After Care

Now that have ground out the stump you have been left with a pile of wood chips. These notes have been prepared to help you make use of the chippings in the garden. The chips can be composted and used as a mulch. The decomposition of chippings in garden soil causes microbes to absorb nitrogen and may upset the ph balance of the soil. A nitrogen rich soil additive may be of use to rectify this.

Flower Beds
If the stump was very small (less than 8-12 inches across) and in a flower bed you can get away with dispersing the debris from the grinding widely in the surrounding soil and generally levelling the flower bed. A periodic ph check will show if you need to add nitrogen to reduce acidity. If the stump was larger and you intend to replant, all the chippings shoud be removed and the hole re-filled with fresh topsoil. Fresh chippings used as mulch around annuals and perennials may kill them.

Out of the way spots
The pile of chippings and churned earth can be left over the hole. Nature will level the pile.

If you wish to grass the area where the stump was, all the chippings must be removed and fresh topsoil imported. If you don't, seed will not flourish and turf will perish.

 Using the chippings
Chippings can be used immediately to cover paths or play areas; chippings decompose slowly and soften the surface. If you have more than you can use you may be able to help a neighbour. You can use them as mulch around mature trees and shrubs. Wood chips from different trees have different levels of acidity; Ash, Beech and Oak can probably be used immediately around established subjects and wood chips from conifers may be used to mulch a Leylandii hedge. See the Mulching page for more details. To be on the safe side the chippings can be composted and the compost can be used to benefit trees and shrubs in the garden.

Composting chippings
The process of composting is chemically highly complex. This guide is designed to give the amateur gardener practical help. If you want more detailed information on composting and mulching, some web sites are given on the links page or your Garden Centre may be able to help. Small quantities of chippings can be added, a layer at a time to the compost heap, particularly if it is mainly grass clippings; the wood chip will add fibrous material. The time taken to turn fresh chippings into compost is indicated below.

Three years - Compost chippings alone
One year -  Mix in an equal volume of grass clippings or 5lbs of urea per cubic yard, and leave to decompose. Either additive will provide the necessary nitrogen.
Three months - As for one year but turn the pile over every week for one month and every two weeks thereafter and keep adding sufficient water to keep the pile moist.

 Other points to consider

The grinding process will have propelled stones and stone chips onto the lawn. Before mowing take care that all stones have been removed; they can blunt the mower and if thrown up during mowing can be dangerous to people, pets and glass!

The grinding process will prevent re-growth of most trees. However willow, poplar and some varieties of flowering cherry for example have a habit of regenerating, sometimes up to 5 years later. You have probably heard of the willow walking stick stuck in the ground in autumn, which sprouted roots by spring.

 Glyphogan is a recommended herbicide. Makhteshim~Agan (UK) Ltd, Unit 16, Thatcham Business Village, Colthrop Way, Thatcham, Berkshire RG19 4LW, Tel 01653 860555 Fax 01653 861555. or SBK products such as Roundup may be considered.

Honey Fungus
Visit our Honey Fungus FAQs page 


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