How to Lay Wood Chips

Written by sharon sweeny
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Wood chips make an excellent mulch for annual or perennial flower gardens, trees, shrubs and even vegetable gardens. Many municipalities now offer free wood chips to their citizens free for the taking. Wood chips make the gardener's job easier. They suppress the growth of all but the most determined weeds and also hold moisture in the soil. Be sure to lay a deep enough layer of wood chips so they do the job they're meant for.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Wheelbarrow or garden cart
  • Shovel
  • Canvas or leather garden gloves

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  1. 1

    Load wood chips into wheelbarrow or garden cart. Place the cart right next to the area where you will spread the wood chips.

  2. 2

    Place woodchips on garden one shovelful at a time. Leave a space about 6 inches wide around the base of each plant. Spread wood chips to a depth of approximately 3 to 4 inches. This is deep enough to suppress most weeds while holding in soil moisture.

  3. 3

    Put on garden gloves. Scoop up a double handful of wood chips and distribute them around the base of each plant, in the area you left empty in Step 2.

Tips and warnings

  • When laying wood chips around young or small plants, forego the shovel and spread handfuls instead. That way you won't crush or bury the little plants with a shovelful of wood chips.
  • Make sure to give your plants a boost with high nitrogen fertiliser (the first number, as in 20/10/10). Wood chips use nitrogen in the soil as they decompose, thus robbing your plants of vital nutrients.

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