A safety warning on wood chips and 5 good ways to use them

A common way tree companies repurpose removed trees is by turning them into wood chips and selling or giving them away. Wood chips can be beneficial to your yard, but as with anything that’s free, there can be a hidden cost.

Many trees are removed only after succumbing to disease. So those free wood chips can introduce diseases into your yard, exposing your trees, your other landscape elements, and even your family. Before accepting free wood chips, always ask where they came from, and don’t take anything that may have come from diseased trees.

If you have to pay for wood chips in order to find a source that will make that guarantee, it’s probably worth the cost, compared to the price of removing and replacing your own trees down the road.

If you have a source for responsibly-sourced wood chips, here are some ways to use them:

1. Mulching

  • Wood chips can make for a good organic mulch as they can help retain water, prevent weeds, and provide protection and warmth for your plants.

  • Unlike other lightweight mulches, wood chips are not easily blown away by wind.

2. Composting

  • Wood chips are high in carbon and can prove useful for composting as they will break down and enrich the soil.

3. Building Walkways or Paths

  • Wood chips are great for creating walkways or paths around your yard as they even out the ground and prevent weeds.

  • To increase weed prevention and extend the life of your walkway, lay down a weed barrier beneath the wood chips.

4. Playground Surface Area

  • Wood chips make for a natural alternative to rubber while still providing a cushioned, non-slip surface for children to play on.

5. Erosion Prevention

  • As a short-term solution, wood chips can be used to create a barrier and help retain soil during heavy rains.

If you’re interested in attaining safe wood chips or have any other questions about using wood chips on your property, contact Ripley Tree Service. We are an independent family business serving northeast Ohio since 2001, with 3 certified Arborists on staff.

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