I as well use a generous amount of wood chips on our farm to reclaim part of the pasture that was used as a car dumping ground. It's such a beautiful part, too. Nice and flat, with good light and a nice microclimate perfect for growing fruit trees.
Here is my formula for how I do it:
1) Stalk the Asplundh guys and bribe them with beer if they drop clean loads of chips in the pasture.
2) Give them the beer when they come through for me.
3) When it's starting as grass, I mow it very short, then spread horse, rabbit, chicken and/or duck manure and bedding in a 2 inch layer.
4) Then cover with 6-8 inches of wood chips and mulched tree debris.
7) A year later, I start planting in holes that I dig and fill in with the plant and compost.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I have successfully brought back a 1/4 acre sized area of left behind, raw, used up, gravelly clay into rich, loamy, critter-rich planting soil. I'm still working on this area and will continue into another part of our forgotten pasture that has been assaulted by Scotchbroom and Salal at a ghastly rate. I'm doing this all with a wheelbarrow, time, and a generous supply of podcasts to keep me company.
So far I have spent zero dollars reclaiming this area of our farm - the manure is free, the chips are free, my labor is free. And I don't have to pay to go to a gym.
I am a total believer in wood chips as soil reclamation. My only irritation this spring has been a load that was dropped off with ivy and holly shredded in it. So it's just gonna sit under a black tarp for another year or so to make sure it all dies. And even then, I will be selective of where I put those chips. I'm only gonna put them where I can keep an eye on them. Because after a nuclear holocaust, all that will be left is cockroaches and friggin' English ivy.
I have a packet of Mycorrhizal Fungi that came with some seeds I ordered, and you guys reminded me I gotta spread that in the pasture. I haven't had to inoculate with other mushrooms bc the chips seem to bring enough with them. Non-edible but pretty and I just leave them alone. Save one really great load of chips that brought Morels to my garden. At least I think that's what happened. They are there now and delicious!
A note on horse poo. It can pass on weeds. Alpaca is the BEST. Bunny a close second. Duck 3rd. Horse 4th. Chicken poop bringing up the rear.
And you know
that I meant all of that pun to happen.