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  • Liza Boone

How To Build Soil With Free Wood Chips

Adding wood chips to your soil is a great way to build soil health and promote healthy plant growth. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to add 4" of wood chips to your soil.

Benefits of using wood chips to build soil include:

  • Improved soil structure: Wood chips can improve soil structure by increasing the soil's porosity and water-holding capacity.

  • Nutrient cycling: As the wood chips decompose, they release nutrients back into the soil, which can improve plant growth.

  • Weed suppression: A thick layer of wood chips can help to suppress weed growth by blocking light and preventing weed seeds from germinating.

  • Reduced water evaporation: Wood chips can help to reduce water evaporation from the soil, which can help to conserve water.

Step #1 - Order Free Wood Chips

Contact and ask for hardwood only wood chips to be delivered for free. You can offer some cash to have them drop sooner, this has worked for me in the past. This is a plastic-free way to amend your soil! It is also sustainable because the wood chip trucks don't have to drive far away to dump their loads, they do so near their project - your yard!

Set up a delivery in the rainy season where you live to avoid having to water the chips when they arrive.

Not all wood chips are created equal. Avoid using chips from cedar, walnut, eucalyptus or camphor, these varieties do not break down quickly and can be harmful to your plants. You can use wood chips from any other trees,

Step #2 - Prep the Soil

Find a spot for the delivery, they will drop a full load of chips. Before adding wood chips, make sure to remove any weeds or large debris from the area where you'll be spreading them. You can also consider adding compost or other organic matter to the soil to boost its nutrient content. I put wood chips under all my shrubs and use it instead of grass.

"The soil is our external metabolism. It must be free of herbicides and pesticides or the body cannot heal." – Max Gerson, M.D.

Step #3 - Spread the Chips

Spread the wood chips over the soil in a layer that is about 4" deep. Be sure to spread them during the rainy season and evenly and avoid creating large piles, which can block airflow and trap moisture. This thickness will suppress weeds and hold in moisture. Microbes and insects will produce organic matter from these chips and integrate them with the soil over the course of a year.

Step #4 - Maintain the Chips

Finally, as the wood chips break down, they will gradually sink into the soil. To maintain their effectiveness, you'll need to add more wood chips every year or two to maintain a layer that is at least 4" deep. I find in rainy central Florida that I need to spread 4" every year.

Soil building is good for you, the environment and your pocketbook

By following these simple steps, you can add 4" of wood chips to your soil and reap the many benefits of healthy, nutrient-rich soil.

Read This article on why I Pass on Grass in my yard


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