[NAFEX] wood chips

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Wed Nov 14 13:26:07 EST 2007

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.


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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