View Full Version : Wood for mulch or compost

05-19-2010, 04:29 PM
I can get huge bags of planer shavings from work,I would like to use some in my garden. Lots of cedar and fir ect,but I'm concerned about some of the other woods we run thru. Any problems with mixing the shavings from angelique, teak, purpleheart or silver bali into my garden as mulch and or compost? Thanks.

Michael D. Storey
05-19-2010, 04:32 PM
I have seen bad results from fresh unseasoned mulch. Stunted plants, death in the garden, etc. Suggest you get another opinion on this, and leave the pile out for a season.

05-19-2010, 05:14 PM
We use fresh shavings on the blueberries and they love it! I have been told it's the acidity that they need.

05-19-2010, 05:32 PM
Thanks for the info Donn. These are high bush, and actually now that I think about it the lower mulch is all a few years old...we only add a little as needed which is pretty fresh. We have neighbors that grow about 20 acres of blueberries commercially and literally pile the sawdust on. They get it right from the mill (so is is pretty fresh) and it is mixed species Oak, maple, hemlock, and pine. Seems to work very well. By now i would say they have the same situation where only the top is fresh. Timm

05-19-2010, 05:39 PM
When I had access to large quantities of sawdust and shaving ...too much to compost I laid them 10 " deep in the pathways between garden beds ...but not on the beds .Worms and fungi reduced them over the season and i would refill the path after 3 months or so .The material was by that time sufficiently broken down to be OK for the compost .

05-19-2010, 05:40 PM
Fresh wood shavings (not sawdust), with the exception of Walnut, can be used as mulch, if the pieces are heavy enough to stay in place. Wind and rain have a way of blowing/washing them away. The wood will not harm the soil, as the only contact is at the surface of the soil. If you mix the shavings into the soil, they will 'borrow' nitrogen from the soil, to the detriment of the plants.

I use them as layers of Carbon in my composters. A generous local woodworker gives me several huge bags from his dust collection system every year, and I spread it out over layers of Nitrogen (grass cuttings, weeds, etc.). It's a passive form of compost which only gets turned once a year. My ratio is ~ 6" of Nitrogen (greens) to ~2" of Carbon (browns). I loosely mix the top 2 layers only, and when one bin (6' x 6' x 6') is full, I turn it into an empty adjacent bin. This way the completed compost from the bottom of the first bin is on top of the second and ready to use. By the time I get down to the bottom of the second, it is completed compost.

By the way, Walnut shavings or sawdust may be used if it is well composted first. The Juglone is destroyed by composting.

Thanks Donn,good info. You answered my question +3. Have a good year in your garden.

05-19-2010, 10:08 PM
Agree with Donn, I do. We get lots of chips and stump grindings from my buddy's business (He's an arborist) and turn them into my compost heap for a year or so. I t gets grass clippings, seaweed, kitchen scraps, and ground up leaves in the fall as well and stays pretty hot all winter. I usually toss in a few bags of lime now and then, too, along with all the weeds we pull. I turn and mix it with the loader on the tractor. Manure goes in there, too, in the late fall when the smell won't bother the neighbors.