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Author Topic: What to do first with fresh wood chips  (Read 909 times)
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bamadoug
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« on: August 08, 2013, 12:08:20 PM »

Got several loads of fresh cut wood chips from tree cutting service. Wood like to use as mulch in the garden, where appropriate.
At this time of the year, what would yall recommend to with it, to prepare for use next year?

Doug
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Southeast Alabama (Daleville), Zone 8A
MF 240,Ford Disk, Countyline Cultivator, Keulavator w/hillers attached, Countyline Middlebuster, Earthway Planter, Howse Rotary Cutter, Howse bottom plow, BushHog Box Blade, Howse Landscape Rake, 3 pt CarryAll with 50 gal water tank, 3 pt slip scoop
quiverful
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 03:53:34 PM »

From experience, let it sit a year.  I put some down this year and I have fought grass and weeds like crazy.  And I put it thick.  Lesson learned. 
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PD-Riverman
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 04:17:07 AM »

Normanally, trees do not have any grass seed. I have used it fresh as a mulch for many years. My usual way of of putting it down is to use several layers thick of news paper, then put the chips on it. That helps control weeds. I would not mix it in the soil fresh, because it would use some of the nitrogen in the soil to decompose it.
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1 to 2 acres of garden(average), 1957 Ford 600 Work Master tractor, 2006 535 Farm Trac Tractor FEL--with pallet fork & scoop, P Machine/Garden Helper, New Idea 1 row corn picker, 5ft CountryLine Tiller, bottom plow, 18 blade disc, bush & bog disc, 3 cultivators, CountryLine sub soiler, box blade, scrape blade and 9ft yard leveling blade, middle buster, 3 pt scoop, 3 pt post hole digger, tobacco drag setter, 2--1 row cole planters, 18" Jonsered garden tiller, 20" Troy-Bilt Horse tiller, gas 1 wheel "mule" plow, Hoss Wheel Hoe, several EarthWay planters, EarthWay fertilizer distributor, 6 chicken "tractors", 32ft portable "meals-on-wheels" rabbitery.
bamadoug
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 03:31:09 PM »

One idea I have is to lay out unused rows with hiller like I normally do, cover row with newspaper and about 6 inches of wood chips and let sit until spring.  Remaining chips would be left over the winter in the pile. That would give both about 8-9 months to start decomposing before spring garden season.

What do you think?

Doug
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Southeast Alabama (Daleville), Zone 8A
MF 240,Ford Disk, Countyline Cultivator, Keulavator w/hillers attached, Countyline Middlebuster, Earthway Planter, Howse Rotary Cutter, Howse bottom plow, BushHog Box Blade, Howse Landscape Rake, 3 pt CarryAll with 50 gal water tank, 3 pt slip scoop
ccat
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 03:36:06 PM »

bama, congrats on getting that mulch.
I got a humonguous free load of mulch and more from a tree cutting service too.
A gas line was being run past our land and I asked the men what they were going to do with the mulch.    "We have to unload somewhere before we get the truck back...." they said.
I said I will take it.    It was probably 10 yards, plus I had just taken down 2 big apple trees and they agreed to shred them up too for me......So, I have a huge pile of cedar and scrub oak, and that big pile of apple.
I won't put it on my garden, but my wife has been throwing that stuff around the new flower beds like crazy.   No weeds yet.
The only advice I can give is lay down newspaper like another post said and go from there.
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tuttimato
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2013, 06:54:56 AM »

I got 4 loads from the tree trimmers several years ago and I'm really hoping they'll be back soon.  I had them pile it as high as they could and my mountain of "gold" is practically gone.  I agree with the newspaper and mulch program for shrubbery and such but I used most of it as a soil conditioner.  If you just leave it in a pile it will turn into the most beautiful compost you can imagine.
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bamadoug
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2013, 02:33:23 PM »

Tuttimato, do you think 8-9 months would be ok to start using in the garden without newspaper?

Doug
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Southeast Alabama (Daleville), Zone 8A
MF 240,Ford Disk, Countyline Cultivator, Keulavator w/hillers attached, Countyline Middlebuster, Earthway Planter, Howse Rotary Cutter, Howse bottom plow, BushHog Box Blade, Howse Landscape Rake, 3 pt CarryAll with 50 gal water tank, 3 pt slip scoop
tuttimato
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2013, 04:24:13 PM »

Doug the newspaper helps black out the weed seeds so they can't germinate.  The mulch also helps with that and holds the paper in place.  Without the paper, some of the weeds will come on up through it.  The paper is best using 5 or 6 sheets so it holds up awhile.  Cardboard works too.  Both are very ugly if left uncovered and mulch is attractive.  Some people just rake it back in the spring to plant and then rake it back around the plants when they get a little size to them.  Usually they add some more at that time to compensate for what already decomposed. 

I didn't use mine as mulch.  When I started using it, it had started breaking down good but still had recognizable pieces of wood, sticks and leaves that I worked into the soil.  If I can get some more, I'm not going to worry about how aged it is and if I need to add some extra fertilizer it's no problem.  Any organic matter improves any kind of soil.
We have a high level of year round soil microbial activity in the deep south and everything composts fast if there's enough moisture.
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bamadoug
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2013, 06:05:48 PM »

Thanks Tuttimato. Glad to get advice from an experienced gardener.

Doug
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Southeast Alabama (Daleville), Zone 8A
MF 240,Ford Disk, Countyline Cultivator, Keulavator w/hillers attached, Countyline Middlebuster, Earthway Planter, Howse Rotary Cutter, Howse bottom plow, BushHog Box Blade, Howse Landscape Rake, 3 pt CarryAll with 50 gal water tank, 3 pt slip scoop
LSU2001
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 06:47:10 PM »

Watch this video and then make up your mind about the chips.
Tim
http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/index.html#movie
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bamadoug
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 07:22:41 AM »

LSU2001, I have watched that video more than once. That's what started me to thinking about using the chips. Not a quick fix by any means but makes a lot of sense to me. I put some "fresh" pine chips as mulch around plants in one small row in late May. That's my only experience so far. 

Thanks, Doug
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Southeast Alabama (Daleville), Zone 8A
MF 240,Ford Disk, Countyline Cultivator, Keulavator w/hillers attached, Countyline Middlebuster, Earthway Planter, Howse Rotary Cutter, Howse bottom plow, BushHog Box Blade, Howse Landscape Rake, 3 pt CarryAll with 50 gal water tank, 3 pt slip scoop
pepperman
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 08:19:15 AM »

  Dump them and let them age for 1 year.  Adding them to a garden now will deplete your nitrogen.
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beehappyfarm
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 08:29:39 AM »

LSU, thanks for sharing the video link. I had not seen that before. Very cool! The power line crew was cutting in our area this summer and I asked them if they needed a place to dump their chips, long story short, I have a mountain of chips on my place now. I will be making great use of them. This video confirmed what I believed to be true. I can't wait to get them on the garden!
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PawPaw gene
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 10:49:54 AM »

Pepperman that is true if you incorporate them into the soil. If you just lay them on top as a mulch very little nitrogen will be lost and only at the surface. They will break down slowly over the years improving the soil beneath.
"gene"
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