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I have a wooden fence that is 20 feet away from my house. Right next to this fence, I have planted various types of berries. I would like to mulch these berries with wood chip mulch because it is organic and it is cheaper than stone pebbles.

I have read that one should avoid putting wood mulch directly next to a wooden fence because it could attract termites.

  • Is this true?
  • Isn't the fence already wooden?
  • So how would introducing wooden mulch cause termites to appear?
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Termites, ey? Sounds like you might be in Australia?

You're probably aware of this, but termites don't travel out in the open. Instead, they dig tunnels through timber. That's why around sheds and timber buildings in Australia, you'll see that the timber footings and posts often sit on metal stirrups set into the concrete. Occasionally termites will find a way to make a mound next to one of those metal stirrups, and when the mound reaches the level of the timber, they can go in.

In your case, if the posts are already in the ground and the cement is not kept clean of debris, I don't imagine that the mulch would make much of a difference. But it will make a difference to the plants—our blueberries and black currants love bark mulch. But let's see what the others have to say.

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    I am in California, USA. It is common to see termite damage in the foundation of old houses. I didn't see any metal at the bottom of my fence slabs. I just saw the wood go directly into the dirt. Maybe my dirt is piled too high? – JoJo May 2 '14 at 5:17
  • @JoJo If timber goes straight into the ground, that's how termites get in, but I know close to nothing about the beasties you've got in California (rattle snakes and grizzlies, right?) – zx81 May 2 '14 at 6:12

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