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Worms and Woodchip

 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
Posts: 73
Location: United Kingdom
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I have heard various things about how good woodchip is but have concerns over what it does to worms. I have heard that woodchip is not good for worms as they can't digest the wood and it kills them. If using woodchip on your compost or mulch it is best to leave it for several weeks before applying or adding so the nasties in it don't harm the worms. Is this true?

Can anyone enlighten me on this?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I'm seeing only benefits from putting woodchips on the soil (on the surface, not dug in). Worms seem to love living under woodchips, in my experience.
 
Austin Max
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Location: South Central Kentucky
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I would second that opinion. Lots of worms underneath the mulch layer, and fewer pill bugs and bermuda grass than straw mulch from what I have seen.
 
Bruce Spierer
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Chip can be great for worms if used properly. Worms won't breakdown fresh chip; they are happiest in partly decomposed material, and are often found in fall leaf litter. If you want to compost the chip then build your pile and add the worms the material begins to break down. You don't need to worry burning them because they will migrate throughout the pile and find cool pockets.

If you want to use the chip as mulch leave the chip in pile make sure it is moist and turn it a few times until it begins to breakdown, then add the worms.

It also depends on the type of worms you're using. Red wigglers are terrestrial and work horizontally, but they eat about 1/2 their body weight in two days. Earthworms work vertically and will dive deep into the soil, but they are much slower eaters.

If you are already doing vermicomposting on site chances are worms will find their way into the compost and woodchip piles over time.
 
Leila Rich
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I spread loads of mulch, straight out of the chipper, on paths, round trees, on perennial gardens...
Worms LOVE it and it's fun watching birds doing a frantic scratch-dance to get at them
I'm on sand and organic matter vanishes really fast. I just dump more on top as the mulch thins out.
 
wayne stephen
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My neighbor had a wood chip pile dumped onto her yard for one reason. Fish bait. The pile is full of worms 3 years later.
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Location: United Kingdom
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Thanks guys. I feel a little easier using woodchip on my beds and compost pile now.
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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Woodchips, especially dry will cut into their delicate bodies... If you have to have them there, apply conservatively and yes, on the surface...

All my paths in my garden are hardwood chips from downed trees on my property... If I occasionally dig up part of the path, I'll find many worms
within 3 inches of the surface...
 
Wenderlynn Bagnall
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Location: United Kingdom
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I don't want to hurt the worms. I suppose it's just getting a balance of what we can use that's less harm than the alternative.
 
Sam White
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Location: Caerphilly, Wales, UK
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forest garden trees woodworking
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Anyone have any problems with slugs making their home in woodchip? We seem to have tons of the blighters and they hit some of our broadbeans pretty hard and even seen slugs chomping on the leaves of a pear tree (both mulched with woodchip).
 
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