The Q&A Archives: Mulch Wood Shaving

Question: We do some woodworking and have a large trash can full of pine wood shavings from the planer. In the past, we just put it down where it gets muddy, but since our garden is going, etc. we were wondering if it would be O K to put the shavings around our hostas (which we just moved this year to the edge of the woods). Can you use any wood shavings for mulch, and is there any that you absolutely can't use. We don't do woodworking as a living, just a hobby, but sometimes we have quite a bit of shavings and it would be nice if we could use them on our plants. We usually work with pine, cherry, poplar, sometimes walnut and oak.

Answer: Assuming the wood isn't pressure treated, it should be fine. If it was pressured treated with CCA, I wouldn't recommend using it around vegetables. There's a growth inhibitor called juglone within the bark, roots, leaves, stems and fruits of all walnut trees. Some plants are more tolerant of this than others, and will grow near walnut trees. Other plants are extremely sensitive and will not grow. I couldn't find information on whether that property carried over to "dead wood" but you might want to use the walnut shavings on a path away from plants, for example. Otherwise, I think it's a great idea to use the shavings as mulch!

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