Wood Chip Mulch Pros and Cons

Pine wood chip mulch around shrubs in garden

Here we share our pros and cons of tile cladding, including what it is, where it should be used, and how it compares to regular wood bark tile for gardening and landscaping.

Gardening is really fun, rewarding and is an alternative outdoor activity that one can do from home. That said, there are many methods to fertilize a plant from manufactured foliar fertilizer (fertilizer applied directly to the leaves of a plant) to traditional application of bark chips.

One of the best types of bark chips for established shrubs and trees is wood chip bark chips.

What are tile cores?

Wood chip bark chips are essentially just chopped wood material taken from various sources such as tree trunks and fallen trees.

If you have cut off some excess branches from trees in your garden, you can also make them chips if you have the right equipment.

However, never use wood that comes from old furniture as it may have been treated with preservative chemicals and gardeners will not want that material mixed into their soil.

Cedermark is one of the most popular types of chipboard chips. Pine and other types of lumpy bark are also used. If you decide to use your own aging, it will help them for a year or two before using them, to become more beneficial to the soil.

Wood Chip Mulch Pros

Environmentally sustainable

One of the biggest benefits of using wood chip chips is how environmentally clean they are. They practically come from nature anyway. You can also pick them up from your neighbor if you happen to see them cutting the tree branches from their garden.

Gardeners who are lucky enough to be located in places where it is abundant do not need to use fuel on transportation. When it comes to sustainability, the source material is virtually infinite.

Environmentally friendly

Since wood bark tiles are practically plants, the material is organic and safe to use for your garden as long as it was not from used timber from furniture or homes.

Again, these may contain chemicals used for preservation. The fuel consumed only during the production of bark chips is the fuel used by the wood chipper. Other than that, the source is far cleaner than industrial fertilizer.

Slowly burning manure

Depending on the environment, it can take a long time to pull tile bark tiles all the way down. It also provides nutrients during this period and thus feeds the plant continuously for a long time. This decomposition process also increases organic matter to the soil.

May attract beneficial earthworms

The bark surface can attract insects, especially earthworms, to come and consume the material and live underneath. Earthworms play an important role in continuously crushing the soil.

Earthworm feces are in themselves a mild fertilizer, and their constant movement around the proximity of the plants allows air to circulate the roots.

Keep weeds away from the lawn and help maintain moisture

Wood chip bark tiles are heavy and an appropriate amount around the plant can help reduce the likelihood of weed growth. This is roughly equivalent to laying a plastic mat on the ground to prevent weed growth, only this time the cover also provides other benefits.

Wood chips also act as shades to prevent the sun from heating the soil and thus slowing down the evaporation rate.

Wood chips Disadvantages

Wood Chip Mulch is not for all plants

Vegetables are not the best recipient of wood chips bark chips due to nitrogen theft. In order for matter to decompose, nitrogen is required. Wood chips, when degraded, will consume some of that nitrogen, and plants that are sensitive to the absence of nitrogen may be adversely affected.

The best recipients of wood chip chips are plants that have deep enough soil. Alternatively, if you still insist on using wood bark chips, only apply them to the surface on top of bark chips made from leaves (preferably still green).

So you have your topsoil, leaf bark chips, so the bark surface at the top. Why green? Green leaves have lots of nitrogen. Let the mulch consume it instead of the one available in the soil.

Transportation problems for some

Depending on where you live, if you do not have enough trees or no trees at all, you will need to send the wood chips somewhere. It involves paying for fuel.

Improper use can cause problems

An incorrect application method can cause your plant to have diseases, especially among trees. Mold growth and rotting can occur, and in some cases suffocation of the roots.

The general rule for applying any fertilizer is on a ring shape around the plant as far away from the main stem as possible. This method can also be used for non-wood tile extraction.

Risk of importing diseases

The problem with sending chips from another location is the risk of also importing unwanted pests, molds and diseases. Get one of these bad boys in, then you’ve have a problem.

The solution to reduce the risk is to make sure you know where the bark chips come from. If possible, purchase from local sources. If that doesn’t help, wait. Do not apply the mulch immediately. Wait at least a year before applying.

Wood Mulch versus Wood Chips

Size difference – Chips tend to be larger than wood bark chips.

Different source material Wood chips come from tree trunks and recycled timber that has been treated. Woodland comes from tree bark and is smaller in size.

Divide over time – Due to the size of wood chips, they degrade more slowly than wood bark chips.

Chemistry – Chips with a different source tend to have a richer content of nutrients than bark chips. Some wood bark tiles have been stained for aesthetics. If you do not care about aesthetics, just avoid colored bark chips.

Wood chips for garden bark chips

Natural colored bark chips

An affordable range while still providing the benefits of wood bark chips.

Cedar Mulch

Cedar is one of the best choices and it comes with essential oils to prevent pests. It’s more expensive, but if you’re dealing with termites, this mulch is best. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of cedar land here.

Colored bark chips

If the aesthetics of your garden or landscape matters, this is what you need.

Bark Mulch

If water retention is a problem that needs to be solved, go for shredded bark chips, otherwise you may get the bigger chunks. Either way, bark bark chips are a popular choice for all the benefits of bark chips.

Pine Peels or Chips

Instead of burning and sending it to a landfill, this by-product is packaged by the pine milling process and sold in bulk for mulching purposes. Woodland is a suitable addition for gardeners working on a tight budget.

Wood chips mulch Q&A

Here are some of the most common questions asked about using wood chip chips in the garden or for landscaping around the home.

Are tile seeds good for your garden?

Yes, and it’s good for the environment too. Being able to recycle local sources of fertilizer prevents the soil from losing its nutrient content. In the case of infertile soil, tree bark can quickly enrich the soil in a few months or years.

Wood chips around trees

The reason why wood chips are distributed around the target plant is to ensure that the trunk does not rot by allowing proper aeration. By keeping the stem dry, it prevents it from growing mold or attracting insects that can damage it.

Wood Chip Pathway

You can use wood chip chips to create paths and walkways around the backyard or garden. Since bark chips are much cheaper than gravel or stone, it is a popular choice for trails.

Another advantage is that it is much easier to pull and easier to spread, making it less cumbersome to work with.

However, they tend to attract insects such as termites. for this reason they should not be used next to the house. See more walkway designs on a budget here.

Wood chips on playground

Wood chips are a good medium to use to reduce the effects of playground damage. There are materials like rubber, but this is a natural material that is easy to get from the local environment.

It is also natural, so the likelihood of ingesting or inhaling toxic fumes is unlikely. It also exceeds ADA, ASTM and CPSC playground surface standards.

Why use wood chip chips

Wood chips, whether in bark chips or tile form, are such wonderful materials. Whether it is gardening or use on playgrounds, they are almost free to use.

For larger applications such as agriculture, they are excellent for keeping the soil moist, reducing the need for frequent watering and lowering the demand for fresh water.

Given all the above benefits, they reduce the demand for many things like pesticides and fertilizers as they already work that way.

For any gardener or farmer who is reluctant to use industrial fertilizers, this is definitely your organic alternative.

For more related landscaping ideas, visit our Gravel Types page.