Are Wood Chips Good For Garden Soil? (Brief Explanation)

Have you ever considered using wood chips to enhance your garden soil? In this concise blog post, we explain the benefits of incorporating wood chips into your garden soil and how they can contribute to a thriving garden.

Uncover the science behind this organic soil amendment and learn about other natural soil enhancers like dead leaves and pine needles. By utilizing readily available resources, you’ll be able to create a more sustainable and flourishing garden.

Don’t hesitate—learn about the advantages of wood chips in your garden soil now!

Key Takeaways
Wood chips can be a beneficial addition to garden soil as they can help retain moisture, prevent soil erosion, and add nutrients to the soil.
Fresh wood chips can temporarily tie up nitrogen in the soil, making it unavailable to plants. It’s important to use well-aged wood chips in garden soil.
When applying wood chips to garden soil, be sure to leave space around the base of plants and avoid piling the chips too high.
The time it takes for wood chips to decompose in garden soil can vary, but generally takes between 6 months to 2 years.
Avoid using wood chips from treated or painted wood, as they can contain harmful chemicals. Some types of wood chips can also be too acidic for certain plants, so it’s important to research the specific type of wood chips you are using.

Are Wood Chips Good For Garden Soil?

Wood chips are a great choice for garden soil because they are easy to use, available, and inexpensive. Wood chips can also be used in many ways:

You can use wood chip mulch around the edges of your garden to help prevent erosion and keep weeds at bay. Wood chip mulch is also useful when you want to protect plant roots from freezing temperatures during winter months.

If you’re looking for an organic way to fertilize your garden soil, then using wood chips may be perfect for you! Wood chips break down easily over time and become part of your soil composition, providing nutrients that will benefit plants’ growth healthfully. 

They add valuable humus (organic matter) back into the earth which improves drainage as well as promotes plant growth by allowing moisture retention within the soil surface area.

Instead of becoming leached away due to rain/water runoff like some other types of compost do not provide this feature either.

So it’s important when choose what type will work best in order maximize benefits before applying them all together later down road after being mixed together with other sources.

Such as peat moss or other kinds too but those aren’t needed here since we already know how beneficial these materials already were.

“Leaves are an excellent organic material for improving garden soil. They help to increase soil fertility, retain moisture, and reduce weed growth. Check out our detailed guide on how leaves can benefit your garden soil.” – Are Leaves Good for Garden Soil? Explained

How Do You Add Wood Chips To Your Garden?

To get the best results from your wood chips, you should add them to your garden in the fall. Spread them across the garden area, then cover them with a layer of straw. 

The straw helps keep moisture in and prevent weeds from growing up out of control while it decomposes over time. 

Then, once spring arrives and all that straw has decomposed into mulch (which is just carbon-rich earth), you can spread more mulch over top. This will help retain moisture throughout the summer months while also preventing weeds from coming back up again!

Do Wood Chips Break Down In Soil?

No, wood chips do not break down in soil. Wood chips are low in nutrients and don’t add anything to the soil that you couldn’t get from something else. 

The only benefit to using them is if you want to keep your yard looking natural and you don’t need any benefits from them other than aesthetic value.

Wood chips do not improve soil structure because they do not break down as they decompose, thus preventing the formation of healthy topsoil.

And improving water retention capability by retaining more moisture within your garden beds or lawns when compared with natural materials such as bark mulch or leaves.

“If you are looking for an organic material to improve the soil in your garden, pine needles can be a great option. Pine needles are acidic and can help to lower the pH of alkaline soil. Learn more about the benefits of pine needles for garden soil in our guide.” – Are Pine Needles Good for Garden Soil?

Are Wood Chips Better Than Mulch?

Mulch is made from wood chips, but wood chips are not made from mulch. If you want to learn more about what mulch is, check out our article on types of mulch.

Wood chips are a renewable resource and are often used in landscaping because they’re an environmentally-friendly way to keep soil healthy. 

They’re also better for your garden than traditional wood or bark products because they retain water longer than other materials and break down more slowly over time.

Will Worms Eat Wood Chips?

Yes, they will. Worms are earthworms and they need organic material to survive. So, wood chips can be a good source of food for them. 

As long as you don’t put too many wood chips in your soil or leave them out on your lawn for too long, worms won’t have a problem with these materials being added to the ground.

Do Wood Chips Repel Insects?

One way to do this is by creating a barrier between the wood chips and your garden soil. Wood chips provide a physical barrier that prevents insects from getting into the garden bed. 

The presence of wood chips can also deter pests from entering the area because they smell different than other parts of your yard, making it less appealing for these creatures to stay in one place. 

If you’re trying to keep ants out of your home or yard, then placing some wood chips around windowsills can help keep them away from your home as well!

