How to Use Wood Chips for Mulch


Wood chips make an excellent mulch and are used in a similar manner as bark mulch. Gardeners use mulch for several reasons. If wood chips are applied in the spring after the sun warms up, then they will help keep the soil cooler during the hot summer months. On the other hand, if wood chips are applied in the fall, they will help keep the soil warmer for the winter months. During all times of the year, wood chips will help the soil retain water and keep weeds at bay.

Step 1

Remove weeds before applying wood chips for mulch. It is easier to weed when the ground is slightly wet. Use a 3-prong weeding tool for tougher weeds. Otherwise, use your hands to pull up on the weeds near the base. Be sure to pull up all the roots or they may just grow right back.

Step 2

Lay the wood chips so that they cover under even the widest branches--called the drip line--of your plants or trees.

Step 3

Keep the wood chips a couple of inches away from the stem of any plants and trees because they will increase humidity around the bases and can cause diseases to spread more quickly.

Step 4

Pile the wood chips at least 2 or 3 inches deep. Replenish the wood chips every couple of years as they decompose. To slow down decomposition, use larger wood chips rather than smaller ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Weeding tool
  • Wood chips


  • U.S. Department of Argiculture: Mulching
Keywords: using mulch, wood chips, mulch plants

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.