The Q&A Archives: Does Wood Mulch Attract Termites?

Question: I am a tenant on a large estate and the landlord had their trees trimmed and the limbs were chipped. I am using the chips for mulch and a walking path between my vegetable groups. The landlords are afraid that the wood chips will attract termites and would prefer the excess chips be carted away.
I told them it would be a waste not use it around their shrubbery and trees.

Answer: To be honest I can't promise termites would never find your mulch. If termites are in the area I suppose it is possible they would be attracted to any wood -- including that used as mulch. However, since most buildings have been treated to prevent termite infestation, many gardeners feel comfortable using chipped or shredded wood or bark as mulch in the beds around their homes. Generally speaking, an organic mulch is certainly beneficial since it feeds the soil as it breaks down and a nearby "free" source of mulch is always nice. One caveat, though, would be that it is usually a good idea to let green wood chips age for a bit (say a year) before using them directly around plants (pathway use should be fine without aging).

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