“Pecan shells can be a great addition to your garden soil as they are rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Our guide will help you understand how to use pecan shells to improve the quality of your garden soil.” – Are Pecan Shells Good for Garden Soil? Find Out Now

What Are The Benefits Of Using Wood Chips In Landscaping?

Wood chips are an excellent choice for landscaping when you want to achieve the following benefits:

Insulation. Wood chips act as a barrier to keep heat in and cold out during the winter, while also keeping moisture in during the summer. This makes them ideal for protecting plants from harsh weather conditions.

Erosion control. Wood chips create a good barrier against soil erosion during heavy rains or storms.

Because they hold onto water well and prevent it from rushing down hills and valleys, which can potentially harm your yard’s appearance and even damage other parts of your home if left unchecked over time.

Weed prevention. Because wood chip mulch breaks down over time into small pieces (in some cases less than 2 inches), weeds cannot grow through it very easily.

Since their roots typically won’t be able to reach down far enough below what would otherwise be solid ground coverings such as these types of materials provided throughout areas.

Like gardens where these types exist outside at all times throughout most seasons except perhaps wintertime when snow cover might cover everything up completely anyway so there’s no chance of having any kind of weeds grow up through anything like this anyways!

Do You Add Anything To Wood Chips When Making A Garden Path?

It’s not necessary, but you can add fertilizer if you want to. You also don’t need to add compost or lime (though both are good for your soil), and peat moss is not necessary either.

“Worms are an excellent addition to garden soil as they help to improve soil structure, increase soil fertility, and reduce plant diseases. Check out our guide to learn more about the benefits of worms for garden soil and how to attract them to your garden.” – Are Worms Good for Garden Soil?

Does Old Mulch Decompose?

Once you have your wood chips, you need to find a place for them. You want to keep the wood chips in a warm and moist environment. 

This will encourage decomposition of the material. If you can’t find a way to keep your garden bed moist, then it isn’t a good idea to put wood chips in there because they’ll just sit there and do nothing as they rot away.

You also want to make sure that the area is dark so that any insects living in the wood don’t become confused when they fly out from their home and get eaten by birds or other predators before they have time to get back into the dirt where it’s safe (if this happens often enough). 

You could also try keeping them under some large leaves for protection from sunlight if possible, too but be careful not to smother them too much!

Wood Chip Is Not Good Or Bad But Depends On The Use, It Comes With Its Own Pros And Cons

When it comes to wood chips, there are no absolutes. The use of wood chips is determined by the pros and cons of the material, so you can’t say that wood chip is good or bad. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

Wood chips do have some unique properties which make them useful in certain situations, but they also have weaknesses too! 

This means that you need to consider your needs and goals before deciding whether or not a particular type of substrate will work for your garden bed build project.

“If you want to grow healthy and productive vegetable plants, it is important to use good potting soil. Our guide will help you understand the essential ingredients for making potting soil for vegetable gardening, including the right balance of organic matter, minerals, and water.” – How Do You Make Good Potting Soil for Vegetables?


The answer to the question of whether or not wood chips are good for garden soil is that it depends on what you need from them. 

Wood chips have many uses in landscaping, including as mulch and ground cover, but they also have some drawbacks such as being an attractive home for insects and the fact that they don’t break down easily in the soil unless composted first. 

Regardless of how you choose to use this material though there will always be benefits associated with its use because it provides a natural look while adding nutrients back into your soil over time.

Further Reading

Using Arborist Chips in Garden: A comprehensive guide on how to use arborist chips in gardening and their benefits.

Fresh Wood Chips for Mulch: Harmful or Good?: An informative article on using fresh wood chips as mulch in your garden and their potential benefits and drawbacks.


What are wood chips used for in gardening?

Wood chips can be used for mulching, soil improvement, and weed control in gardening. They can help retain soil moisture, prevent soil erosion, and add nutrients to the soil.

Can wood chips be harmful to garden soil?

Fresh wood chips can be harmful to garden soil as they contain high levels of carbon that can temporarily tie up nitrogen in the soil, making it unavailable to plants. However, well-aged wood chips can be beneficial to garden soil.

How do you apply wood chips to garden soil?

To apply wood chips to garden soil, spread a layer of wood chips on top of the soil, making sure to leave some space around the base of plants. Avoid piling the wood chips too high, as this can suffocate plants and prevent water from reaching the soil.

How long do wood chips take to decompose in garden soil?

The time it takes for wood chips to decompose in garden soil can vary depending on factors such as the size of the wood chips and the moisture and temperature of the soil. Generally, it can take between 6 months to 2 years for wood chips to fully decompose.

Are all types of wood chips suitable for garden soil?

Not all types of wood chips are suitable for garden soil. Avoid using wood chips from treated or painted wood, as they can contain harmful chemicals. Also, some types of wood chips can be too acidic for certain plants, so it’s important to research the specific type of wood chips you are using.