Speedy Hire: How to use wood chips safely in the garden


How to use wood chips in your garden

Wood chips have dozens of diverse uses in the garden. We’ll cover them below, but as a beginner you’ll probably know that they make great paths or flower border mulch and can be added to compost.

Chances are you ended up here because you have wood chips on your hands from using a garden shredder or wood chipper in the garden. These machines allow you to grind garden waste such as branches, tree trunk cuttings and prunings into compost and mulch.

Maybe you just felled a tree or cut down a huge hedge. Using a chipper helps with waste disposal as wood chips are less bulky and heavy than hauling whole branches, but if you really want to be eco-friendly then use them in the garden instead than throwing them away is perfect.

Ways to use wood chips in the garden

Wood chips can help suppress new growth and retain moisture, making it an ideal eco-friendly solution for some of the most common garden headaches.

Create a path

If you need a path to a shed or down a side walkway in your home, wood chips are a great way to create an easy-to-walk surface.

It’s easier than laying patio slabs because you don’t have to remove the existing grass or surface. Wood chips will break down over time, so if you want to use this as a permanent solution, you may need to replenish them every year.

All sizes of wood chips can be used, but larger ones are probably better for creating more coverage. No weeds will grow between the wood chips, and they’re safe around children, pets, and anyone unsteady on their feet.

Use in recreational areas

If part of your yard is dedicated to a children’s play area, wood chips can be used as ground cover. They will break down over time, which is great if the area will only be in place for a few years until the kids grow up.

Wood chips are softer than paving or other alternatives which can damage your garden in the long run. You can also use wood chips if you want to mark off an area for seating, such as a barbecue or an outdoor dining table.


Mulching your flower beds and growing areas helps your display for many reasons:

  • It retains soil moisture

  • It prevents frost and cold from penetrating the ground

  • This can help tidy everything up, limiting the likelihood of dirt getting everywhere

  • If you have digging cats, they may be put off by the texture of the wood.

  • Slugs, snails and other pests can have trouble getting through the texture, and they’re easier to spot than if they’re hiding in the ground

Be careful, however, of the growing plants that your wood chip mulch comes into contact with. Wood chips made solely from wood can pull nitrogen out of the soil as they decompose, which could have a detrimental effect on some leafy annuals in your garden bed.

This is called nitrogen sequestration and is likely to affect crops such as fruits and vegetables as well. Trees and shrubs will be fine, but if you’re worried, you can compost the wood chips first.

  • SPEEDY TOP TIP: Wood chips using leafy green material, such as a hedge, are less likely to have a detrimental effect on the ground

Compost them

Composting wood chips early in the decomposition process before adding them to crops is a good idea. This limits the process of nitrogen sequestration, as the wood chips are mixed with other green leafy substances and organic materials.

Wood chips are classed as carbon-rich brown materials and should therefore be mixed with nitrogen-rich greens for best results.

So, add the wood chips to your compost pile or compost bin for a few weeks before applying them to delicate crops and plants. Your plants will also appreciate the new nutrient-rich compost blended in.

Suppresses weed growth

Do you have an area full of weeds that you are struggling to control? If you have wood chips from cutting down an old tree or trimming hedges, these can suppress new growth of whatever you are trying to limit.

If you want to turn an overgrown area into a wildlife garden, it’s easier to use wood chips to kill any new growth than to manually remove the growth if you don’t need to work on the area soon. as possible. It’s also a natural solution, using something you would otherwise consider waste, so you won’t be using weedkillers or environmentally harmful burners.

Create wildlife habitats

If you have a large, unused yard that you’re trying to attract wildlife to, wood chips can make great ground cover for hedgehogs and squirrels. Small insects that some larger animals feed on can also hide there, making it an ideal habitat for everything to thrive.

Conserving soil moisture can also help foster a fungal rather than bacterial-dominant environment.


Yes. Speedy Services, the UK’s leading tool hire company, offers a range of shredders for rent nationwide. Speedy has over 200 service centers across the country, rent counters in some B&Q and national delivery in 4 hours. Renting garden tools has never been easier.

You will find all the tools you need here. Why not start planning your next DIY project and open a Speedy Account online and in-store today.

Ready for more DIY gardening tips and ideas?

We hope you found our blog on using wood chips in the garden useful. Please see our Gardening projects page for more inspiration, including a guide on how to remove a tree stump using a stump grinder.


Comments are closed.