What to Do with Wood Chips from Stump Grinding?

Trees are a great addition to every yard, but sometimes they need to come down. Yard damage, landscaping changes, and other circumstances may mean chopping a tree from crown to stump. While a wood chipper will take care of branches that are felled, in most cases, you will still be left with an intimidating stump. 

A tree stump can take a bit of effort to get rid of, but fortunately, a stump grinder can make the process much easier. In addition to getting rid of an unsightly stump, a stump grinding service also produces large piles of wood chips for you to use on your property. Stump removal makes a lot of wood pieces, so finding a use for all of them may take creative thinking, more on that below. 

What Is Stump Grinding Mulch?

Tree stump grinding creates wood mulch from stump wood that is usually sent to a single pile near the grinder. The pile of wood chips will grow, and you will be able to use the wood material for mulch around plants and trees. The easier thing to do is just leave the wood chip mulch right where the stump wood was and let it break down on site.

If you’ll be moving the mulch to flower beds, load a garden cart and dump the stump-grinding mulch exactly where you want it.  Bothersome stumps may try to grow back, but stump wood, chipped and piled high, will prevent resprouting and help make the soil even more fertile. Mulch from stump grindings makes a great addition to the layer of wood chips in your yard and garden. 

What Can Mulch From A Ground Stump Do?

Removing Stump Grind Mulch

Mulch from stump chippings can be used all around your yard and garden to maximize plant growth and become nutrient-rich compost, all from tree stump grinding. The entire stump will become a pile of stump grindings that saves money on trucking mulch for landscaping projects. Figuring out what leftover stump grindings can do will help you use them better and in the correct location. 

Weed Removal

Much like evergreen needles, a layer of mulch will suppress weed growth and can help with tasks like sheet mulching or lasagna gardening. A 1-inch base layer of wood chippings can slow weed growth, whereas a thicker 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch will kill weeds and grass plants, making it easier to plant a garden without needing to till the soil. This can be helpful in courtyard gardens and places that used to have turf but now will have edible plants. 

Nutrient Supplement

Garden mulch breaks down into a nutrient-rich plant food but can take several months to do so. To make the wood compositing process quicker and give bacteria and fungal systems in the soil more opportunity to break down wood chips, add a high-nitrogen fertilizer as well. Using a leaf rake to thinly layer wood chips and then a layer of compost can raise the soil grade quickly and build ideal garden soil. 

Compost Pile Carbon Materials

The composting process needs nitrogen and carbon, and while grass clippings and green kitchen waste are abundant brown high-carbon materials are less available. Layers of wood chips mixed into the organic waste in a compost pile can help balance the microbes and increase the quality of the soil. A previous stump can easily become high-quality garden soil when composted correctly.

Moisture Retention

Chippings after stump grinding can be layered in garden beds and around plants to increase moisture retention. When drip lines are placed under mulch, there is very little evaporation, and water is more efficient and beneficial for the roots and microorganisms under the soil. Without mulch, most of the water will evaporate, and watering systems could cause erosion and expose vulnerable plant roots. 

Other Wood Chip Uses

PathsLay on areas where walking is neededReduces compaction and prevents puddles during rainy seasons
Garden BedsPlace 1 to 3 inches of mulch around plants in garden bedsRetains moisture, cools soil from direct sun, suppresses weeds, and discourages pests
High Traffic AreasPlace on areas of the lawn where bare earth is exposed or pets and children play regularly Prevents turf death and stops invasive weeds from entering while reducing compaction and reducing ruts and grooves in the soil
Erosion ControlLeave the mulch in areas where water moves through quickly, such as under downspouts or in gulliesKeeps soil in place and prevents large gullies and erosion damage from forming
Innoculate with MushroomsApply wood-loving spores to the chopped-up stump and mulch chippings Creates a large network of mycelium that will aid other plants nearby and break up any remaining woody material in the soil


Having dedicated paths to walk along throughout your lawn and garden can help reduce compaction on the turf and veggie beds. Wood chips from stump grinding are a cheap addition to help define and protect paths from use issues. Yard paths are susceptible to erosion during the rain and can kick up dust when it is dry, but a layer of wood chips prevents both of these issues.  

Garden Beds

Wood Chips Garden Beds

When it comes to garden beds, the best thing you can do is cover the soil with as much mulch as possible. Plants in gardens are exposed to heat and pests, and stump wood chips can help reduce stress on your garden plants. Wood chips can hold moisture for longer and lock it down where the roots need it most. Filling your garden beds with mulch will also deter pests and suppress most weed growth. 

High-Traffic Areas

Play areas and pet runs may need a little help, and wood chips are just the thing to use. Compaction from foot traffic can cause weeds, pests, and drainage issues, but a layer of mulch can reduce those effects drastically. Larger chunks of wood chips hold up better for this use, whereas the smaller pieces can better be used in potted plants or compost. 

Erosion Control

When water moves through our lawn and garden, it can take our topsoil with it. The fertile soil helps grass and vegetables grow, and without it, only weeds and invasive pieces can thrive. Make sure to place wood chips anywhere the water moves quickly through your property to prevent erosion and help your plants grow better. 

Innoculate with Mushrooms

Even with a stump grinder, there may be bits of hardwood that cannot be removed. Digging it out can be a real hassle, but fortunately, there are mushrooms that love a hardwood feast. Innoculate the wood with the appropriate mushroom spores, and then watch as these bad boys reduce everything to dust over several months. Edible mushrooms can be grown and enjoyed, and the large mycelium network will benefit all other plants in your garden.