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Wood Shavings for Mulching Garden Paths

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Topic by juniorjock posted 1968 days ago 7095 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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juniorjock

17 posts in 2341 days
hardiness zone 6b

1968 days ago

I posted this on LumberJocks too but I thought I’d check to see if any of you had any ideas.

I wanted to ask if anyone uses their shavings from their planer and jointer as mulch for garden paths? I guess my main concern would be if it would attract ants and termites, etc. I’m not sure but I think with the shavings being so fine, they’d be easily tracked into the house (especially when wet) I’ve been using cyprus mulch and it does great. No bugs and lasts a good amount of time. I’m just trying to find a use for the shavings instead of trashing them.

-- JJ...... I guess you could say I'm a 56 year old "juniorjock". Square Foot Gardening



View Scott Hildenbrand's profile

Scott Hildenbrand

1690 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 6b

1968 days ago

Mulch away, eh! Wood shavings make fine mulch and just as well soil conditioner (so long as they’re aged).

Ants and termites are a given at any property regardless. The only way to keep termites away is to strip your lot of trees and have NO roots left in the ground what-so-ever.

In fact, they say it’s best to have some wood piled AWAY from the house just for termites to ensure there is a food source that’s not structural for them.

You will have some problems with tracking in shavings until they break down and interlock. Much like standard mulch from bags, you can drag it in, too. This is where a good door mat comes in.. :p

Personally, I’d say to keep the shavings and use them in flower beds if you’re worried about tracking them in. Else let them age for a while and then spread them around on paths.

-- Planting Daylilies in Kentucky, zone 6b

View GrandmaT's profile

GrandmaT

5389 posts in 2454 days
hardiness zone 9

1968 days ago

Just make sure there is no Walnut in those shavings …

-- "A beautiful garden is a work of heart" --

View Catspaw's profile

Catspaw

244 posts in 2373 days

1968 days ago

Walnut generally isn’t a problem. It will help kill off the weeds when it’s still fresh (or if you have hooves.) If you’re putting it on the paths then you may not have any worries about walnut. Might check the net for specifics.

Also wood is a heavy nitrogen feeder when it’s breaking down so you might have to add some N.

I know of a guy that puts it on his paths between his raised beds, then after a year, he puts it in the garden and adds fresh to the paths and keeps it cycling.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist......Zone out....(USA 5)

View juniorjock's profile

juniorjock

17 posts in 2341 days
hardiness zone 6b

1968 days ago

Catspaw, are you saying I need to add the nitrogen to the shavings in the path IF I plan to put them in the garden after a year? Just wondering why I’d need to add the nitrogen if I plan to let the shavings stay in the path.

-- JJ...... I guess you could say I'm a 56 year old "juniorjock". Square Foot Gardening

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GrandmaT

5389 posts in 2454 days
hardiness zone 9

1968 days ago

That’s news to me Catspaw … I had always heard to keep Walnut away from most plants. Are the shavings different (less strong) than the actual bark on the tree? I had heard that the shavings would stunt the growth of most plants. There wasn’t much that would grow under my Black Walnut Tree. Is this an Old Wives Tail??

To be honest I am hoping it is an Old Wives Tail as far as the shavings/mulch goes cuz hubby does a lot of work in Walnut and I have not used those “shavings”.

-- "A beautiful garden is a work of heart" --

View Scott Hildenbrand's profile

Scott Hildenbrand

1690 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 6b

1968 days ago

Wood shavings suck mass amounts of nitrogen out of the soil as they break down due to their structure. If you let the shavings age for a few years it’s not a problem, else it’d be best to supplement. This can be done when you add it to the garden, not to the path.. ;)

Walnut is also fine for mulch so long as sensitive plants aren’t planted within it. Granted Walnut does have a natural herbicide to it, but any hardy plant will do alright IMO. Heck, you’d seen the shade garden I have out back which I’d been working on. Those Daffodils have been under that Walnut for years before I got here. But yes, growth would be slowed.

