Wood chunks are more oversized sliced woodblocks, whereas wood chips are thinner bits of wood. For electric and propane smokers, wood chips are fantastic. Perfectly sized for use in smaller wood boxes, the chips light up rapidly and generate an adequate amount of smoke.
Wood chips and chunks can benefit your garden, but some of them can be risky. For example, they can contain chemicals called allelopathic agents, which can cause nearby plants to shrink or die. However, there is little evidence that wood chips have such an effect on established plants. Some types of wood chips and chunks are not allelopathic and are, therefore, safe to use. In addition, these materials can improve the flavor of your food and reduce nitrogen loss from the soil.
Less hazardous than untreated wood chips
One of the most significant differences between treated and untreated wood chips and chunks is their chemical makeup. Untreated wood chips contain more chemical diversity than treated ones, adding more nutrients to the soil. The downside to using wood chips is that they can attract termites, although the risk is relatively low.
Bagged wood chips and chunks come from trees used for industry. They contain chemicals and may be treated with herbicides and pesticides to reduce flammability. You can also use this type of mulch in situations where homeowners associations have a preference for a particular color.
While wood chips and chunks may look unappealing to vegetable gardeners, they can have several non-toxic benefits for a vegetable garden. The fungi in wood chips have hyphae that can penetrate the soil and draw up nitrogen. It’s also important to note that wood chips and chunks may contain bacteria, but these organisms are minute and cannot pull nitrogen from the soil.
Wood chips and chunks are excellent sources of carbon for the soil, which are beneficial for plants as it helps improve plant respiration and growth. Another benefit is that wood chips and chunks look neat and uniform. They also add a denser ground covering.
Improves flavor of food
Adding wood chips or chunks to your grill enhances the flavor of the food you’re cooking. The natural flavor compounds from wood help bring out the best flavors in your foods, primarily when you use small pieces of meat. So, by adding wood chunks to your grill, you can experience a richer flavor and a more enjoyable cooking experience.
Wood chips and chunks are a great way to add a unique flavor to meat, fish, and cheese. However, you must soak them in water before you use them to help the wood absorb more water and remain moist longer. In addition, the water content will satisfy the wood chips and last longer when exposed to heat.
Reduces nitrogen loss from soil
Using wood chips and chunks to mulch your landscape can help reduce nitrogen loss from your soil. Unlike other mulches, which turn into an impenetrable mat, wood chips stay on the soil’s surface and allow plants to establish their roots to reduce nitrogen loss in your landscape and create better-quality ground. Wood chips can also help regulate soil temperature, which keeps your plants healthy.
Wood chips can be applied to the soil on a bare spot in the spring or fall before cold weather starts. If you’re using wood chips to mulch a garden, make sure you use compost or leaf mulch on top of the wood chips to speed up the decomposition process and help the fertilizer mix with the wood chips.
Using wood chips and chunks in landscaping can attract termites because these materials create an environment perfect for pests. But you must keep them at least two feet away from your home. Also, avoid placing wood mulch near your foundation. These materials are more likely to attract existing termites rather than new ones.
Termites love dead wood. Especially in a basement, these materials provide an easy food source. Try to get rid of them. If not feasible, think about utilizing a stump grinder.
Prevents seedlings from germination
Using wood chips and chunks in seedbeds is one way to prevent seedlings from germination. They contain nitrogen and bind it to the soil. While wood chips are fine for surface mulch, they shouldn’t use them near annual flower or vegetable beds. Germination of seeds is a complicated process. Luckily, there are some ways to make it easier.
Wood chips provide a consistent, slow release of nutrients to the soil, helping both plants and beneficial microbes flourish. These microorganisms help decompose the wood chips and release nutrients accessible to the plant roots, which means that healthy, lush plants will grow in fertile soil. Healthy soil is a system, and wood chips help maintain its balance.