10 Ways to Compost Wood Chips Fast

Have you ever tried to make compost from wood chips? If not, you’re missing out on one of the easiest compost methods.

Wood chips are lightweight so they can be easily moved around. This allows them to be a great addition to any compost pile. You can make a warm and moist pile perfect for attracting worms and other small invertebrates. Wood chips are versatile and can be turned into a wide range of other products.

This article will teach how to use wood chips for composting and the best way to compost them.

Decomposition of Wood Chips

After tree removal, landowners often find themselves with a pile of wood chips. Chips are slow to decompose, so many people wonder how to get rid of them quickly. Decomposing wood chips create rich, dark humus perfect for growing seedlings. The ability to use wood chips as a soil amendment means that when you have a pile of decomposing wood bits, you can turn it into a space for planting things.

10 Methods to Decompose Wood Chips

1- Incorporate into hot compost piles

If you have a hot compost pile, adding wood chips to it before is an advantage. Wood chips will decompose slowly, so if adding to a compost pile, give them time to fully decompose before adding them to your vegetable or flower gardens.

2- Cover with a Tarp

Wood chips can be pounded and covered with burlap to keep the sun away and the heat in.

3- Incorporate into cold compost

Adding wood chips as a co-compost ingredient to a cold compost pile will help to promote the decomposition process. In the winter, this helps keep your compost pile warm and improve its quality. You can also add a bit of sawdust or shredded newspaper if you don’t want the compost pile to smell like something that is decaying.

4- Use wood chips for mulch around plants

In addition to using wood chips around plants, you can also use wood chips as a mulch on top of exposed soil in pots or around other plants. If you are trying to grow things in containers with dry soil, then wood chips are perfect for helping keep roots moist but allow for lots of air circulation above the soil surface so that many oxygen molecules can get in and out of the plant roots area through the soil.

5-Mulch your garden paths

Wood chips also work as a weed barrier to cover pathways and walkways in the garden. Whether using wood chips for pathways in the garden or mulching, it makes cleanup and maintenance much easier.

6-Spread over perennial beds

If you are using wood chips for soil amendments in the perennial beds, you will want them to be incorporated into the soil, not merely mixed into the surface. If you spread wood chips over or under your perennials and leave them until they are completely decomposed, their nutrients will end up in the soil.

7-Spread in natural areas

Wood chips can be used on their own or mixed with organic compost to create play areas for young children and adults. When spread throughout natural areas, the consumption of wood chips by those playing in them could add too much nitrogen to the soil, which can stress plants. In addition, wood chips do not have the same health benefits as compost, such as controlling diseases in plants like moulds and mildew. You can mix wood chips into your existing compost pile if you don’t spread them over a wide area.

8-Mix with grass clippings

When spreading grass clippings into the ground, many people add a few wood chips to the mix for their aesthetic appeal. While this may cause some nitrogen to end up in the soil, which may be fine for lawns, it is usually not a good idea to add too much nitrogen to this type of planting because plants can become more susceptible to diseases such as damping off. If you are putting wood chips in your garden with grass clippings, you must leave them until they become completely decomposed.

9-Mix with topsoil or compost

Using wood chips in your garden, consider mixing them with finished compost or topsoil. This is usually a better choice than adding them directly to the soil because you’ll get more nutrients and nitrogen, and they will break down before they release their carbon. Make sure you know, how often should you use compost tea.

10-Create pet bedding

If you want to create a pet bed in your garden and add wood chips, try using straws. The finished product looks like a big hay pile and is sturdier than ordinary straw. This type of hay is made from sawdust, straw, and wood chips. It’s usually very scratchy, so be careful not to harm your pets if you create this type of bed for them.

A different you should read: Worm Castings VS Compost

Methods To Compost Wood Chips Fast

Wood chips need proper conditions and air to break down. Air helps with the decomposition process. Too much air can cause odours that are unappealing to use and other problems.

  • Add heat to the pile
  • Make the wood chips as small as you can
  • Inoculate the pile
  • Add a nitrogen source to enhance decomposition
  • Maintain the temperature at a constant level
  • Keep it moist
  • Add a nitrogen source
  • Make the chips as small as possible

What wood chips can I use?

There are several wood chips that you can use. Oak and hickory are stubborn and will break down eventually.

Wood chip composting can be tricky as there are several things to consider.

1. Cedar

Cedar wood is naturally resistant to rot, so it will be slow to break down. Compost may not be ideal if you’re looking for fast compost.

2. Walnut

Walnut is very rot-resistant, but the size of the chips makes them difficult to use as a food source. If you’re going to try it, keep the chips small enough to fit on your compost pile.

3. Poplar

Poplar is a softwood, so it’s also great for making mulch. The downside of poplar is that it’s not very rot-resistant, so if you want to use it for composting, keep the size of the chips down.

4. Treated wood

The quality of wood chips from sawmills varies. Make sure to buy the best chips you can find. They will rot down slower than the rest and should be a good base for any compost pile.


Does nitrogen speed up composting?

Yes, if you add a nitrogen source to your compost. Nitrogen is what helps to break down the cellulose in wood. While you can use any nitrogen source, commercial fertilizers are a good choice. These come in liquid, granular, and tablet forms and are most commonly manufactured from either nitrates or ammonium salts. They’re also very safe for plants and animals, so there’s no need for concern about runoff or pollution with nitrogen applications. 

What is the fastest way to break wood chips?

Compostable materials decompose faster with control of the compostable material’s particle size, temperature, and volume. You can use a wood chipper to get the wood pieces as small as possible.

How long does it take wood chips to decompose?

It depends on the wood you use and how long you let it sit. Wood chips can be composted for up to three years, depending on the conditions. Some types of wood will decompose faster than others. For instance, pine and cypress chips will break down in one to four months, depending on the conditions.

Can worms break down wood chips?

Yes, but it requires time. Wood chips can be broken down by worms alone. However, the material usually has to stay in a pile for a while before the worms settle in and decompose it.


Wood chips are natural and can be added to your compost pile to help break down the organic matter. They are perfect for those who want to use less yard waste but want to get compostable materials. This article explored the basic information about wood chips and compost. Hope you had a good read. I hope you like the article. If you have any questions feel free to ask us in the comment section below.