How to compost wood chips fast: a step-by-step guide and useful tips for gardeners

How To Compost Wood Chips Fast: Step-By-Step-Guide & Tips Composting for Beginners

Quite often, wood chips are used to make compost. It often remains after cutting down a tree, or during the preparation of firewood. However, many are interested in the question, of how to compost wood chips fast.

how to compost wood chips fast

How to compost wood chips fast: speeding up the preparation

If you wonder how to compost wood chips fast, several methods are relevant in such cases. To begin with, you should prepare small wood chips, as well as check the nitrogen and carbon in the compost.

What items and tools are required to

To speed up the composting of wood chips, certain tools should be prepared, namely:

  • pitchfork and wood chipper;
  • trimmed lawn grass;
  • fertilizers;
  • fresh wood chips;
  • coffee grounds.

If you are wondering, how do you compost a pile of wood chips, follow these guidelines.

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Reduce chip size

As you know, the thinner and smaller wood chips are, the faster it breaks. The same rule applies to wood chips. Large sections of wood chips take longer to decompose. If you notice that the wood chips decompose for a long time, then you have crushed them too coarsely. You have to repeat the process.

To do this, you should prepare a special device – a chopper.

If this is not possible, it makes sense to pay attention to other methods.

The right amount of nitrogen-rich materials in the compost

Some gardeners speed up the decomposition process of wood chips by adding special substances rich in nitrogen to the compost pile. This contributes to the heating of the heap. You can use ready-made fertilizers, or pay attention to a composting agent. It has a lot of nitrogen, which brings the desired effect.

A simpler and more affordable method is the use of natural organic material, in which there is a high concentration of nitrogen. To do this, you can use grass from the lawn, coffee grounds, vegetable or fruit scraps, fresh leaves, and flowers. Such components increase the number of microbes that start the process of composting wood chip pile.

Remember not to exceed the allowable dosages of nitrogen. Many people think that a large compost pile needs to be loaded with a lot of nitrogen to speed up the composting process. However, this is a wrong opinion. If you exceed the dosage, you cannot control the number of bacteria.

Therefore, a compost pile with an unpleasant odor is formed, which looks more like a swamp. Such compost will be unsuitable for further use. The nitrogen level should be at 20%. The remaining 80% are wood chips and carbonaceous components. If you follow the recommendations, you get a good chip pile.

In winter, it is better to focus on fertilizers, which help speed up the decomposition process. In winter, finding cut grass or leaves is quite problematic, so fertilizer is the best option. The use of ammonia in the form of ammonium nitrate is allowed.

This is a fairly quick method of adding nitrogen to the compost pile. Some gardeners use commercial fertilizers that contain a high concentration of ammonium sulfate. It increases the level of nitrogen but helps to lower the pH of the soil.

If the pH values ​​are high, then there is a lot of alkali in the compost. To normalize the balance, it is recommended to place it in a more acidic environment. Animal manure is no less in demand. It is best to use horse manure. These animals eat a lot of grass clippings and organic material.

Therefore, equine gut microbes naturally increase nitrogen levels. You can find manure for free at the nearest local stable.

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Heating the compost pile

Composting wood chips is fairly quick when it’s warm outside. This is because the compost pile heats up under the influence of the sun. In the cool season, do not turn the compost over because this contributes to heat loss, and the decomposition of the components is slow.

Quite often, gardeners use the hot composting method. Therefore, you can also apply it to speed up the decomposition of wood chips. By doing this, you can use the compost in the garden much faster.

If you decide to use the hot composting method, you should prepare a special thermometer to check the temperature readings. The more heat in the compost pile, the faster the process of decomposition of the components. On average, temperatures should range from 100 to 160℉.

You cannot raise the temperature too much because a compost pile will dry out. In this case, it is better to immediately prepare large compost piles because they are composted faster. You can increase the amount of water and oxygen so that the fresh wood chips break down faster.

It is better to refrain from turning over the compost in winter. However, ventilation is very important because it increases the amount of heat. To do this, you can move materials from the outside to the center, where the highest temperature is maintained.

You can also add some water; however, it should not completely soak the compost. The water keeps the compost from drying out and encourages beneficial microbes to grow.

