The Q&A Archives: Can Sawdust Be Used As A Mulch

Question: I was wondering if sawdust (non chemicaled) can be used for mulching strawberries, flowers, trees?

Answer: Yes. Because sawdust is so high in carbon, it's better used as a mulch layer than incorporated into the soil. Microorganisms that are decomposing organic matter need both nitrogen and carbon. With all that carbon to decompose, the organisms have to temporarily "rob" nitrogen from the soil to fuel their activity. The nitrogen is replaced when the microorganisms die off, but it can be detrimental to plants in the short term. Used on paths, as a top layer and so on, it should be okay. You can also mix some sawdust in the compost pile, just not too much at a time.

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