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Mulching with woodchips

Can anyone help me please? I have a quantity of wood chips that I intend to spread around a bed on my allotment that contains 3 fruit trees. Can I spread the chips directly onto the soil or should I put a membrane down first? 



  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,781

    Membranes are dreadful for soil structure and life. Woodchip is fine unless it's from wood that's been treated with preservatives etc

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,956

    Put a good layer down Lynne, and that will be ideal for suppressing weeds and keeping in moisture. As nut says - woodchip is fine unless it's been from treated wood.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    thicker the better, just make sure the trunks of the trees are not buried too deep

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,184

    don't let anyone tell you they'll "leach nutrients" from the soil. As a mulch , they won't.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,382

    Direct and thick layers.   No membrane means the chips can gradually rot into teh soil and provide food and shelter for micro organisms that will improve you soil - assuming it's untreated wood.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you - I'm a fairly new gardener & I don't want to do anything to harm my fruit tree. A friend said I'd be killing the trees using chipping without a membrane. The wood is  from coppiced trees.

    Last edited: 28 March 2017 09:30:27

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,781

    just wood then, something that's always rotted down around trees. You may get fungi appearing, a natural part of the rotting down process, not a disease or a problem

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,196

    It'll be a very good mulch for boosting the soil life - insects and bacteria and the things you need to give the soil real health, rather than just nutrient quantity. Especially in small gardens where we tend to be very tidy and clear up all the dead material from the plants, this can be a real issue in having properly sustainable soil quality image

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,184

    Lynne, ask your friend why he / she thinks this way. I'd also ask for evidence other than garden myth and hearsay.

    I use about 20 - 30 tons ( yes really ) of woodchip every year on my garden and my garden is thriving on it.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,956

    I'd agree with Hosta, Lynne. It's strange how many myths abound in gardening! Just as well you checked in here image

    Clearing an area round your trees initially, so that they're weed and grass free, means the trees won't have too much competition for nutrients and water. The wood chip then helps to keep it that way, so that your trees will establish quickly and grow well enough to fend off competition more easily.

    Good luck with them  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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