What is Wood Chip Mulch?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton
Wood chip mulch comes in several wood types and colors.
Wood chip mulch comes in several wood types and colors.

Wood chip mulch is a type of protective cover for the ground, made by cutting up pieces of wood in a wood chipper. It may be made from yard waste, like tree branches, or by grinding tree stumps. It is commonly derived from many species of pine trees, but can actually be almost any type of wood.

This product may be cut into long, thin slivers, thick chips, or round nuggets. The size of this natural mulch may depend on what the intended use for it is. Wood chip mulch that is long and thin is typically used in flower beds or vegetable gardens; round nuggets around trees and shrubs; and big chips to cover large areas where weeds or erosion may be a problem.

Wood chip mulch is frequently made from pine trees.
Wood chip mulch is frequently made from pine trees.

When landscaping with mulch, it is usually used at a depth of three to four inches (.92 to 1.22 cm). When used in this way, it is often effective in preventing new weeds from sprouting. It can also help the soil to maintain a constant temperature and might even help it stay slightly warmer, thereby extending the growing season. Using this product can also reduce the need for watering because it sometimes helps keep the soil moist by preventing evaporation from occurring.

Wood chip mulch is usually medium to dark brown in color. It may also have a reddish hue when varieties like red oak or red cedar are used. Sometimes a black dye may be added to this product. In this instance, these wood chips are generally not safe to use around plants, but can be placed near walkways or playgrounds to add a decorative touch.

This natural mulch can be used in conjunction with other organic material, such as shredded leaves or grass clippings. It is thought to help provide nutrients to the soil when used along with cow manure or granular fertilizer. It can also be placed on top of inorganic material, like pea gravel. Gardeners may also want to place landscape fabric in a flower bed before placing these wood chips around their plants.

Wood chip mulch can usually be purchased in large bags from a nursery or garden supply store. It might also be available by the truckload from tree trimmers or landscape suppliers. Homeowners could also produce this product themselves by renting a wood chipper and placing their yard waste into it. No matter how this product is obtained, wood chips can be very beneficial for both home and commercial landscape projects.

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Discussion Comments


There are some very nice colored, organic mulch varieties now that are made of wood chips. They are colored with non-toxic, water based dyes that are not harmful for soil. So they can be used around gardens and flower beds without problems.

It's a good idea to ask the manufacturer about what type of dyes they are using before buying mulch, especially if it is going to be bought in bulk. I like brown colored wood chip mulch. We have used it on our yard and it looks very beautiful.


@donasmrs-- Wood chip mulches vary in price based on the type of wood used. Some types of wood are more expensive.

If you are looking for the most affordable wood chip mulch, that's eco mulch which is made from by-products of wood industries. It's cheap but unfortunately, it doesn't have the best color. If you don't mind paying more, and if you want a nice colored wood chip mulch that's also beneficial for soil, then I recommend pine, hemlock or cedar mulch. I think cedar mulch is the best. It has a nice reddish color and fragrant scent. Cedar mulch also works as an insect repellent. But like I said, these cost more, with cedar usually costing the most.


I'm looking for an affordable wood chip mulch with a pleasant color and appearance. Can anyone recommend a type of mulch for me?

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    • Wood chip mulch comes in several wood types and colors.
      By: rickster007
      Wood chip mulch comes in several wood types and colors.
    • Wood chip mulch is frequently made from pine trees.
      By: kav777
      Wood chip mulch is frequently made from pine trees.