mulch question

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Forum topic by Karda posted 03-10-2021 11:46 PM 587 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3382 posts in 1885 days

03-10-2021 11:46 PM

Hi, I have a small weeping cherry tree in my yard that needs mulching. I am turning ash right now and am wondering if the shaving would hurt the tree. thanks Mike

12 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


6319 posts in 2553 days

#1 posted 03-10-2021 11:54 PM

I compost my sawdust for the trees. What I’ve learned for my wife (master gardener) is sawdust takes nitrogen from the soil to decompose before turning into a nitrogen source for plants after composting.
Basically “fresh sawdust bad, composted sawdust good”

For mulch it seems you just want a bed of “stuff” to keep the weeds away and hold in moisture, not necessarily feed the plants. In that case it may be fine

Don’t you just love definitive advise? 8^)

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Don W

20277 posts in 3899 days

#2 posted 03-10-2021 11:59 PM

I’ve never heard of wood shaving being a problem to other plants. Livestock maybe in some cases,bit not plants.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Karda's profile


3382 posts in 1885 days

#3 posted 03-11-2021 12:03 AM

these will be ontop of a layer of leaves and won’t take nutrients from the tree.

Yes Don some sheaving will damage plant life. I asked last year the same question only more general. One guy said the only place he put walnut shaving is where he didn’t want anything to grow. another is pine and I think oak

View pottz's profile (online now)


22250 posts in 2315 days

#4 posted 03-11-2021 12:20 AM

splint is correct you shouldn’t use fresh wood shaving as mulch,some are worse than need to compost.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View tvrgeek's profile


2303 posts in 2980 days

#5 posted 03-11-2021 12:22 AM

No luck here yet, but in Md I woudl track down tree trimmers and just have them dump their chippei iin my yard for a 20. Saved them $60 for the dump. Win-Win.
Of course, only for use away from the house. Next to a house you want bug and fire treated.

View RClark's profile


235 posts in 3516 days

#6 posted 03-11-2021 12:54 AM

The only sawdust/shavings I avoid using as mulch are:

- Engineered products such as plywood, particle board, MDF, etc.

- Pressure treated lumber

- Walnut. Walnut trees produce juglone, a substance that is toxic to many other plants. The shavings can contain the substance as well. Other trees also produce juglone, but in lesser concentrations. Walnut is also not good for horses.

I know of no reason not to put the ash shavings out there.

-- Ray

View Karda's profile


3382 posts in 1885 days

#7 posted 03-11-2021 04:12 AM

ok thanks

View azwoodworker's profile


82 posts in 3113 days

#8 posted 03-11-2021 08:24 AM

Splinter group. Good to know about compost first. I’ve had mixed results on using it for covering seeds for adding grass.

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111 posts in 3305 days

#9 posted 03-12-2021 03:09 PM

Shavings okay. Sawdust by itself no. Sawdust will compact and prevent aeration and water from getting to the tree roots. The loose shavings will prevent compaction. And of course composting or at least mixing it in place with other matter also is good.

-- ajh

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3382 posts in 1885 days

#10 posted 03-12-2021 03:32 PM

Just to be clear I am not doing this for planting, this tree is old enough that shaving wont hurt it, not new planting. I just wanted to know if ash is toxic to plants thanks mike

View LesB's profile (online now)


3235 posts in 4774 days

#11 posted 03-12-2021 06:36 PM

I think you are fine using the shavings as a mulch to suppress weed and hold in moisture around shrubs and trees but not around perennials or shallow rooted plants like grass. The nitrogen stripping only occurs when the raw material is tilled into the soil not when it lays on top and slowly decays. Walnut leafs and shavings should never be used. Citrus waste is also bad. What happens is the the shavings decompose from the bottom and as they break down they release nutrients that wash down to the roots. Blueberry growers in my area mulch their relatively shallow rooted bushes with Douglas fir shavings; most readily available here, (ash or elm would be similar). It holds in moisture and helps acidify the soil (which blueberries 5.5 to 6.5). I find that 2” layer of shavings disappear in about a year when I place them around my trees and shrubs which I do every spring.

All that being said if you are doing this for the sole benefit of the trees as opposed to an easy to recycle you shop shavings (which is good), bulk compost from a landscape materials retailer would be the best. Even if you have to pay a delivery fee. Around here it sells for about $28 a yard if you have pickup or a friend with one. That is about 150 sq. feet of mulch 2” thick

-- Les B, Oregon

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3382 posts in 1885 days

#12 posted 03-12-2021 06:50 PM

this will looks and wed control

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