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Talkback: Wood chip paths

We too are lucky enough to have wood chips delivered free to our allotment. I usually put weed suppressant membrane under the paths but wonder if just a thick layer of chips would be enough to keep the weeds away?


  • I was lucky enough to have a mate who was chopping down a behemoth of a conifer and another mate who has a chipper, got the whole done in a day and all for free!!
  • If you have a plot on a council run allotment, try contacting them. They often have wood chips to get rid of from their maintenance activities and will deliver a trailer load to your allotment for nothing.
    Also don't waste the old chips when they start to break down after a few years. If you have put a membrance down, then carefully rake off the big chips on the top, and you will find a wonderful barky compost underneath that can be dug straight into the ground, or used as a mulch.
  • Hi I am looking for some advice if possible. Many schools now have a mini allotment for the children which is fab and the kids love it. Of course term finishes on 18th July which brings to an end our growing season. I just wondered which veg and fruit could mature quickly for cropping before then. We are doing salad - radishes - peas - any other ideas or a range of seeds which would be good? I had heard of 10 week veg or was I confused?!
    Hope someone can help. Thanks.
  • Last year I put just chippings down on my pathways and found that the weeds eventally came through just as thick and fast. Always one who prefers something for nothing - rather than buying membrane, I found large strips of tought plastic bagging (I was lucky enough to find some unused bags at work on a roll which we cover kitchen products, but something like compost bags will work). I put small holes in it for drainage, before covering with chippings (delivered free by our local council gardening contractor).

    This has worked fine. The only thing is a few blades of grass seem to be working their way out between the raised bed and the pathway but so few its not worth worring about.

  • After several seasons the chippings break down into a rich crumbly material. If you have laid your chippings on plastic - in my veg garden all the paths are the width of compost bags (empty!) split open down both sides, opened out and laid end to end - it is relatively easy to scoop up the composted chippings and use them to mulch under shrubs etc, or dig in to improve the soil structure. Then replace with a new chunky batch of chippings and wait for the magical process to repeat. Good for the garden, good for the waist and a good idea if you have a shredder and can re-cycle your (or your neighbour's) woody waste instead of buying 'proper' chippings.
  • For the last two years I have wood chipped my paths that separate my beds, they keep the weeds down. I top up the surface once a year before the winter. I suffer from multi allergies including a bad reaction to grass cuttings so grass paths were out of the question. It looks tidy and is nice to walk on, it is warmer on your feet in the winter than a soggy grass path. It doesn't grow, doesn't need edging or cutting and if you can't get it free from your council try a Tree trimmimg company or Timber merchant for a cheaper alternative to the DIY or garden centre bagged bark.
  • Managed to get free wood chips from a nice man shredding trees at the side of the road. said our local council charges him to tip them, so was pleased to deliver to the allotments.
  • We have a shed in amongst a (small) orchard. Mowing this area can be a bit of a fiddle, so to minimise the fuss we decided to dig out an irregular shape around the shed, cover with membrane and on this add wood bark and edge with stone. I also had visions of ferns growing in this area. However, I was away when my husband got to grip with this project and instead of the dark wood bark, he has applied a light coloured wood chip which lends more of a seaside air... not the desired effect I had hoped for! Please can anyone tell me if these chips will darken in time and can I plant amongst it. Thanks.
  • Wood chips look very natural in gardens & look lovely, I have tried using them myself but I have a problem as I am visited every night by 4 legged bulldozers in the shape of badgers. Being a wildlife enthusiast I tolerate them but my bark paths have been virtually destroyed through the winter months.
  • Great thing chipping, thought I'm struggling to find some for free at the moment in my area, and don't really want to pay for it if I can help it. Adds that little something to the beg garden.
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