As a leader in the industry, the team at Reliable Peat get asked many questions about organic bark mulch and why it is so beneficial in landscapes and gardens. In the article Wood Chip Backyard Biology, by Klickitat County, explains the science behind organic mulch.
We encourage you to call Reliable Peat at 352-326-5432 or stop by our shop at 26744 CR 33 Groveland, Fl. And see and smell for yourself how fresh our organic mulch is, but don’t worry, we deliver our mulch to your home.
Wood chip Carbon & Nitrogen
The micro-organisms that decompose wood chips require nitrogen in amounts greater than are available in the wood chips alone. If additional nitrogen is not mixed with the wood chips, the micro-organisms will get the nitrogen they need from the soil, competing with plant roots for the nitrogen available in the soil. This is why bark mulch works to keep weeds down.
Wood Chips in Compost Piles
Most of the material you place in your backyard compost pile is high in nitrogen. Food waste and lawn/garden waste are the two most common ingredients of backyard compost piles, and both are high in nitrogen. Wood chips can be added to a compost pile to provide a better carbon:nitrogen ratio. Wood chips, with their rigid structure, also enhance the flow of air through the compost since they are less prone to compact. This is a good thing.
Wood Chips & Soil pH
Wood chips will lower soil pH, making it more acid. That is a good thing for acid loving plants like evergreen trees and shrubs, but might be bad for other plant species. In areas where soil is already neutral or acid, the addition of wood chips can result in excessively acid soil.
A layer of wood chips will help hold in moisture once it reaches the soil, but in low moisture areas it can prevent dry site adapted plants with extensive surface roots from getting moisture through dew and light rains.