I plan to amend the soil with wood chips by tilling them up to 40cm into the soil(should I go depper?) , going heavy on nitrogen fertilizer and planting alfalfa while decomposition takes place. I did the math, and in order to increase the organic matter by 5%, I need to add about 25kg per square meter.

That is a lot wood chips. Is there anyting to be aware of regarding use of wood chips for soil amending purposes? Are there any bad side effects? Once decomposed, will the soil have too much fertilizer?

  • There is one unwelcome side effect which springs to mind immediately - all those wood chips will produce a great many fungal growths, but as long as you don't mind an excess of toadstools, mushrooms and slime moulds for a 1-4 years, even if the fungal growths are toxic, they should not affect your crop. Otherwise, what kind of wood chips exactly?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 9:36
  • Thanks for stopping by. That is interesting. I am not sure about which kind yet. Probably the cheapest ones. Should some wood chips type be avoided?
    – potato
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 14:06
  • 1
    Yes - black walnut for instance. But 'wood chips' is an indeterminate term - you might mean chippings from a woodmill, chippings from an arborist, or bark chips. Most wood chippings are used as mulch, that is, on top of the soil, not dug into the soil in large amounts. Info here agrilife.org/etg/fresh-wood-chips-for-mulch-harmful-or-good
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


You may want to do a soil test before adding all of that. Some wood chips might raise the acidity levels in addition to providing organic matter as they decompose.

  • Do you have any info on which kind cause acidic side effect?
    – potato
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 14:07
  • Pine or oak I would think
    – LarryH
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 17:53
  • Googled it. That is really interesting stuff. Thank you sir.
    – potato
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 20:26

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