Pine is an inexpensive, soft wood that chips easily. Many homeowners clear out unwanted pine trees or deal with fallen limbs by chipping them. If you've been left with a pile of pine wood chips that is taking up useful yard space, try putting them to use in a number of landscaping and home applications.
What to Do With Pine Wood Chips?
Pine wood chips work well as a mulching material, but be careful about which plants you spread them around. Pine contains a high acidity level. Acid-loving plants like azaleas, blueberry bushes and tomatoes thrive when mulched with pine wood chips. If you'd like to mulch flowerbeds with sensitive plants in them, let the pine chips age while exposed to rainfall and sunlight to lower their natural acidity levels.
Waste wood chips burn to create heat, although they are not as efficient as kiln dried pellets or solid wood. An outdoor wood-burning furnace handles even green pine wood chips and produces enough heat for a home if you have a steady source of chips, says Vermont Heat Research. Pine creates a buildup of creosote when burnt, so the furnace and vent pipes will need to be cleaned monthly to prevent out-of-control fires. Pine wood chips shouldn't be burned in an indoor wood heater due to the increased fire risk.
Pine wood chips decompose slowly enough to be used as a soft walkway material, according to "Southeast Home Landscaping" by Roger Holmes and Rita Buchanan. Eventually wear and weathering causes the wood to break down, but if you've got a source of free or inexpensive pine chips, adding fresh material every few years won't be a problem. Pine chips will kill the grass below the walkway through high acidity, but brick or concrete pavers do the same by blocking sunlight.
If you don't have a use for the pine wood chips in their current state, try composting them. Wood waste breaks down into a rich and nutrient-filled soil amendment, but it needs the right conditions. Mix layers of pine chips with green vegetable matter, used coffee grounds or manure, recommends Taylor Rental, which creates the right moisture level for the bacteria to begin the breakdown process. A compost pile with too much brown, dry material in it like wood chips won't decompose properly.