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are the words 'wood chips' and 'bark chips' being used to mean the same thing?

 
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I wonder if some of the time when folks here talk about using wood chips that they are really speaking about bark chips?

Here, anyway, the only place we can get wood chips, other than having our own chipper, is by catching the power company chipper and getting them to drop off a load.  Otherwise we can get bark chips at the many sawmills around here by the truck load (and sawdust also).

I would love to source more wood chips...they are just not so readily available in this area as bark...




 
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Judith,

Going to channel Marco- whom I have learned quite a bit from. Any wood is good. This distinction from sawdust to chips to hugel logs is not as important as getting and integrating material.

That being said, small high surface area rapidly decomposing size stuff like sawdust, leaves  and bark chips are going to promote low oxygen levels and high nitrogen uptake. If you can, I would integrate that in the fall with a lot of nitrogen material and actually till it in to mix with the dirt- basically compost in place. And you may need to turn it just like compost because that is what it is. You could use a broadfork or live-turn it with vermiposting if it is deep enough. Honestly if the amount of dust-size is initially low, you should be absolutely fine with deep bark mulch and plant as normal for back to eden in 4-6months.  

I have a post on how to get wood chips and I have gotten hundreds of yards. The best way of getting them is relationships with those utility clearing people for you most likely. Bribery is key. Like I give produce to them or beer or venison or whatever gets me chips.

My best source has been the gas station near here around quitting time! Last time a case of beer got me two loads, so about $9 a load.




 
Judith Browning
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Judith,

Going to channel Marco- whom I have learned quite a bit from. Any wood is good. This distinction from sawdust to chips to hugel logs is not as important as getting and integrating material.

That being said, small high surface area rapidly decomposing size stuff like sawdust, leaves  and bark chips are going to promote low oxygen levels and high nitrogen uptake. If you can, I would integrate that in the fall with a lot of nitrogen material and actually till it in to mix with the dirt- basically compost in place. And you may need to turn it just like compost because that is what it is. You could use a broadfork or live-turn it with vermiposting if it is deep enough. Honestly if the amount of dust-size is initially low, you should be absolutely fine with deep bark mulch and plant as normal for back to eden in 4-6months.  

I have a post on how to get wood chips and I have gotten hundreds of yards. The best way of getting them is relationships with those utility clearing people for you most likely. Bribery is key. Like I give produce to them or beer or venison or whatever gets me chips.

My best source has been the gas station near here around quitting time! Last time a case of beer got me two loads, so about $9 a load.






Thanks TJ...I agree...all woody inputs are good.  

My interest was if folks were using the words 'bark' and 'wood' interchangeably? I don't look at them as the same material even if they are both from a tree more of a semantics thing for me than anything I guess and possibly confusing for someone new who thinks the bags of 'bark' at the big box store are 'wood' chips?

We use a variety of mulches...straw, bark, pine needles, etc...sawdust for the blueberries...and we have never tilled anything in...'breaking' ground with a broadfork sometimes (and in the past a shovel and pick and pry bar) but now, usually only heavy mulch of some sort.
 
Tj Jefferson
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Judith,

lots of perfection is the enemy of the good... Ramial wood chips are the best, no question. There are some articles out there that lay out the physical differences- bark on the surface will last longer- it is made to be a moisture barrier. The electrolyte differences between the different wood sources are significant. Pine versus hardwood versus softwood, they are all different. I was looking for a good article with the various mineral components, maybe someone esle will chime in. That article is OK, bu low on specifics. I just mix the mulch as much as possible (i have three different loads in the pile right now). I do the same, I made a blueberry area because I got a huge load of pine chips with needles. I actually plant based on the carbon source I have and propagate stuff about 6 months out when I lay the chips/wood. So it is all based on what wood sources I can get.

I just lay them down as thick as possible (my planting areas currently have 18" on them) and let the microbes get to work. I do not have sawdust, that would require integration or inoculation I would think.

I just took a picture of a new bed with integrated chips. Crimson clover and collards now by summer will be rich soil.
IMG_20171222_075737794.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20171222_075737794.jpg]
new bed
 
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Judith Browning wrote:I wonder if some of the time when folks here talk about using wood chips that they are really speaking about bark chips?

