How To Make The Most Of Tree Stump Chips After Grinding

If you've hired a stump grinder to eliminate residual tree stumps on your property, you may find yourself with a large amount of wood chips to dispose of. Although some stump removal companies will take the wood chips with them when they leave, others may leave it to you to dispose of them. In fact, you may even decide that you want the company to leave them. After all, you don't have to actually dispose of them. You can use the wood chips created during the process as a natural mulch for the rest of your landscape. Here's what you should know about using tree stump chips for mulch.

Can You Use The Chips From Any Stump?

In most cases, you can use the wood chips from any stump as mulch in your yard. There are some instances where you'll want to be a little cautious about it. For example, if the tree stump had been infested with termites or other pests, you may not want to use the chips, because you don't want to spread the infestation. If the stump was treated with pesticides to get rid of them, you don't want to use pesticide-treated mulch on your plants.

Additionally, stumps from trees that were removed due to disease may not be ideal for wood chips. There's always a risk of spreading disease through the soil as the wood chips break down. In the interest of keeping diseases at bay, you'll want to just have those chips collected and disposed of.

How Do You Use The Wood Chips for Mulch?

If you want to use the chips for mulch, talk with the tree stump removal company about it ahead of time. This is important, because they'll need to stop grinding before they hit soil so that you can gather up just the wood chips without worry of getting any soil mixed up in it. Use a rake to gather all of the chips, then a flat shovel to scoop it all into a wooden container or even a wheelbarrow. Make sure you even get the sawdust, because it will help hold the moisture in the wood chips when you spread them on the ground.

Sort through each scoop as you put the chips in the container. Take out any grass clippings, rocks or other debris. Pine needles, leaves and similar items are okay to leave, though, because they will decompose like the wood chips will. Spread a thin layer of compost on the ground beneath each plant that you're going to add wood chips to. Then, add several inches of wood chips, spread evenly over the compost. Try not to crowd the plant stems, though. Leave an open circle about an inch or so out from the stem of the plant so that you don't suffocate it with the wood chips.

If the plants start to seem as though they're lacking nutrients, including showing signs like slow growth, browning or withering, add a bit of balanced fertilizer. Grab some soil and compost to have tested if you're not sure about the balance, because the fertilizer you add needs to be properly formulated for the nutrient needs and pH balance. Just remember that, despite many misconceptions, pine chips and pine tree mulch aren't to blame for creating acidic soil.

Replace the wood chip mulch periodically as it breaks down so that you always have a full layer of mulch to hold the moisture into the soil for your landscaping. For more tips about how to use the mulch or other ways to dispose of the wood chips, talk to a tree service that offers stump removal in your area. 

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