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Frequent turning of compost pile with wood chips

As soon as the central part of the compost is heated to the optimum temperature, the composting process is slower. Therefore, you need to additionally turn the compost. This contributes to the saturation of the heap with oxygen and improves drainage. In this case, microbes spread throughout the wood compost pile.

Turning should be carried out at intervals of several weeks. In cool seasons, intervals can be increased to 1-1.5 months. Otherwise, the heat escapes faster and the composting slows down. Turning can be done with a fork or a special aerator.

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Formation of compost from wood chips

If you have already formed a compost heap with wood chips, it is not necessary to forego the application of wood chips. You can also add other high-carbon components such as twigs, tree bark, and cardboard. Compost heaps must be handled with care.

To form a proper compost, lay a good layer of wood chips on the ground. Then add grass clippings, food waste, nitrogenous, and other organic materials. After that, you need to lay the compost wood chips again.

You should not refuse to use manure before adding more wood chips.

Compost is laid in layers. However, do not immediately increase the nitrogen content. Vary the number of layers depending on the size of the heap. However, it is important to maintain a balance of carbon and nitrogen. 4 parts of carbon should be 1 part of nitrogen.

Don’t forget to turn your compost heap over. Wood chips have one important advantage – the transmission of oxygen. However, this does not mean that you should trust chance and not take part in the decomposition of the compost.

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Uses for wood chip compost

Once the wood chip mulch is ready, you can start using it in your garden. Even if the wood is not completely decomposed, use is allowed. Such compost helps to divert water and prevent the development of pests.

Weeds grow more slowly and plants do not adversely affect by frost. Regardless of how you plan to use your wood chip compost, you are recycling organic material, which is always beneficial.

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How to compost wood chips fast: benefits

Many people wonder, can I compost wood chips? Yes, these organic materials are versatile and have several important advantages. Mulch from such compost, as already mentioned, helps to retain moisture. It also helps regulate temperature and prevent erosion.

Wood chips help to saturate the soil with nutrients that increase the nitrogen content. This is very important for the growth and development of some plants in the garden and the garden. Some gardeners are sure that you need to start composting wood chips before you start adding them to your landscape design.

However, this recommendation may not always be relevant.

Fully finished wood chip compost is quite useful for landscaping and gardening. It contributes to the proper growth of most plants and prevents the development of weeds. Therefore, you do not have to clean up the site every week.


Most of the wood species are suitable for compost formation. If you use hardwoods such as hickory and oak, the decomposition process takes longer. Pine and yew are more pliable. There are several versatile kinds of wood that are suitable for composting wood chips.

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Cedar for wood chips

This tree contains a high concentration of resins, so it practically does not rot. The decomposition takes a long time. Not the best option if you need to compost quickly.

Black walnut for wood chips

The composition of this wood contains a component – juglone. It is very dangerous for some plants, so it must be used very carefully. If you make wood chips, the content of the toxin is reduced. However, you still need to keep safety measures in mind if you are worried about the condition of the garden.

Eucalyptus for wood chips

This type of tree can slightly inhibit the growth of other plants. However, if you make compost out of it, which decomposes, all dangerous components are destroyed. Therefore, you can easily use the tree to make versatile compost.

Processed tree for wood chips

Some gardeners use treated wood. However, it must be remembered that a large number of chemical components are used for processing, which can negatively affect the quality of the soil. Treated wood should not be used for compost.

If you decide to take such a step, you should provide a few precautions that help remove the chemical components.

You have to water the wood chip compost pile more often so that harmful toxins are eliminated faster. This is the only way you can prevent the negative impact of the wood chip pile on plants in the garden.

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How long do wood chips take to compost?

Quite often, gardeners wonder, how long does it take for wood chips to decompose? In the case of wood chips and shavings, decomposition takes 1-3 years. The exact timing depends on environmental factors. Also, the timing is affected by the number of green materials and the size of the wood.

How long should wood chips sit before putting on the garden?

Wood chip mulch can be used after 6-12 months. This period is enough for the soil around the plants to improve.

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As you can see, it is quite easy to speed up the decomposition of wood chip compost. To do this, you need to follow the simple and effective methods discussed in this article.

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