Here, anyway, the only place we can get wood chips, other than having our own chipper, is by catching the power company chipper and getting them to drop off a load.  Otherwise we can get bark chips at the many sawmills around here by the truck load (and sawdust also).

I would love to source more wood chips...they are just not so readily available in this area as bark...






It is being answered  in this video by Paul. You need the alive green material (chipped branches,twigs,leaves,needles etc.) that feed the soil in a quick manner and the more woody material
stays on top to cover the soil and retain moisture etc. So the answer would be wood chips t.You can also check the second video.








 
Tj Jefferson
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Panagiotis, who is the Paul in the first video? There are no tags on the videos. Great stuff!
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you all...great information

My question still is,  'do some folks call what is really 'BARK' chips 'WOOD' chips?'

They are different...I understand the difference and their uses and appropriate applications....I just wonder if some think that BARK chips, sold for landscaping are the same as WOOD chips obtained from a whole tree are the same thing....as I said in the beginning I am questioning the words, and the fact that WOOD chips seems to be used when the writer really means BARK....

I'll go have more coffee now

Sorry I'm not more clear although you've both given wonderful information and links for wood/bark mulches.

 
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Tj Jefferson wrote:Panagiotis, who is the Paul in the first video? There are no tags on the videos. Great stuff!



Paul Gautschi.  He is the guy the documentary Back to Eden film was about.  He coined the term.  If you are interested in that method of gardening, I highly recommend watching the film.

Judith, in answer to your question, I think most people who are familiar with the film and that form of gardening do not use the terms interchangeably.  I know I don't.  I don't always make a distinction between ramial wood chips and whole chipped trees, but bark chips are entirely different, and if people are calling bark wood chips, I would say that is misuse of the word.
 
Judith Browning
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My husband suggests I change the title so that it doesn't sound as though I'm asking which is better....I love the info posted so far and I see where if someone only reads the title and not my first post that the thought/question is unclear.

 
Judith Browning
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Judith, in answer to your question, I think most people who are familiar with the film and that form of gardening do not use the terms interchangeably.  I know I don't.  I don't always make a distinction between ramial wood chips and whole chipped trees, but bark chips are entirely different, and if people are calling bark wood chips, I would say that is misuse of the word.



thank you Todd...I hope most folks here do differentiate those different parts of a tree.  Next time I notice in a thread I'll just have to ask at that moment  

Our local sawmills have a bark stripper of some sort that they use for pine mostly.  I love it for mulch.  When Steve was doing a lot of wood working he would produce bags of fruit wood chips and shavings that were wonderful in the garden.  We've only been able to have a large pile of ramial wood delivered once...hot hot steaming pile of goodness.  Not sure I can have that here in town now so we stick with the bark and pine needles.


 
Tj Jefferson
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Todd Parr wrote:

Tj Jefferson wrote:Panagiotis, who is the Paul in the first video? There are no tags on the videos. Great stuff!



Paul Gautschi.  He is the guy the documentary Back to Eden film was about.  He coined the term.  If you are interested in that method of gardening, I highly recommend watching the film.

Judith, in answer to your question, I think most people who are familiar with the film and that form of gardening do not use the terms interchangeably.  I know I don't.  I don't always make a distinction between ramial wood chips and whole chipped trees, but bark chips are entirely different, and if people are calling bark wood chips, I would say that is misuse of the word.



Todd, what is funny is that I have been doing similar stuff for twenty years, but have never known there were others doing it until recently. I have read a bunch if things but honestly just don't watch much videos/podcasts because my time is at a premium. I retain from reading at a very high rate and so it is what I prioritize. Every so often I do have a video recommended (I have watched several you have recommended) and they have really enriched things. I get a little caught up doing the work and forget to share the fun, and just watching him in his garden was awesome, and now there is a face for the name!

 
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A little of my knowledge.

Bark is as was stated earlier what a sawmill scrapes off the outside of a log before running into the saw. They do this to get rid of dirt, and maybe some nails,  that would damage the saw blade. This is the best compared to wood chips. Wood chips have mostly wood particles where bark has mostly bark. Wood chips are bad around your house or buildings as they attract termites. Bark won't attract the termites. Most bugs are under the bark or in the wood but I guess they leave the bark.

