While wood chip mulch can add aesthetic appeal to a landscape while it prevents weeds from growing among your flowers, some gardeners become frustrated as they watch their wood chips blow away in the wind. Keep landscape wood chips from blowing away by utilizing erosion control materials. Place mulch netting over a layer of wood chips in a landscape area to hold the wood chip layer securely on the ground and prevent it from disappearing in windy conditions.
Apply between 2 and 4 inches of the wood chip mulch over your landscape area. Spread the mulch out into an even layer with the rake.
Stretch the mulch netting out over the wood chips. Make sure the netting covers the wood chips completely from each edge and corner, overlapping the edges of the netting by approximately 4 inches to ensure complete coverage.
Position a staple or a stake every 2 to 3 feet along every edge of the netting (including the overlapped edges). Pound the staples or stakes so they are even with the soil surface and so they anchor the netting securely.
Wear snug fitting clothing when you use a wood chipper. Baggy clothes are dangerous around a wood chipper because they can get caught in the blades and pull you in.
Use ear plugs to protect your hearing against the noise when you use a wood chipper. They are loud machines.
Protect your eyes by wearing safety glasses. Shredded materials have a tendency to fly when you use a wood chipper.
Put on a good pair of work gloves and a hard hat before you start to use a wood chipper. You never know what kind of materials will fly out when you are chipping. Steel-toed safety boots are also a good safety precaution when you use a wood chipper.
Keep your hands and feet away from the wood chipper's feed chute area. It only takes a second of distraction to get caught and pulled in.
Push materials into the wood chipper by using a long limb or long piece of wood to help keep hands at a safe distance. Small pieces of twigs and all leaves should be thrown into the transport compartment instead of directly into the wood chipper.
Clean excess debris from the area around the wood chipper regularly to prevent accidental falls near the machine.
Listen to make sure the knives have come to a complete stop before you open the hood when you use a wood chipper.
Rake the soil smooth where you will be applying the wood chips. Try to make the soil level and even.
Place the weed block fabric or the black plastic over the soil area. Unroll the fabric or the plastic over the soil and use the scissors to cut the fabric or plastic to size. Cut holes in the plastic or fabric to surround plants, if necessary.
Apply the wood chips in an even layer 2 to 4 inches thick. Use the rake to spread the wood chips evenly and smoothly over the entire soil area.
Replenish the wood chips annually if they decompose. Wood chips also float away easily in excess running water. Keep the wood chip depth at a 2- to 4-inch thickness. Laying wood chips over a plastic layer will slow the decomposition of the wood chips.
Cut two lengths of nylon rope that are 3 feet long with a pair of scissors. Nylon rope is the best as it does not degrade, is strong, and cheap. Place the two lengths of rope a foot from each other on the ground, laying parallel to each other.
Lay down the scrap wood on top of the two lengths of rope so that the pieces of wood are perpendicular to the rope but parallel to each other. Kneel over the bundle of wood and squeeze together the bottom part with your knees while picking up the ends of the top rope. Pull the ends up and over the bundle of wood, so the wood squeezes together on that end as well.
Slide the right end of the rope over and then under the left end of the rope. Pull the rope tight so that it is flush with the bundle. Then take the left rope end and place it against the right rope. Thread the left rope end around the right rope and through the loop it just created. Pull the rope ends in opposite directions to cinch the rope down.
Scoot back and pull up the ends of the bottom rope without letting the bundle go with your knees. Pull the rope ends up and knot them just as you did with the top piece of rope. Make sure to pull the rope tight and flush so that it securely holds the scrap wood bundle. When done knotting, get up and pull the bundle up by the rope; you can slide your fingers under each rope and use them as handles.
Visit your local hardware and home improvement store, such as Lowe's or Home Depot.
Ask at the rental counter about a chipper shredder. More than likely the store will have several. If the chipper shredder is not in the store just then, set up a day and time to return and rent it.
Give your name and credit card information. The card is billed, but the information is left on file. This is in case you don't return the chipper shredder, are late returning it, or damage it.
Set up a return time for the shredder. You can rent the shredder for a time slot or a few days, depending on your needs.
Return the chipper shredder on time or before the allotted time. Fill the gas tank before returning it. If you don't you may have to pay a refill fee.
Remove the varnish and strip away the wood layers that contain tung oil using 50-grit sandpaper and a finishing sander. Use even strokes that move with the grain of the wood. You should not have to remove more than 5mm of the surface layer of wood.
Wrap 50-grit sandpaper around a sanding block, and sand in crevices to remove varnish and tung oil in hard-to-reach areas.
Cover areas that you don't wish to sand with masking tape, particularly in areas where the wood meets, such as mitered corners. This prevents you from sanding against the wood grain.
Sand curved areas with 000 steel wool. If your wood has a veneer, the tung oil will not have soaked through the thin veneer. Use the 000 steel wool to remove varnish and tung oil without removing the thin veneer.
Clean surface with a soft-bristle brush.
Switch to a 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out rough spots on your wood surface.
Switch to 500-grit sandpaper and a vibrating sander to finish sanding.
Sweep surface with a soft-bristle brush, and rub the wood surface with a soft rag and paint thinner to remove dust particles.
When compared to grass clippings, leaves, composts, yard wastes and bark mulch, wood chips perform better as a mulch around plants than other materials when it comes to moisture retention in the soil, temperature control and weed growth reduction.
Wood-chip mulch is a coarse mixture of bark, wood and leaves creating a variety of materials that does not compact easily. It is sold in bags by the cubic foot or in bulk by the cubic yard. It is generally a natural color, but is sometimes sold treated to have a red or black coloring.
Wood chips contain lignin, suberin and tannin compounds that resist decomposition so they remain a part of the landscape for a long time. In warm humid areas like Hawaii, the wood chips will last between 6 to 12 months. Pine bark nuggets, because they are high in lignin will last several seasons according to Kalamazoo (Michigan) Landscape Supplies.
Not all wood chips are expensive if you look for those made of recycled materials like pallets. Wood chips from tree-trimming services are inexpensive and usually available in the local area. Additionally, if you have avoided mulching with wood chips because you fear they may attract termites or carpenter ants, this is a not the case. According to the University of Washington Extension Service's Master Gardener Online, wood chips, particularly those from cedar trees, produce a chemical that actually repels insects.
Benefits of using wood chips in landscaping include improved soil structure, water retention, soil nutrients and temperature moderation.