Woodchips can been used for many purposes, and are one of the most cost effective ways of mulching or creating walk ways in your gardens.
Woodchips are produced when branches, leaves and heartwood are placed through a woodchipper, which shreds the product into smaller more manageable pieces. This gives you the choice of size you want for what ever project you may need them for.
WHAT TYPE OF WOODCHIPS CAN YOU USE?
Most woods are safe to use for woodchips, pine and saligna being the most commonly used in South Africa. However there are woods that should be used with caution or avoided, such as Black Walnut, Tree of Heaven and Eucalyptus. Reason being that these trees leach off allelochemicals (chemicals produced by living organism that are detrimental to other plants) and can harm or severally affect your plant. Maple should be used with caution as it has allelopathic tendencies, however it is safe to use in vegetable gardens.
BENEFITS OF WOODCHIPS
- keeps the soil moist
- provides slow-release of nutrients
- keeps beneficial insects protected and pestiferous insects at bay
- regulates the soil temperature by insulating it
- stops soil erosion
- easy to create no-dig gardens
- aesthetically pleasing
Using woodchips for mulching in your garden has many benefits, such as the benefits listed above. When mulching, the woodchips should not be dug into the soil, but rather used on top as a layer. Beneficial insects are decomposers and will feed off of the mulch, where it will be broken down into healthy soil for your plants. It is always best to place the mulching around established trees and plants, as seedlings will struggle to grow.
PATHWAYS & WALKWAYS
Using woodchips for filling paths and walkways will create an aesthetically pleasing look to the garden, as well as slow down weed growth and is a lot more affordable, as it is widely available. It is recommended to lay a geotextile fabric on your pathway before laying the woodchips to ensure they stay in place and helps with weed suppression.
As the name would suggest, pine bark comes from pine trees and is a longer lasting organic mulch, which decomposes a lot slower than other mulches.
Pine Bark has a very attractive look to it and keeps it’s colour longer, where other mulches start to lose colour and turn grey.
This mulch is also enjoyed by acid-loving plants and adds aluminum to the soil which promotes leafy green development.
The only drawbacks with pine bark is that because of its lightweight properties, it can easily be shifted by winds, is not suitable for slopes and can float away in water logged areas.
Wood shavings and sawdust are not the best for mulching as it will withhold nitrogen in the soil, making it inaccessible to plants. This makes it a better choice for pathways, however if you do want to use it for mulching, it is recommended using the wood shavings for established trees and shrubs, that can tolerate short term nitrogen deficiency. We would suggest keeping an eye on these plants for any yellowing caused by nitrogen deficiency.