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How to Compost Wood Chips

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Compost wood chips to add nitrogen-rich materials to your compost pile.
petrified wood chips image by MAXFX from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

You may find yourself with an abundant supply of wood chips after removing trees or stumps. Put these fresh wood chips to good use in your landscape in a variety of ways. Use the wood chips as an attractive and effective mulch or compost the wood chips to create a rich and nutrient-dense soil enhancer. According to the University of Florida's Online Composting Center, wood chips provide a carbon source for composting. If you compost wood chips, pay close attention to the ratio between these carbon-rich brown compost ingredients and the nitrogen-rich green ingredients to ensure a properly balanced compost pile.

Mix the wood chips with other brown compost materials to form a layer for the compost pile. Place the combined brown compost materials on top of the compost pile, noting the height of the layer.

Mix a comparable amount of green compost materials to add to the compost pile. Place the green compost materials on the compost pile over the brown compost materials, covering the brown compost materials completely.

Add another layer of brown compost materials, making this layer the same height as the other layers.

Saturate the compost pile lightly with water from the garden hose. Strive to make the compost materials evenly damp.

Add additional green and brown compost layers, always making the layers the same height and always ending with a layer of brown materials on the top of the pile. Leaving a brown layer on the top of the compost pile will reduce odors and will lessen the insects and animals your compost pile attracts.

Mix the compost layers once a week either by rotating a tumbling compost bin or mixing the materials with a garden fork.


Things You Will Need

  • Brown compost materials (wood chips, brown leaves, sawdust and small twigs)
  • Green compost materials (pulled weeds, coffee grounds, eggshells and grass clippings)
  • Garden hose


  • Add only enough water to dampen the compost but not enough to saturate it fully.


  • Water will help speed the composting process, but too much water will create fungal and mold problems in your compost pile.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.