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Should I use fresh Sycamore tree chippings as mulch on the garden?

We are having a large sycamore tree lopped, and I'm wondering if I should retain some of the chipped branches for mulching the garden? Will they rob the soil of nutrients as they break down and will the local cats think its a super loo? We don't have room to compost very much so would be spreading it while its still fresh.

Comments (4)

  1. Grower

    Victor Plum

    Hi Winifred.

    It is true that there is a nitrogen deficiency at the point where mulch and soil meet. It is important to plant below this level. Wood chips should not be dug into the garden for this reason, but only used as a surface mulch. I personally like to use a high nitrogen amendment like blood meal just below the mulch. I also would never plant seeds there.

  2. Grower

    Winifred Field

    Thank you Victor, I'll get a couple of sacks full for protecting my tender things.

  3. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Winifred, if you have the room to store them, then if you leave a pile of mulchings for a year or so, they will turn into a much more compost-like product, which can be safely used to mulch the beds. You said you don't have much room for composting, but if you bag them up and shove them down the back of the shed, they shouldn't take up too much room.

    In answer to your specific questions, then yes, as Victor says, the wood chippings will "rob" the soil of nitrogen where they touch it, in order to decompose. They do give the nitrogen back afterwards, but in the short term they cause a deficiency. And yes, cats will sometimes use it as litter. Although in my experience, it is more likely to be flung around all over the place by the birds, who just love rootling through wood chip (and bark) for creepy crawlies!

  4. Grower

    Winifred Field

    Thanks Rachel.

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