What is wood chip landscaping?

Wood chip landscaping is the activity of restructuring the visual style of a garden to improve its aesthetic features using wood chips.

What are wood chips?

Wood chips are pieces of wood that are shredded, chipped, or ground up. Wood chips are also known as Arborist Wood Chips (an arborist is a person who is a professional in the practice of tree cultivation and management). An arborist knows exactly where to cut a tree, grind it through a wood chipper, and make a variety of sizes of wood chips, combined now by bark, sapwood, hardwood, and leaves.

Pile of woodchips

What is the difference between wood chips and mulch? 

As wood chips are described as small to medium-sized pieces of wood coming from a chipped larger piece of wood, mulch is the way wood chips are spread on the soil as a protective top dressing. While wood chips can be used as mulch, there are also different types of mulch, such as grass clippings, rotted manure, compost, and hay. 

Benefits of Using Wood Chips for landscaping

Pile of woodchips in backyard

1. Improves nutrient levels within the soil

When wood chips are spread through specific areas, they break down into organic particles over a long time. The smaller sizes will be the first to decompose, and the big chunks of wood chips will take longer. Because of the difference in decomposing time, it allows the soil to hold a continuous manner of adding nutrients to the soil. Most people think that adding wood chips around trees and bushes depletes the supply of nitrogen and kills them. Although wood chips indeed affect the nitrogen level in the soil, it only happens in the shallow part. As the wood chips decompose, they add organic material into the soil, which is consumed by bacteria, earthworms, and fungi that are all beneficial for the growth of the plants.

2. Weed suppression

Since wood chips block out the seeds from the sun when applied in an area, they prevent weeds from growing up. Weed suppression can be possible when there is proper installation and maintenance of the wood chips. Proper installation is done by first pulling out all weeds present in a garden or a space. It is also said that applying a landscaping fabric under the wood chips, can prevent almost all weeds in a perennial flowerbed. Then, when applying wood chips, a thick 2-inch layer will do. 

3. Maintains moisture level within the soil

The different sizes of wood chips allow for a lot of air pockets. They also act as a sponge for water to work its way through the wood chips and the soil. With a layer of wood chips covering the soil, water evaporation is reduced, which gives more water to the plants.

4. Moderates soil temperature

As mentioned above, evaporation is reduced when wood chips are present. Because of this, direct temperatures coming from the sun during the day and cold temperatures at night help which could affect a plant negatively are lessened. Wood chips act as a moderator of the fluctuations in temperature in the soil.

5. Holds plant in place

Erosion is one common issue in a plantation or a garden site. But, with the use of wood chips, such an issue can be avoided. Wood chips serve as a protector of the plants, avoiding damage caused by heavy rains and too much sunlight.

6. Affordable

Compared to other types of processed mulch, wood chips are affordable and are sometimes even free. Wood chips can be bought from arborists for a cheap amount, or they can even be given for free, especially in places that need to chip down branches or logs.

7. Visual Appeal

Wood chips come in a variety of colors and textures, which provide an aesthetic and simple vibe to a garden.

Final Thoughts

Wood chip landscaping is a practical and beneficial way of transforming a garden. Aside from the fact that they do not take much time to implement, consuming them is a good way of reducing waste and putting it to good use. Since they are affordable, they do not need to be planned into a tight budget. Now, anyone can achieve their desired aesthetic yard without spending a lot.