How to Use Woodchips In Your Garden

Wood chips have dozens of various uses around the garden. We’ll get into them below, but as a starter, you’re probably aware that they make great paths or flower border mulch and can be added to compost.

There is a good chance that you’ve ended up here because you have some wood chips on your hands from using a garden shredder or woodchipper in the garden. These machines allow you to grind down garden waste such as branches, tree trunk cuttings and prunings into compost and mulch.

Perhaps you’ve just cut a tree down or have cut a huge hedge back. Using a woodchipper helps with waste removal as the woodchips are less bulky and heavy than carrying the entire branches, but if you really want to be eco-friendly, then using these in the garden rather than throwing them away is perfect.


Ways to use woodchips in the garden

Woodchips can help suppress new growth and can retain moisture, making them an ideal eco-friendly solution for some of the most common garden headaches.


1. Create a path

If you need an access path to a shed or down a side alley to your house, woodchips are a really great way to make an easy surface to walk on.

It's easier than laying patio stones, as you don’t have to remove any grass or existing surface. Woodchips will break down over time, so if you want to use this as a permanent solution, you may need to replenish them annually.

Any size wood chip can be used, but larger ones are probably better for creating more coverage. No weeds will grow up between the woodchips, and they’re safe around children, pets and anyone unsteady on their feet.


2. Use in recreational areas

If part of your garden is dedicated as a children’s play area, wood chips can be used as ground cover. They will break down over time, which is great if the area will only be in place for a few years until the kids grow up.

The wood chips are softer than paving or other alternatives which can cause damage to your garden long-term. You can also use woodchips if you want to section off an area for seating, such as a BBQ or outdoor dining table.


3. Mulching

Mulching your flowerbeds and growing areas helps your display for loads of reasons:

  • It retains the moisture in the soil
  • It prevents frost and the cold from getting to the soil
  • It can help tidy it all up, limiting the likelihood of soil going everywhere
  • If you have cats digging, they can be put off by the texture of the wood
  • Slugs, snails, and other pests can find it hard to go over the texture, and they’re easier to spot than if they’re hiding in the soil

Do be careful about the growing plants your wood chip mulch comes into contact with, though. Woodchips made solely from wood can take nitrogen out of the soil as they break down, which could have a detrimental effect on some leafy annual plants in your garden bed.

This is called nitrogen sequestration and is likely to affect crops such as fruit and vegetables, too. Trees and shrubs will be fine, but if you’re concerned, you can compost the woodchips first.


  • SPEEDY TOP TIP: Woodchips using leafy green material, such as hedging, are less likely to have a detrimental effect on the soil


4. Compost them

Composting the woodchips at the start of the breakdown process before adding them to crops is a good idea. This limits the process of nitrogen sequestration, as the woodchips are mixed with other green leafy substances and organic materials.

Woodchips are classed as brown, carbon-rich materials so need to be mixed with nitrogen-rich greenery for better results.

So, add the woodchips to your compost heap or composting bin for a few weeks before applying them to crops and delicate plants. Your plants will enjoy the new nutrient-rich compost mixed in, too.


5. Suppress weed growth

Do you have an area which is full of weeds you’re struggling to control? If you have woodchips from cutting down an old tree or cutting back hedging, these can suppress new growth of anything you’re trying to limit.

If you want to turn an overgrown area into a wildlife garden, using woodchips to kill any new growth is easier than manually pulling the growth out if you don’t need to work on the area ASAP. It is also a natural solution, using something you’d otherwise see as waste, so you won’t use weed killer or burners which are harmful to the environment.


6. Create wildlife habitats

If you have a large section of unused garden that you’re trying to attract wildlife to, woodchips can be a great ground cover for the likes of hedgehogs and squirrels. Small bugs which some larger animals feed on can also hide here, making it an ideal habitat for everything to thrive.

Conserving the soil moisture can also help to promote a fungal-dominant, rather than bacteria-dominant, environment.




Yes. Speedy Services, the UK's leading tool hire company, have a range of chipper shredders for hire nationwide. Speedy has more than 200 service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery. Garden tool hire has never been easier.

You’ll find all the tools you need right here. Why not start planning your next DIY project and open a Speedy account today online and in-store.

Ready for more Gardening DIY tips and ideas?

We hope you found our blog on using wood chips in the garden useful. Please check out our Gardening Projects page for further inspiration, including a guide on how to remove a tree stump using a stump grinder.

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