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are composted wood shavings acidic?

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are composted wood shavings acidic?

Post  tkdtara84 on 5/5/2011, 4:31 pm

We've been clearing out the back part of our yard up next to the woods, and I found a nice big pile of wood shavings that I'm assuming was left from where the previous owners cut down a tree and just left the shavings. I think I read somewhere about wood being acidic.

I'm not sure what kind of wood it is-- could be maple since there are lots of those around. It's pretty well composted. It's been there for at least 5 years since we bought the house, probably much longer.

Anyhow, could/should I add that to some new MM I'll be mixing soon, or would it be too acidic? I'm also planning to plant some azaleas, rhododendrons, and blueberries, (not in SFG) which need acidic soil, so if it is acidic, I could mix a lot of that in with those plantings as well. There's a huge pile of it, so there's plenty if it would work for both.

Also, unrelated to SFG-- the flower bed where I plan to plant the azaleas and rhododendrons has tons of composted leaf mold from being up next to the woods and the elderly POs not raking it for years. Are composted leafs acidic as well, meaning that the soil should already be nice for azaleas, etc.? Most of the trees are maples.

Thanks!
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tkdtara84

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Re: are composted wood shavings acidic?

Post  camprn on 5/5/2011, 4:38 pm

Wow what great questions!!!! If it were my yard this is what I would do... I would remove some of the leaf mold and hold it aside for my SFG, for top dressing or mixing into the ground in the fall. I would then use the wood chips for mulch under & around the newly planted shrubs and not use any in my Mel's mix. Not because they are acidic, but because they are chunky.

It is true that wood upon the ground depletes a small amount of nitrogen from the soil nearby, so I generally use wood chips for pathways and such. Because you said the chips have been hanging around a while they would probably make excellent mulch material. If you have any pine needles you could place those around your acid loving shrubs too! Very Happy
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Re: are composted wood shavings acidic?

Post  tkdtara84 on 5/5/2011, 10:39 pm

That pile was kind of hidden by brush. If I had seen it sooner, I wouldn't have had to run around like a madwoman looking for a fifth kind of compost. It looks like it's composted sawdust, so it's actually not too chunky at all. The dirt underneath it is unbelievable. That whole back bed is really pretty fantastic. It's probably had over a hundred years of composted leafs on it. I think it might give MM a run for its money-- but it's in shade, so not much hope there.

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll use it with the flowers and just add in a little sulfur to be on the safe side. I really should spring for one of those soil testers, but I'd rather spend the $20 on plants. Smile
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