1 year old Wood Chips for use in Vegetable Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Central, LA
Question by aogulino
March 22, 2010
I have a mound of wood chips from a water oak tree stump. I had the stump ground up after the tree was cut down. The wood chips have been sitting mounded up for about one year.

Have the wood chips been sitting long enough to use as a soil amendment in a vegetable garden? Do I need to add extra Nitrogen to the garden If I use the sounded soil/wood chips?

Thanks for your input!


Answer from NGA
March 22, 2010


You're on the right track! As wood chips decompose they use available nitrogen for the process. The fact that your wood chips have been aged for a year is a good start but they will continue to decompose and will need nitrogen for the process. Adding them to your garden will require a little more nitrogen fertilizer. I'd spread the chips over the garden bed and sprinkle them with about a pound of granulated nitrogen fertilizer (for a 100 sq. ft. garden), then dig or till them into the soil. Only one caution: you should not spread wood chips directly on, or till them into, a vegetable garden or other areas where you want seeds to germinate. Wood chips are great around established shrubs where de-nitrification of the surface soil will inhibit germination of weed and grass seeds, but this same property will keep vegetable seeds from sprouting, as well. Good luck with your garden!

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