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Ron Tock

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When I took up woodturning in July last year, I was surprised to discover just how big a pile of wood chips are produced from a single log. It does become a bit of a problem after a while. Wood chips do make good mulch for the garden but they have to rot down for a few months before applying. Otherwise they deplete the soil of nitrogen as it takes a lot of nitrogen to break them down (adding urine helps this process... just sayin). They can also be added to compost but the same applies. If you have friends who keep pets such as rabbits and hamsters, great (but be aware that some woods are toxic and shouldn't be used)... but, unless your friend has a zoo, you'll be producing more wood chips than they can use. In short: none of the methods of utilising and consuming wood chips can keep up with the rate and volume at which I produce them. Does anyone have any ideas or are we all in the same boat?
 

clarkey2016

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If you just want rid, do you have any farms or nurseries near you that you could offload to?
 

Richard_C

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Our green bins will accept untreated wood chips, I put some in with the garden waste that doesn't go on the compost.

In winter I keep old paper bags, like flour bags and the ones you get some bread in. Stuff chips in real tight by hand and fist, twist top or use an inch of masking tape, use like a log in the stove. Not much good for starting a fire but OK once it's going.

Plus mulch occasionally and weed suppressant under a long established hedge.
 

AJB Temple

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I think realistically the only practical way is a compost area of suitable scale. We have probably 250 to 300 trees in our garden (largely around the outer edge) plus extensive hedges of hornbeam, beech and yew. Annoyingly we have inherited quite a few leylandii. I have a fairly big semi commercial chipper machine (which is a real pain to maintain - unless you can go large, don't bother) and we produce probably 4 cubic metres of wood chippings and conifer shredding a year, plus about 6 cubic metres of leaf shredding (highly recommend Billy Goat leaf collector/shredders).

It's a lot of stuff, and all weed plucking go into two council wheelie bins which we pay for and are emptied fortnightly. All food waste goes into hotbins. (DO NOT buy one. They work, but they are a con - get a wheelie bin and insulate it. Far better against rats). I need a bonfire area but the garden does not have many open spaces I want to turn into an eyesore.

I ended up making a post and rail pen about 6 metres by 3 metres, under some trees, and lining it with heavy duty wire. Pretty much everything from the trees goes in here. It takes three years to rot down to dark crumbly soil like stuff, though I have to add water. We also put quite a few fresh chippings on paths in the kitchen garden and a few other areas.

You just have to take a slightly longer term view. From one season to the next the volume in the compost area drops by around 80%, but it takes a further two years to be usable. Despite adding conifer clippings in volume, somehow the end result is near neutral.
 

Neil Lawton

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For years I've given mine away to people who have Chickens. They keep mud down in the runs and they bathe in any dust. They don't actually consume it before anyone says anything about toxic woods.
 

Neil Lawton

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They are also good for topping a full compost heap. Temperature goes up killing weed seeds and the red worms seem to love it.
 

Jimmy Thomson

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If you've got any allotments near you, I'm sure they'd take them off your hands (we can't get enough for ours). Also, bear in mind that there's no need to let them break down before applying as a mulch. It tends to be more of an issue if you're digging them in, and even then the nitrogen robbing effects are often overstated. I do love the Fungi farm idea in Dominik's post.
 

MusicMan

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I add them to the compost whenever I have substantial green stuff to go in (lawn clippings. straw, weeds etc. That takes care of the nitrogen issue. Ideal is a mix of about 50:50 green and woody stuff.
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
in our climate, anything u cut green turns to dust in no time.....
it's the woody bits that hang arround.....will make a mulcher in the near future....
would like to burn some in the wood boiler but most everything her has spikes not thorns....hahaha....
so to dif to handle.....shame cos it real hard wood and burns so hot....
mostley nothing bigger than 25mm dia.....
be glad to have some saw dust....oil spills and drops.....
 

lagori

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When I took up woodturning in July last year, I was surprised to discover just how big a pile of wood chips are produced from a single log. It does become a bit of a problem after a while. Wood chips do make good mulch for the garden but they have to rot down for a few months before applying. Otherwise they deplete the soil of nitrogen as it takes a lot of nitrogen to break them down (adding urine helps this process... just sayin). They can also be added to compost but the same applies. If you have friends who keep pets such as rabbits and hamsters, great (but be aware that some woods are toxic and shouldn't be used)... but, unless your friend has a zoo, you'll be producing more wood chips than they can use. In short: none of the methods of utilising and consuming wood chips can keep up with the rate and volume at which I produce them. Does anyone have any ideas or are we all in the same boat?
Hi Ron,

How much are you actually producing? Generally speaking, woodchips on top of the soil will not rob it of nitrogen as I understand it - that becomes a risk if you dig them in. I would 100% be getting it all down on the garden - mulching, veg garden, weed suppression - paths if you have them. Woodchips are extremely versatile, useful and using them should almost definitely mean increases in soil health and water retention in the short term and a significant boost to soil health in the longer term - so many benefits. I hear of people piling things like woodchips and leaves into green bins, only to later go and buy compost, weed suppressant or other such materials. Madness.
 

CaptainBudget

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(plane shavings rather than chippings for me, but the issues are the same)

I put them in plastic bags/bin liners, seal them and leave them in a box at the end of my drive with "free shavings for rabbits/hamsters/etc." and they usually go fairly quickly where I live.

I'm also using them as "filler" in a raised bed project (I'm filling that area of the "garden" with raised beds for veggies because there is no other practical use for it); having built the bed I've been steadily throwing garden waste and wood shavings in before filling the last half a foot with compost. It's working well so far, and I've saved a fortune in soil/compost!
 

AJB Temple

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Is your "garden" known to the rest of us as Kent? :LOL:
Nope. It's only a few acres. Used to be part of a farm. But it just happens to have a lot of trees planted (not be me - this must have been 30 years ago) round the edges. Leylandii must have been cheap at the time as they planted a double layer (plus willows and Scots pines etc) down two sides. These are now massive but ni one cares as they border a lake next door. We also have fruit trees. I have planted about 100 trees to create a garden out of a field. This includes a lot of Acer Palmatum of various kinds, lots of evergreen conifers of unusual types, and a substantial number of beech, hornbeam and yew to create hedges. My wife is a keen gardener....
 

Phil Pascoe

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In winter I keep old paper bags, like flour bags and the ones you get some bread in. Stuff chips in real tight by hand and fist, twist top or use an inch of masking tape, use like a log in the stove. Not much good for starting a fire but OK once it's going.
I do the same with the cardboard boxes cereals, frozen foods etc. come in - I hot melt them closed. Don't throw the stuff in loose, it can blow back in your face.
 
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