[NAFEX] wood chips

Lee Reich garden at leereich.com
Wed Nov 14 17:36:31 EST 2007


Lucky is 100% correct on all counts. Any organic material causes a  
slight lowering of pH, but only initially. You could never hope for a  
dramatic pH change from just adding wood chips.

Also, when wood chips are used as mulch, the decomposition is so  
slow, just at the interface of soil and mulch, that no temporary  
nitrogen tie-up occurs. Temporary nitrogen tie-up will occur only if  
the wood chips are mixed into the soil.


Lee Reich, PhD
http://leereich.com/

Books by Lee Reich:
The Pruning Book
Weedless Gardening
Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
A Northeast Gardener's Year


On Nov 14, 2007, at 1:26 PM, Lucky Pittman wrote:

> Jerry,
> For surface-applied mulch, I have no problem whatsoever applying  
> fresh wood chips.
> Acid, schmacid.  They're going on top of the ground to help hold  
> soil moisture and suppress weed growth - I'm willing to bet that if  
> you steeped the fresh chips in water and stuck in a pH probe, it  
> would be in the neutral range.
> I don't even buy into the old saw about fresh wood chips 'robbing'  
> nitrogen from the soil.  Yes, nitrogen availability is the rate- 
> limiting factor in decomposition of woody materials, but no one has  
> yet convinced me that surface applied mulch steals any significant  
> nitrogen from deep down in the soil, other than right at the mulch/ 
> soil interface.
>
> Lucky
>
>
> At 12:12 PM 11/14/2007, you wrote:
>> I recently had the good fortune of having a truck load of fresh  
>> wood chips dumped on my property (at my request!)  They are from  
>> Poplar Trees (tulip tree) from my neighbor's place who had several  
>> very large trees cut down.  The guy doing the cutting said they  
>> are no good for mulching until they compost several months because  
>> they are too acid.  I was planning on using them on a patch that  
>> needs new chips.  But does anyone know:
>> 1.  Is it true they are too acid for mulch when fresh?
>> 2.  Does age take that problem away?
>> 3.  Could I use them for my blueberries, as they seem to  
>> constantly need more acid soil?
>>
>> Jerry in southern Indiana
>>
>>
>>
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