12 Uses for Wood Chips From Your Garden Chipper Shredder

After using a chipper shredder, you end with a scattered bunch of wood chips so you need to figure out the best uses for wood chips from your chipper.

Most people see wood chippings as debris and toss them out, but a more thoughtful approach is to find practical uses for them within your backyard.

From a home decor item to a pile of free mulch, this article will outline 12 creative ways you can use your wood chips from your chipper.

Using Wood Chips in Your Backyard

Wherever you gather the wood chips, there is always a place to put them.

Homeowners trying to spruce up their house might take the chips to develop their ideal backyard.

If the purpose of the chipper was to sculpt trees and reshape them to the owner’s vision, then the wood chips should also be part of the landscaping process.

With the right mindset, these wood chips can do wonders for the visual appeal of your backyard. However, there are two things to keep in mind when using them.

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Not All Wood Chips Are Created Equal

You wouldn’t think much about it, but wood chips have their sense of identity. The source of the wood chips can generate a variety of looks for your backyard.

If you’re looking to use your wood chips as a mulch or any form of landscaping material it’s best to opt for a broadleaf tree variety, such as oak, beech, or lime. Pine larch or yew trees also make an excellent mulch.

If you are using material from old mature trees you may need to mature or age the mulch to allow the natural harmful compounds to break down. Some of these naturally produced compounds are used by trees to prevent herbivores from eating them, or in some cases to restrict the germination of competing plant species.

Or perhaps you are looking to use wood chips for grilling or smoking, in this case, applewood, cherry, oak, or hickory are all great options.

Whatever type of wood chips you have, it never hurts to do a little research to see what it can offer.

It Matters What Tree Was Chipped

When you consider the type of tree your wood chips come from, the answer provides you with some suggestions.

When you cook with wood chips, a different flavor comes out depending on the tree type. Experts would say fruit trees offer sweeter flavors to the food.

For landscaping purposes, wood chips from cypress trees are great for retaining moisture and keeping plants alive.

Oak trees provide the best wood chips for biofuel purposes. It is often a good idea to have some basic appreciation of the type of wood chips you have. This is usually not a problem if you have produced the wood chips in your own electric wood chipper shredder

12 Uses for Wood Chips from Your Chipper

Now that you understand the type of wood chips, we can dive deeper into their potential uses.

Not only are they an eco-friendly resource, but your lifestyle is less expensive for their services around the house. It is one of the best ways to recycle the chips and put them to good use.

Here are the 12 ways you can use wood chips from a chipper!

Wood Chips as Mulch

1. Using Wood Chips as Mulch

One of the few tips beginner gardeners don’t understand is how wood chips can be a choice for mulch.

It is not easy to use at first because there are some factors to consider when replacing your mulch.

Putting wood chips around fruit trees and mature shrubs shouldn’t pose a problem. It will also look good around ornamental trees in deep woodland areas.

Natural beds that don’t have annual crops can survive under a layer of wood chips.

Fresh Wood Chips Use Nitrogen as They Decompose

It’s a known fact that wood chips carry little to no nitrogen. Without any mulch, the microorganisms attack the surrounding soil for their nitrogen.

After the microorganisms die, a low quantity of nitrogen returns to the soil. Plants in the grounded area won’t survive because of all the nitrogen absorbed from them.

Avoiding a lack of nitrogen is why a layer of mulch combines with the wood chips. The nitrogen is abundant and supports all living matter while decomposition takes place.

Partially Rotted Wood Chips Vs. Fresh Wood Chips

Imagine leaving out a pile of wood chips during a rainstorm. When you come back outside, the wood is soggy and rots over time.

Would it still be a good alternative for mulch?

Some gardeners would say that the quality of the wood chips makes no difference. Whether the chips are rotted or fresh, they contain little nitrogen to support plant life.

A layer of fresh wood chips causes a little effect on the soil, but rotten wood has the potential to invite fungi to your garden.

Wood Chips Create a Fungal, Not a Bacterial, Environment

If the wood chips are rotten down as mulch, fungi start to grow like crazy. You won’t spot it at first, but it becomes more visible by the forming clumps.

A popular myth is that wood fungi will harm your plants over time. The best thing about fungi on wood chips is their benefits to the soil.

Fungi speed up the decomposing process of wood chips and convert them into nutrients for the soil. The soil is improved and becomes an organic spot for plants to thrive.

composting wood chips.

2. Turning Wood Chips into Rich Compost

If the using wood chips from a chipper are small enough, they are perfect to become compost for the garden.

As we discussed, large chunks of wood chips take longer to decompose and drain nitrogen from the soil. Mixing small bits of chips with dead leaves keeps the composting process balanced.

In two weeks, the compost becomes ready for use in the garden. It becomes a recycling effort to replace fertilizer and uses disposable wood chips.

wood chips on paths

3. Use Wood Chips on Walkways and Paths

If you have enough wood chips, you can create personal pathways that require no professional help.