Between soft and hard wood bark; the hardwood bark will give you a nice almost black mulch, the softwood bark has a light color and looses what color it has as a season progresses. The hardwood bark will retain its deep rich color.

The colored mulch is the best for attracting termites, they love it.
 
Todd Parr
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John Duda wrote:A little of my knowledge.

Bark is as was stated earlier what a sawmill scrapes off the outside of a log before running into the saw. They do this to get rid of dirt, and maybe some nails,  that would damage the saw blade. This is the best compared to wood chips.



John, "best" is very much determined by what you are trying to accomplish. For people doing Back to Eden gardening, ramial wood chips are generally considered the "holy grail". They break down into the best soil and are really a joy to work with.
 
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Tj Jefferson wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:

Tj Jefferson wrote:Panagiotis, who is the Paul in the first video? There are no tags on the videos. Great stuff!



Paul Gautschi.  He is the guy the documentary Back to Eden film was about.  He coined the term.  If you are interested in that method of gardening, I highly recommend watching the film.

Judith, in answer to your question, I think most people who are familiar with the film and that form of gardening do not use the terms interchangeably.  I know I don't.  I don't always make a distinction between ramial wood chips and whole chipped trees, but bark chips are entirely different, and if people are calling bark wood chips, I would say that is misuse of the word.



Todd, what is funny is that I have been doing similar stuff for twenty years, but have never known there were others doing it until recently. I have read a bunch if things but honestly just don't watch much videos/podcasts because my time is at a premium. I retain from reading at a very high rate and so it is what I prioritize. Every so often I do have a video recommended (I have watched several you have recommended) and they have really enriched things. I get a little caught up doing the work and forget to share the fun, and just watching him in his garden was awesome, and now there is a face for the name!



Tj, glad to hear you enjoyed it. I think that, like you, lots of people did what Paul did, but he really brought it into the public eye. It was really eye-opening for me and completely changed the way I garden. Im very grateful for that.
 
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Todd Parr said:

"John, "best" is very much determined by what you are trying to accomplish."

I agree. If your primary goal is to add to a compost pile then you could use either wood chips or Bark, except that sometimes wood chips are free. I don't know where yo get bark for free around here.

However if your goal is to mulch beds near your home the worst thing you could do is to use wood chips, unless you like termites. Well.... maybe rubber tire mulch is worse. Think tire fire!

Another thing if you put either in your bed or garden with non acid loving plants add lime under the chips/bark.
 
Tj Jefferson
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John,

Another thing if you put either in your bed or garden with non acid loving plants add lime under the chips/bark.



I will try to get some pictures (kind of rainy right now), but I have been mixing entire bucket loads of rock dust in with the chips in areas I want to rapidly build soil. The rock dust has enough calcium to neutralize the worst of the "hot" decomposition, and grass (and even clover which hates low pH) are sprouting in it. People forget that dolomitic lime is just a specific rock dust, and you can often Macgiver your way to a complete amendment. The price point is dramatically lower.  I made a post on it.  

I agree that the top layer is best to put on bark if you can get it. There aren't alot of sawmills locally so I use cedar chips on top when I can get them, they should be durable for years and don't attract termites. So far it certainly hasn't prevented decomposition of the mulch below it, but I only put it where I am planting a mature (I hope) system and don't anticipate adding chips. Once the cedar goes down I anticipate having to add liquid amendments like Sea-90 to penetrate the top level. I would treat bark the same way.
 
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i think wood chips and bark are very different, but indeed some people call bark chips incorrectly as wood chips.

i.e. when i ordered 4 cubic meters of wood chips from my local mill, i got back chips. and i said this is bark chips, he said 'we call it wood chips'. anyway it was so cheap. i also have 4 cubic meters or so of horse manure, so i am going to spread the manure over an area, spread a mix of cover crops and then cover with bark.
 
Judith Browning
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I liked this differentiation from this article in this link that was just shared in another thread...  http://www.snakeroot.net/farm/InPraiseOfChips.shtml

Chips are coarser than the coarsest sawdust or shavings or shingle hair. They range in size from a quarter to a slice of bread. In general, there are three kinds of wood chips we might come into contact with: industrial chips, bark chips and ramial chips.



He goes on to explain and discuss in more detail at the page linked to above.
 
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