What can I use pine chippings for?

Stephanie newish gardenerStephanie newish gardener Aberdeenshire/Moray coastPosts: 318
edited 9 January in Problem solving
Hello
We had a huge sitca pine felled last week and the remains that were too small to use for wood have been chipped. Naively I thought I could use them for paths and mulch but the chippings are lots greener than I anticipated - d'oh! My question is, will it be ok to use as a mulch or will the fresh resin be no good for the plants? Also will it be too acidic? We have heathers and rhododendrons and blue hydrangeas growing ok if that helps identify the soil type already.

This is the pile

This is a close up 

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Posts

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,713
    Personally , looking at the cones and intact foliage left in the pile , I wouldn't spread it on any borders .
    Being very resinous , Sitka Spruce will take quite a while to break down , turning unsightly as the cones and foliage turn brown .
    Your soil pH already sounds acidic judging by the plants you've mentioned .
    Have you a wooded area of your garden where you could dispose of it ?
    (I'll bet it smells good though) !!
  • Stephanie newish gardenerStephanie newish gardener Aberdeenshire/Moray coastPosts: 318
    @Paul B3 I know from experience that the cones just don't break down, and I should have put an ad on the local Facebook page for crafty folk to help themselves to the cones before the guy did the shredding.  If I'd thought about it I should also have stripped a few of the thinner branches of the greenery so that I could at least have used the wood chippings.  I had hoped to use some as a path around the greenhouse and shed but think I will just be walking resin all over the place (indoors on my lovely wood floor) so even that's probably a non-starter.

    We have some space where we could just put it to gradually rot down but it wouldn't be ideal as we then run out of space to put other stuff that doesn't easily compost.  Hindsight and all that....
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,713
    Yes indeed , "hindsight and all that...." ; we do quite a lot of chipping for customers .
    With hindsight I wish we'd purchased a larger machine !! :s
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,500
    If you make it wet and cover it with heavy sheeting, it'll rot faster. Not fast, but faster
    It's hard to love, there's so much to hate
    Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,997
    before long , he says optimistically, the grass will start growing and if you layer the chippings with grass clippings it'll make FAB compost. I'd bet if you put your hand into that pile it's warm
    Devon.
  • Stephanie newish gardenerStephanie newish gardener Aberdeenshire/Moray coastPosts: 318
    Hostafan1 said:
    before long , he says optimistically, the grass will start growing and if you layer the chippings with grass clippings it'll make FAB compost. I'd bet if you put your hand into that pile it's warm
    Do you think so?  That would be good, though I know that even after 5 years the cones don't break down - I regularly pull them out of the compost that comes off our really old heap, though it's probably simpler to pull them out of the compost than try to sift them out of the heap of chippings.

    It might not get too warm up here in Aberdeenshire; I find varying levels of heat on the compost heap during the year even in a decent summer and only sometimes does it seem that warm.  Saying that, I don't stick my hand in it that often! ;) 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,997
    As mentioned above, if it's damp, not wet,and you keep it covered, as you're "up North" I'd use a layer of thick polythene and a layer of old carpet, you'll be surprised how quickly it warms up. 
    As for sticking your hand in the compost heap, it's one of my fave things. ( do I need a new hobby? )
    Devon.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,907
    @Hostafan1. One of these days something will bite your fingers, poking them in the heap😀😀
    i like turning mine and seeing the steam come off it but I would be a bit scared to poke fingers in it, just in case 🐀 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,997
    well, I normally scrape away the surface, the feel what's uncovered. Or stick my fork in , open it up, then feel the inside. 
    I'm far too wimpy to just ram my hand in there.
    Devon.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,884
    The old time gardeners always put a "tell tale stick" in a heap. A broken bit of bamboo cane or thin branch from your pruning will do Push it into the heap & leave it there. When you want to check just pull it out & feel the stick- Simples! :)
    AB Still learning

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