This DIY project is fun and takes little effort to create. You can decide how many layers of wood chips you want to add and fill them between two path borders.

The only maintenance you have to worry about is topping off the pathway with fresh wood chips. Once they decompose, add a new layer of chips to keep up with the garden’s appearance.

wood chip and weed barrier

4. Landscaping With Wood Chip and Weed Barrier

Not only can the mix of wood chips improve your soil, but it can also suppress weed growth and prevent wild weeds from entering your garden bed.

With a layer of landscaping fabric under a 2-inch layer of wood chips, weeds won’t be able to penetrate due to their weak stems and roots. As soon as the wood chips decompose, they lose their ability to suppress weeds.

Most gardeners suggest adding a landscaping fabric under the bed of wood chips. It can last five years and still allow moisture and air to reach the soil.

wood chips burning in fire pit.

5. Use Wood Chips on Your Fire Pit

Campers who frequently spend their weekends in the woods can benefit from a pile of wood chips.

Along with twigs, dry leaves, and other types of kindling, wood chips can be essential in starting a small fire pit.

The wood you choose affects the overall scent and taste if you try to cook anything. With enough wood chips, you can keep the fire going and maintain a steady warmth.

cooking on a smoker

6. Use Wood Chips for Smoking and Grilling

If you don’t have charcoal or propane, you can use a pack of wood chips to solve your problems.

It is a unique experience barbequing with wood chips because you have the chance to experiment with different types and flavors.

Depending on the meal, using wood chips from a chipper enhance the taste of your meat and vegetables.

After soaking your wood chips in water for 2 hours, put them in the smoker box and close the lid so the food can absorb the smokey flavor.

livestock bedding

7. Wood Chips as Livestock Bedding

If you own a farm or house a bunch of small animals, wood chips from a chipper are an eco-friendly choice to create bedding.

Straw bedding can be expensive in some places, so using discarded wood chips is economically proven to save you money.

Wood chips are also clean and don’t carry any bacteria or diseases that would put the animals at risk. The moisture should be monitored and kept around 20 percent to maintain the quality.

chicken coop

8. Wood Chips in Your Chicken Run

Wood chips are not only good for farmhouses and pig pens but also for chicken runs.

The only problem to be concerned about is finding the type of wood chip that doesn’t harm the chickens.

Bark chips get moldy over time and release infectious spores that give respiratory issues to the hens. Pine chips are soft enough to create splinters and bumblefoot.

Hardwood wood chips are the best choice for a chicken run since they prevent muddy areas and give the chickens mini scratching posts for their feet.

play area

9. Use Wood Chips in Play Areas

If you are building a playground for kids, you can use the wood chips as floor padding for the surrounding play area.

A thick layer of wood chips can provide a safe cushion under jungle gyms, swing sets, and other activities a kid can fall. It is a safe and cheaper option than installing rubber paddings.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) agrees with the security of wood chips. According to the Public Playground Safety Handbook, 9 inches of wood chips is enough to cushion a 10-foot fall height.

Wood Chip Substrate to Grow Mushrooms

10. Use Wood Chip Substrate to Grow Mushrooms

If you are interested in growing mushrooms, wood chips offer the best substrate for cultivation.

Mushrooms like to grow on different forms of wood like sawdust or logs. Wine cap mushrooms are very common to grow on wood chips.

The best way to grow these mushrooms is by soaking a pile of wood chips and dropping them in a 4-inch hole. 

You can buy a mushroom spawn to speed the process, and with constant watering, the mushrooms will begin to grow and blossom.

Hugelkultur Raised Bed

11. Use Wood Chips in a Hugelkultur Raised Bed

Hugelkultur is the german term for “mound culture.” In gardening, these beds are growing areas for plants that can retain moisture and create different environmental conditions within a small space.

Using wood chips from a chipper, along with other compost materials, can provide the best source of nutrients for a raised bed.

Large chunks of wood chips can support the barrier around the bed, while smaller shredding can mix with the manure and soil. 

The size and shape of the hugelkultur depend on your garden space and how you envision the gardening process.

wood chip briquets

12. Make Your Own DIY Wood Briquettes

It is possible to create wood briquettes out of wood chips.

These briquettes turn scattered chips into packed logs used as a fuel source for stoves, fireplaces, and other areas where a fire is needed.

With a briquette press, you can mash wood chips and sawdust together to create log-shaped briquettes. The material should always remain dry and remove any moisture.

Verdict: What To Do With Wood Chips From Your Chipper

You can try using wood chips from a chipper in several ways. Some people use it for practical use, like combining it with mulch, and others take a creative approach to improve their landscaping choices.

However you want to use them, the wood chips are abundant and can never run out of use.

FAQs Using Wood Chips from Your Chipper

Do you still have more concerns about wood chips? Here are some additional questions.