What Do You Do With the Wood Chips & Sawdust From Oak Trees

Written by michael davidson
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What Do You Do With the Wood Chips & Sawdust From Oak Trees
Oak trees are hardy and durable. (Shunsuke Yamamoto Photography/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Oak is known for its durability, which is a reason why oak furniture is considered higher quality and frequently preferred by buyers. If you have wood chips or sawdust left over from sawing or breaking down oak, use them in a variety of ways. The chips and dust add nutrients to your yard, can be used decoratively or recycled to make new wood products.


Use oak sawdust to add nutrients to your lawn or garden. Sprinkle it over your lawn or work it into the dirt. As it decomposes, it helps your lawn and soil retain moisture for grass and other plants. Let the sawdust or wood chips age for about six months before applying it to the soil. This ageing prevents the oak chips from absorbing nitrogen that plants need. As the chips or dust age, the oak becomes less absorbent or likely to interfere with nitrogen levels.

Walkway Decoration

Oak chips come in a variety of colour depending if they're from is red or white oak. The options become greater if the wood was stained before chipping. Use either type for decoration around your garden. Mixing the two gives more variety. Oak chips cover up areas without grass. Lat the chips down on either side of a walkway as an outdoor decorating technique. Occasionally replenish the chips need because of decomposition, but otherwise they require little maintenance.

Wine Flavoring

Wine has long been aged in oak barrels. Recently, wine makers have started dropping oak chips into the wine to achieve its ageing effects quicker and more efficiently. The chips do need to be removed once the wine has aged and you're ready to distribute or drink it but the chips can be added either during fermentation if you make your own wine or after it has been racked for ageing purposes. The oak helps improve both the aroma of the wine and the flavour in time. This cannot be duplicated with other wood varieties.


Never discard oak chips or sawdust in the regular garbage, as they'll do no good in a landfill and take up needed space. Many communities have programs where people recycle their lawn and garden waste by dumping it into green recycling bins that are then picked up by city workers. This ensures the wood is not wasted and is reprocessed for making new materials, such as flooring.

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