Pine tree chipped for mulch?

lsohMay 22, 2010

Sorry if this turns out to be a duplicate posting. I attempted to post earlier in the day, but I don't see that now.

We are considering removing a pine tree that towers over our house. I've read many positive references to pine "bark" mulch. But this is the entire tree. If the tree removal guy is willing to chip the whole tree and leave it, would this make good mulch? Or is there a problem with using the entire tree?

Thanks.

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lcpw_gw(z6 St Louis)

I think it would be fantastic mulch. Really really nice. The bark alone looks a little more "polished" - more all-one-color. But the needles plus wood plus bark ... each one of those alone makes a lovely mulch, and if the fact that the mixture will be visually a mix of the three is ok with you, then yes, it'll be an excellent mulch. (Some people care a LOT about how it looks and some care almost entirely about how well it suppresses weeds, and some care almost entirely about how well it feeds the soil. This won't be the prettiest possible mulch, but it'll feed the soil and keep the soil moist and cooler than it would be unmulched, and feed the soil in the process.)

lcpw

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:37PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

It makes great mulch its pretty much what they sell in the store minus the needles and add some red dye..

even if he just chips the branches that is what most tree guys around here do you will be left with a big pile of chips to play with

Not only will he be willing to leave the chips but you should talk about this when the job is bid as it costs money to truck them off and dump
I bet if you ask there will be a load of chips in your yard every time he is in the neighborhood(:

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 11:09PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

I have done that and it makes a very good mulch. Some people still believe a long time myth that wood from pine trees will make soil acidic, but it is not the trees that make the soil acidic. They may grow in acidic soils but organic matter does not make soils acidic, even given the studies by Dr. Alex Shigo that woody mulches made soil conditions better for fungi which tend to make soils acidic and vegetative waste makes soils better for bacteria which tend to make soils more alkaline.
With very few exceptions (Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac for example) everything that once grew in your soil should be recycled back into your soil.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:05AM
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borderbarb

That's going to be a lot of material. But don't let any of it slip through your fingers, if you have enough room to 'store' the extra you can't use this season. Also, consider using those chips not only for mulch, but to 'pave' your garden paths. My 'extra' chips/trimmings go in a side yard with no water. I dip into that bank all year.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 10:30AM
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lazy_gardens

They can't chip the whole tree - the trunks and some branches are too big. However, if he chips what is possible to chip, you can have a large pile of fresh wood chips to use as mulch, pile up and compost or whatever.

If I had had the room, I would have had the tree removal guys leave me the chips from my neighbor's trees.

Do NOT worry about acidity, do NOT worry it will steal all the nitrogen ... just use it as a mulch.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 12:01PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I had to remove an old pine that was threatening cars and passersby, and I had the arborist slice the major trunk and larger branches into roughly two foot sections that I used to edge a garden bed (placed on end). The smaller branches and smaller parts of the trunk were chipped and this became mulch. Worked out great.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 3:59PM
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ken1

Chipping most pine trees is no problem. I had trees chipped on my lot with a chipper that would take 18 inch trees, the chipper was larger than the truck that towed it.
The forests here in northern Az are being chipped with chippers that would eat an 18 inch tree without taking the engine much above an idle. Some have over 1000 hp.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:17AM
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bob64(6)

Use it. By the way, the pile of chips might be hot for a little while. I usually just leave the pile alone until it cools down but spread out as mulch the heating should not be a problem even if you use it right away. There are endless uses for wood chips.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

If your pile of chips is greater then what is the normal 4 to 6 inches then possibly the bacteria could generate some heat that possibly could be a problem, but I have not found fresh chips much less than a foot deep to get enough heat generated to be a problem.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 6:50AM
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annpatt

It depends what you're going to mulch with it. It's a lousy mulch in a vegetable garden, and it's not a great mulch in a perennial flower bed. It's all right around shrubs and it's excellent for paths. It takes years before a wood mulch breaks down enough to nourish a garden, so if that's not a problem for you (it is for me), then it'll be fine.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2010 at 8:00PM
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terrene(5b MA)

4 1/2 years ago I had some treework done to thin out and remove some mature Red Pines, and a few smaller White pines and deciduous trees. But the chips were mostly pine and the tree company left me a truckload. The pines chipped into very even-sized chips that aged to a light reddish brown. They are really nice wood chips, even 4 years later.

2 1/2 years ago, I had more treework done, mostly large Norway maples and some Siberian elm. Those chips are okay, but not as nice as the pines. They were full of a lot of sticks and varying sized pieces, plus they aged to a darker and uglier brown.

I use wood chips mostly for paths and under birdbaths. I mulch the gardens mostly with leaves, and veggies with straw.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 2:45PM
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