-- Planting Daylilies in Kentucky, zone 6b

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GrandmaT

5389 posts in 2454 days
hardiness zone 9

1967 days ago

Thanks Scott for clearing that up for me … appreciate it. :-)

-- "A beautiful garden is a work of heart" --

View juniorjock's profile

juniorjock

17 posts in 2341 days
hardiness zone 6b

1967 days ago

Thanks for the replys and input. I haven’t used any walnut so that’s not an issue at this time. I have heard that walnut can cause some problems though. Thanks again.

-- JJ...... I guess you could say I'm a 56 year old "juniorjock". Square Foot Gardening

View Josh's profile

Josh

42 posts in 2029 days

1967 days ago

I had the nitrogen problem a few years ago from wood chips. I go a little easier with them now. Adding to much of anything to dirt is going to throw the balance out of whack. Compost and hay for me this year.

I love using cedar wood shavings around the foundation of my house. I read somewhere bugs were not a fan of the cedar chips.

View Catspaw's profile

Catspaw

244 posts in 2373 days

1967 days ago

My only addition to the already answered question would be that walnut is a good weed killer but eventually the juglans break down. Since you’re not using walnut, no problemo. Might seperate it if you do….( we make mounds of sawdust so seperating is not an option…but I take it anyway ‘cause it will work.) My pile is about 50’ x 10’ x 4’ high. Now if I can just get the boss to bring over a couple of tons of horse poop, i’d be real happy.

[Early in my life I imagined alot of things. But never imagined how much I would want a great big pile of poop.]

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist......Zone out....(USA 5)

View Eklectic's profile

Eklectic

1824 posts in 2376 days
hardiness zone 5a

1964 days ago

I have been mulching with wood shavings for 4 years now! Looks good, does indeed keep the weeds down and does decompose quite nicely!

-- Eklectic, Follow my Bliss, South East Ontario 5a

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 2356 days
hardiness zone 5a

1963 days ago

Thanks for all the info everyone.I too have wondered about the wood shavings.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Scott Hildenbrand's profile

Scott Hildenbrand

1690 posts in 2347 days
hardiness zone 6b

1963 days ago

I should add that you should not use shavings from pressure treated wood around edibles. But that should go without saying.

It’s one thing to just lay down a frame out of treated lumber. In chip or dust form, the chemicals will leach out much much faster.

-- Planting Daylilies in Kentucky, zone 6b

View GartenGrl's profile

GartenGrl

41 posts in 1957 days
hardiness zone 5

1957 days ago

My only caution with using treated wood is that it will rob your plants of nitrogen as it can be difficult to break down. So as a path it is probably fine, I would not put in my garden. In the garden I think untreated mulch is preferable.
I hear the peanut hulls make an excellent nitrogen rich mulch-if you are in the south…where you can get it perhaps…
GartenGrl at Cool Garden Things

-- --GartenGrl--visit me at http://www.gartengrl.blogspot.com

View luckysawdust's profile

luckysawdust

7 posts in 1050 days
hardiness zone 8

611 days ago

This guy seems to get great results!

http://backtoedenfilm.com/how_to/index.html

He recommends wood chips be used as a cover, and only as a cover. Don’t till it in, or the soil nitrogen level will drop significantly until the wood chips are fully composted.

Also, best time to apply is fall, and let it decompose over the winter.

Best,

“Lucky”

-- “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

View luckysawdust's profile

luckysawdust

7 posts in 1050 days
hardiness zone 8

611 days ago

Also, there are probably several “Lumberjocks” who would love to get their hands on a few trunks of walnut, in exchange for the next few months of their wood shavings/chips. If you don’t want to compost it, barter it!

- “Lucky”

-- “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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ScottyRush

3 posts in 610 days
hardiness zone 5b

609 days ago

mulching with woodchips or shavings will steel alot of Nitrogen from your crop. When you add wood your adding carbon to your garden which throws off your carbon – nitrogen ratio. I would mulch with straw and at the end of the year till the straw into the bed for the winter. In the summer you will have more microorganisms and beneficials fungis and bacteria in your soil. Leaves are an amazing source of carbon and bring alot of biodiversity in microorganisms to the garden. If growing using No-Dig methods simply adding compost and a layer of leaves every year will benefit you greatly.

-- Scott, NiagaraCollege

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