask any questions

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About The Author

Brett Jones

Brett is a private yet hardworking office assistant, who resides in Raleigh with his wife Nadya. He has a passion for backyard projects and spends much of his free time working on landscaping, gardening, and building outdoor furniture. Though he shies away from being in the spotlight, he plays an important role in Nadya's blog by providing her with "raw" content. Brett's knowledge and creativity of backyard design and DIY projects give Nadya material to come up with unique and interesting posts for her blog. On occasion, Brett also contributes to the site showing his tech expertise, particularly when talking about snowblowers and other tools. Follow him on Twitter.

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