Wood shavings on garden. OK?

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by wazungy, May 11, 2008.

  1. wazungy

    wazungy Active Member 10 Years

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    I recently used a stump grinder to remove rhe remains of an old Plum tree.

    My brother (who is not a gardener) used a few shovels of the fresh wood debris (pulped, mashed, shredded chips) on part of the garden where we are growing some flowers and roses.

    It was my intenetion NOT to put this stuff on the garden, but rather let it break down in the compost heap first. But then I thought it might help with the sun and prevent moisture loss.

    Anyhow, I did a search and found a link which says putting wood chips on the garden robs the soil of nitrogen as this is used by the process of breaking down the wood chips.

    http://www.icangarden.com/document.cfm?task=viewdetail&itemid=5768

    Other sites seem to indicate wood chips (how big or how fine??) are ideal as topsoil cover.

    Who is right??


    Wazungy
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I use actual wood shavings by the ton (free) have done for years all sorts from walnut to eucalypt, cedar, mahogany (sp) and have had no problems. BUT I have a good soil that has been well fed. I would put some manure / bone meal or similar down first then spread it. Or do as you intended and mix it with other compost material. I also use mine as litter in with chicken and geese and the results are pure gold.

    Liz
     
  3. Gardenlover

    Gardenlover Active Member

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    wood shavings are good?
    where do you get them local lumber yard?
     
  4. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I took over from my dad who used to pick up for about 25 years from a fine furniture place. I just realised I have been doing it for about 13 years. I must have hundreds of trees on my property as well as properties of several close neighbours:). I only get the raw wood after they have prepared planks. No artifical stuff they separate that and it goes to a different hopper. I have also used the shavings to cover deceased stock that I can not easily bury. It is amazingly efficient in particular Mahogony. Years ago we also got some sawdust from a timber mill. They were glad to get rid of it but maybe these days they sell it???

    Liz
     
  5. wazungy

    wazungy Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks for the replies.

    So, you have been picking up wood shavings from a furniture place for several years. From the first post it seems you (Liz) have been using it on the garden provided you have a bone meal or manure base mixed in. Would NOT adding these additives give a poor soil?

    Does anyone know if I used this stuff (wood pulp/flakes) ontop of some regular garden soil WITHOUT any special additives such as bone meal or manure, would it eventually cause a loss of soil nitrogen as described in the link I provided below?

    http://www.icangarden.com/document.c...il&itemid=5768

    Regards,

    Wazungy
     
  6. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    A healthy compost is a nice mix of carbon and nitrogen. Green grass clippings + brown leaves, or coffee grounds + sawdust.

    Bone meal and manure (especially chicken manure) are both very high in nitrogen. Wood is carbon based.

    Liz is mixing the two, and essentially composting right on top of her soil. Adding the wood pulp/flakes without suplimenting the nitrogen may cause issues. Personally, I would compost them with some kitchen scraps. Alternatively, see if you can get some manure and mix them up and add them (a petting zoo, or a stables).
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Yes you are right I guess I am composting directly. Initially the reasoning was mulching given our dry conditions but I do know that the nitrogen was going to be a problem. Leaves turn yellow and hungry on the smaller plants. If you use the fertilizers it also encourages the worms and other soil dwellers to help break it down. The shavings that are in with my goats and geese and in the past donkeys, horses and alpaca produce a wonder full mixture when allowed to compost down and then mixed with soil/riversand makes excellent potting mixture. I think if you are using wood chips for mulching it is also a good idea to put a bit of bone meal or whatever near the plants base before applying the mulch. I probably should add this works well for me because my climate is not too freezing in winter and the process works all year.

    Liz
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  9. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    Not only are you composting directly, but you are mixing in animal manure, which is very very good at helping the material break down - it's high in nitrogen, and full of the bacteria that aids in decomposition.

    Unfort, here in Vancouver, we can't keep donkeys, horses, alpacas, etc. We can keep chickens if the circumstances are right, but that's another topic.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    David thats' why if you can't get the real animal doings there is always bone meal (blood and bone) or prepacked cow do0. Works the same. I did not always have all the animals on tap so to speak. :)
    Liz
     
  11. wazungy

    wazungy Active Member 10 Years

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    Super!
    Thanks for that PDF myth/fact file on wood mulches.
    I feel much better now!

    Wazungy
     

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