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Old 10-22-2018, 09:29 AM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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I'm clearing some overgrown shrubbery from my backyard. The hardest part was always cutting it down small enough to fit in garbage bags or they wouldn't take it away. I had a coupon and bought a small electric wood chipper at Harbor Freight for $100, it's rated for branches up to 1 1/2" diameter. I have to say for the $$$, it works quite well, it's a little slow running at full 1 1/2" capacity but most of what I'm cutting is <1" and it goes thru it quite well.

My question: Is it wise to use the chips as mulch or are they likely to attract not so benign bugs as they decompose?

Last edited by burdell; 10-22-2018 at 09:54 AM..
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burdell View Post
I'm clearing some overgrown shrubbery from my backyard. The hardest part was always cutting it down small enough to fit in garbage bags or they wouldn't take it away. I had a coupon and bought a small electric wood chipper at Harbor Freight for $100, it's rated for branches up to 1 1/2" diameter. I have to say for the $$$, it works quite well, it's a little slow running at full 1 1/2" capacity but most of what I'm cutting is <1" and it goes thru it quite well.

My question: Is it wise to use the chips as mulch or are they likely to attract not so benign bugs as they decompose?
Generally speaking people are wary of the free chips they get from the light line trimmers. The reason being is that they can bring a disease or pest to your back yard. So many will still use them; they simply compost them for a few years until everything is dead. They will even break down to nice black soil.

In your case, unless you are pruning off dead and dying limbs that might be diseased, I think you would be fine using them as mulch. Maybe others will disagree?
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:40 AM
 
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I’d imagine it’s no different than treating your yard for bugs. Go back to harbor freight and buy the backpack sprayer and hit the woodchips with a cheap insecticide twice a year and it should be fine IMO.
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:48 AM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm cutting living plants, the previous owner(s?) of my house had apparently planted things willy-nilly with no plan in mind. Much of it has gotten overgrown (my fault) and as my aging bones get older I'd like to clear a lot away and make a plan, mostly of planting things that are low maintenance, that maybe grow to a certain size and pretty much stop. It'll take me a while but I'd like to get it done before yard work becomes a real achy-breaky thing to do.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:54 AM
 
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We've used wood chips from our own yard for many years with no problems.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:48 AM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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Originally Posted by oldgardener View Post
We've used wood chips from our own yard for many years with no problems.

I'm just not very knowledgeable when it comes to gardening, I seem to remember warnings about rotting wood attracting pests, I guess somehow when it's decomposing as compost say it's somehow different than rotting? I'm guessing it must break down over time when used as mulch?
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:16 PM
 
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Everything has a purpose and wood chips and bark can do a good job of helping to keep moisture in the ground and most of the time look nice.
The draw back where I live is that they get blown around by strong winds which occur often here. Also, if you live in a low rain area, they can be a fire hazard. It takes little to ignite them.
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:29 PM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
54,144 posts, read 38,225,022 times
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Originally Posted by marino760 View Post
Everything has a purpose and wood chips and bark can do a good job of helping to keep moisture in the ground and most of the time look nice.
The draw back where I live is that they get blown around by strong winds which occur often here. Also, if you live in a low rain area, they can be a fire hazard. It takes little to ignite them.

Moisture/winds can vary widely where I am, we get such howlers like Florence and them may go weeks with little/no rain. The only problem I've heard about with mulch in my area is some folks use pine needles which are apparently quite attractive to snakes. I don't so much as need the chips for mulch as much as I just need to either spread it around or bag it and wait for the truck which is only once a week, just thought it better to ask more knowledgeable people first before possibly creating any problems that are easily avoidable..
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marino760 View Post
Everything has a purpose and wood chips and bark can do a good job of helping to keep moisture in the ground and most of the time look nice.
The draw back where I live is that they get blown around by strong winds which occur often here. Also, if you live in a low rain area, they can be a fire hazard. It takes little to ignite them.
I have some land and when I see the tree trimmers working on the lines or roads I always ask them if they want a place to drop their chips. One of their loads is a huge pile when they drop it. But over the years they will break down to just a fraction of that original pile and make great black compost dirt. If you have a tiller and can run through the pile, after spreading some lime on the top, it will break down faster. The lime will 'sweeten' (it cuts down the acidity) the final product. I use a little extra lime if the chips are from evergreens.
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:59 PM
 
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
54,144 posts, read 38,225,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
I have some land and when I see the tree trimmers working on the lines or roads I always ask them if they want a place to drop their chips. One of their loads is a huge pile when they drop it. But over the years they will break down to just a fraction of that original pile and make great black compost dirt. If you have a tiller and can run through the pile, after spreading some lime on the top, it will break down faster. The lime will 'sweeten' (it cuts down the acidity) the final product. I use a little extra lime if the chips are from evergreens.

Might a plan for me, very sandy soil where I am and little grass in the backyard. Doesn't sound like it'd be a problem just spreading it around the yard.
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