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Salt
01-03-2009, 09:22 AM
We had a tree removed recently. When they grinded the stump and the roots it left us with a big pile of wood shavings in the yard. Can we use this for mulch or do we need to treat it with something first? My first thought was if we used it for mulch or for a floor in the dog pen it would attract termites or carpenter ants. Does anyone know of a good use for these left over wood shavings?

LakeMartinGal
01-03-2009, 09:31 AM
We had a tree removed recently. When they grinded the stump and the roots it left us with a big pile of wood shavings in the yard. Can we use this for mulch or do we need to treat it with something first? My first thought was if we used it for mulch or for a floor in the dog pen it would attract termites or carpenter ants. Does anyone know of a good use for these left over wood shavings?I asked DH about this once -- I wanted someone to come in a clear some trees so we could see the lake better, and use the shavings for mulch. He said that it would need to be treated first, for just the reasons you mentioned. We ended up not doing it, but since your tree is already down, why not have the shavings treated? Or maybe they'd just be good fertilizer, away from the house? I'm certainly no expert, though...

sneezles
01-03-2009, 10:22 AM
They need to be composted for about 3-4 months before you can use them. Unless it was a cedar tree.

rosen
01-03-2009, 11:20 AM
Any fresh tree or stump mulch should be allowed to compost for 2 to 3 months before you spread it around any other trees, shrubs or ornamentals. You can leave it in place to break down or move it else where. Using it fresh around plantings can (but not always will) burn the plant.

If you have paths or open areas where you can spread it now - do so.

Or if you have an area that you would like to have a future garden in, spread it there. First put down a layer of newspaper (black and white pages - no glossy ads) about 10 sheets thick and cover the paper w/ several inches of the new mulch. The paper will smother the grass or weeds under it and decompose over the winter. Come Spring, the area should be ready for planting.

I have planting beds around and all over the yard and this is how I created all of them. Easy-peasy and cheap!

charley
01-03-2009, 12:35 PM
If it's not finely ground, like sawdust (I'd let that decompose first), you can spread it around now. I had 2 pines cut down and the stumps ground in late September. I used the mulch for pathways in one of my beds and under a few shrubs in another where camellias, winter honeysuckle, and newly planted abutilons are now blooming.

Romandub
01-03-2009, 12:47 PM
I have the same question about leaves. Can leaves that have dropped off of trees be put down on beds for mulch or do they need to be composted first, too? (Not meaning to hijack the thread, just wanted to take advantage of the experts who are opining!) Thanks!

rosen
01-03-2009, 02:38 PM
It depends on how many and what type of leaves you have.

Oak are very acidic and take a long time to break down. But if it a hard to reach bed of acid loving plants, it doesn't hurt to leave them.

If you have a lot of leaves, the top layer can dry out and blow around when it is windy. A deep (several inches) layer of leaves on a planted bed can smother the plants underneath as the leaves will get wet when fresh and will stay wet on the bottom layer even when the top looks dry. Air can't get to the bottom layer and they don't break down.

What we do for our beds is a pain, but works for us: we rake the leaves off of the beds and run some of them over w/ the mulching mower and put those on the compost heap. Others we run thru the chipper/shredder and spread the chopped up leaves, sticks back onto the beds to act as a mulch that doesn't blow around. As the winter progresses, these smaller pieces decompose and break down into great organic material for the soil. This matter is fluffy when you put it down and you can use a lot. As it rains, it gets less fluffy, but doesn't become matted.

Here in zone 7, we finished doing this just before Thanksgiving after all the leaves were down.

If you choose to leave the leaves on the beds, just be sure to get out in early Spring and start to clear them away then. It is possible for the leaves to have harbored weeds and disease underneath for the Winter and you want to get them cleared off before new growth starts.

We get lots of calls at Extension on planting bed care over the Winter months and this is what we tell folks to do. Lots of folks have methods that work for them and we try to help them sort thru the pros and cons of all the different options.

Now if you are in the frigid North or deep South, the care will be a little different.

Does this help?

For the poster that spread their grindings around their plants... we do not rec that practice as a rule because the potential of harming tender plants is high. Lots of folks tend to pile their mulches too high and too close the the trunks and this is what usually causes the problems.

As far as termites invading the mulch... well, that is possible w/ any hardwood mulch. The key is to keep the layer to only a couple of inches and not have any right up against any wooden house parts.

charley
01-03-2009, 04:29 PM
For the poster that spread their grindings around their plants... we do not rec that practice as a rule because the potential of harming tender plants is high. Lots of folks tend to pile their mulches too high and too close the the trunks and this is what usually causes the problems.

As far as termites invading the mulch... well, that is possible w/ any hardwood mulch. The key is to keep the layer to only a couple of inches and not have any right up against any wooden house parts.

Like the people who create "volcanoes" around their tree trunks? :p You're right, no mulch should be placed right against a trunk and you certainly don't need more than a few inches of any mulch. The areas where I used the stump grindings is home to mature plants ... although I did plant a couple young abutilon in the same bed about a month later and they're growing like crazy and blooming right now. Course it helps that I live in the deep south. ;)