What to Do with Wood Chips After Tree Removal?(Different Ways)

Last Modified

May 19, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

Tree removal can be a tricky business. Knowing what to do with the wood chips after the tree has been cut down is important. In this article, I will explore the options for disposing of wood chips and discuss which is best for your situation.

Wood chips can be bulky and difficult to move, so it is important to have a plan before starting your tree removal project. As an arborist, one of the most common questions I receive from homeowners is what to do with the wood chips left over after tree removal.

Many people do not realize that several options are available for disposing of these chips.

I will look at the various methods for removing wood chips, from composting and mulching to burning and hauling away. With these tips, you can find the best option to enjoy a clean yard when your project is complete.

Composting Wood Chips

Wood chips are a great natural resource that can be used in multiple ways after removing a tree. Composting is one such way to repurpose wood chips.

It is easy and efficient and requires minimal effort. To begin composting wood chips, create a pile or mound of them and sprinkle them with water.

Studies have shown that adding nitrogen sources such as manure, food scraps, or green grass clippings will help speed up the composting process.

As the pile breaks down, it will heat up and eventually turn into a rich soil amendment full of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.

This nutrient-rich fertilizer can then be used in your garden to improve soil quality and nourish your plants. Ultimately, composting wood chips is an excellent way to give back to nature while providing a practical solution for disposing of them after tree removal.

Using Wood Chips as Mulch

Transitioning from composting wood chips, another option to consider is using them as mulch. Mulch is a protective layer of material used to retain soil moisture, reduce weed growth, and prevent erosion. Wood chips are an attractive and affordable choice due to their natural look and ability to break down over time.

When laid in a thin layer around plants or trees, wood chips help regulate the soil temperature and keep roots warm in cooler temperatures while providing essential nutrients.

It is important to remember that wood chips should be applied in thin layers no more than three inches thick, as thicker layers can lead to root rot and other issues.

Research has shown that using wood chips from diseased plants or trees near healthy ones can spread pathogens and diseases. Some common tree diseases, such as oak wilt and Dutch elm disease, can be easily transmitted through infected wood chips.

Burning Wood Chips

Burning wood chips is a great disposal option after tree removal. It is simple, cost-efficient, and can provide heat in the colder months. You must ensure you have the proper equipment and fuel to burn the wood chips safely before getting started.

A good idea is to use a stove with a catalytic converter or an EPA-certified wood-burning unit. Burning wood chips keeps them out of landfills and reduces air pollution.

You should be aware that burning wood chips may produce smoke and other pollutants, so it is important to use caution when doing so. Ensure you are not burning on days when air quality is poor or if there are any fire bans in your area.

Additionally, be careful not to burn wet or green wood since that can increase emissions. When done properly, burning wood chips can be an eco-friendly way to get rid of them after tree removal.

Hauling Away Wood Chips

Once the tree has been removed, there are a few options for disposing of the wood chips. The first option is to haul away the chips yourself.

If you can access a truck or trailer, you can load the chips and take them to a designated disposal site or compost facility.

You may also be able to find someone in your area who will pick up and dispose of the chips for you at a nominal fee.

Another option is to leave the chips in place and let them decompose naturally. This is an environmentally friendly choice as it allows the wood chips to provide nutrients back into the soil as they break down over time.

However, if this option is chosen, no hazardous materials such as oil or paint must be used during tree removal. Otherwise, these contaminants could leach into the ground and cause environmental damage.

According to recent studies, acting quickly, regardless of your choice, is important.

One major reason for this urgency is the risk of pest infestation. Wood chips can become breeding grounds for rodents and other pests if left unattended.

Additionally, follow all local laws and regulations regarding proper waste disposal when hauling away wood chips from your property.

Other uses of wood chips

pathLay on areas where walking is needed.During wet seasons, it reduces compaction and prevents puddles.
Garden bedsMulch 1 to 3 inches around plants in garden beds.It retains moisture, cools the soil from direct sunlight, reduces weeds, and deters pests.
Inoculate with mushroomsApply wood-loving spores to the chopped-up stump and mulch chippingsProduces a dense network of mycelium that aids other plants nearby and breaks up any leftover woody debris in the soil.

Recycling Wood Chips

Once all the wood chips have been cleared, the next step is to consider what to do with them. Recycling these wood chips is a great way to ensure they are not wasted. Many options are available for recycling wood chips, including mulching, composting and using them as an energy source.

Mulching is one of the most popular uses for recycled wood chips. This involves spreading the chips over the soil or around plants to protect them from cold temperatures and conserve moisture in the soil.

Composting is another great option for recycling wood chips, as it helps break down organic matter into rich fertilizer for your garden or lawn. Finally, wood chips can also be used as a renewable energy source for heating and electricity generation.

By utilizing these sustainable methods of recycling wood chips, you can ensure that they do not go to waste and have a positive impact on the environment.

People Also Ask

How Much Mulch Do I Need For My Garden Beds?

Mulching your garden beds can help conserve moisture and suppress weeds, so knowing how much mulch you need is important. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to use two to four inches of mulch for your garden beds.

This will provide enough coverage for the soil without smothering the plants. If you plan on refreshing the mulch each year, a thinner layer of one or two inches should do the trick.

If you are using wood chips, be sure to spread them out evenly for optimal coverage.

Is It Safe To Burn Wood Chips In My Backyard?

Burning wood chips in your backyard is a viable option to dispose of, though it could be dangerous depending on the environmental conditions.

Before doing so, you must consider things like local air quality and weather, as burning wood can create smoke and other harmful pollutants.

Before proceeding, check with your local fire department for any regulations or restrictions on burning wood chips.

Are There Any Local Companies That Will Take Away My Wood Chips For Free?

Many local companies will take away wood chips from tree removal for free, but you should always check with your municipality first.

Ensure to ask if the company is registered and that they are properly disposing of the wood chips. Some cities and towns may have specific regulations or restrictions on how to dispose of them, so it is best to be informed before making any decisions.

How Long Does It Take For Wood Chips To Compost?

Wood chips can take a few months to a few years to compost completely. Factors like the size of the wood chips, the temperature, and the amount of moisture in the environment affect how quickly they will break down.

Smaller particles will decompose faster than larger pieces. Cold temperatures slow down decomposition, while warmer temperatures speed it up.

Adding moisture helps facilitate the breakdown process, so if you live in an area with low humidity, you may need to water your wood chips occasionally.

Is It Difficult To Recycle Wood Chips?

Recycling wood chips is not difficult. It can be done simply by bagging and taking the chips to a local recycling facility, such as a yard waste drop-off center.

Alternatively, you could use the wood chips as mulch or compost in your garden if you have the space.


Once you have removed a tree, the wood chips left behind can be used. You can compost them or mulch your garden beds, depending on your needs. If you are unsure how much mulch to use, plenty of online resources can help guide you.

If burning is an option for you, ensure it is safe and compliant with local regulations. If not, there may be local companies who will take away the wood chips for free.

Recycling wood chips can also be done relatively easily, although fully decomposing may take some time. Whatever your decision about your wood chips, they can still value your home and garden!

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