Can You Use Sawdust as Mulch? Right here’s What You Have to Know – Tiny Backyard Behavior

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There are lots of discussions within the gardening world about whether or not or not sawdust is an acceptable mulching materials. Some say it’s nice for weed suppression and moisture retention whereas others say it could do extra hurt than good. So, what’s the correct reply?

In brief, sure, sawdust can be utilized as mulch. So long as you’re cautious to not let it contact the bottom of your vegetation and so long as you add further nitrogen to your soil to stop main nutrient deficiencies, sawdust can show to be fairly helpful to vegetable gardens.

Learn on to be taught every part it’s essential to learn about utilizing sawdust in your backyard and how one can greatest forestall nutrient deficiencies and harm to your crops. I’ll additionally share another methods to include sawdust within the backyard with out utilizing it as mulch.

Why is mulching essential?

In my view, mulching is among the most essential issues you are able to do to take care of the life and well being of your backyard. A number of advantages come from mulching and there are such a lot of completely different supplies you should utilize as mulch.

In brief, the aim of mulching is to guard and enhance the standard of your soil. Not offered on mulching but? Listed below are simply among the ways in which your backyard will profit from the usage of mulch.

Weed suppression

Leaving soil uncovered makes it a lot simpler for weeds to germinate and unfold. By laying down mulch, weed seeds have a a lot more durable time rising via this thick layer of natural matter. It additionally limits the quantity of daylight that reaches the soil surfaces, limiting the expansion of weeds.

Moisture retention

Laying down an excellent layer of mulch locks moisture into your soil to assist forestall it from drying out in the course of the scorching summer season months. Ensuring your soil stays adequately moist will assist to stop stress amongst your backyard vegetation.

To be taught extra about moisture ranges and protecting your vegetation hydrated, try this text on the most effective time of day to water your vegetation. 

Erosion management

Uncovered soil additionally has the chance of being washed or blown away via pure occurrences like rain or wind. However, topsoil is essential to the well being of vegetation as a result of it’s the place they get most of their vitamins from. An excellent layer of mulch will assist forestall climate from sporting away your topsoil.

Soil temperature regulation

Very similar to me and also you, vegetation want temperature regulation throughout the soil to thrive. Layering mulching over your backyard within the winter helps to maintain the soil heat till it’s time to plant once more within the spring. Equally, mulching your backyard in the summertime helps to maintain the soil cool.

Addition of natural matter

Lastly, including natural mulches like straw, shredded paper, wooden chips, dry leaves, or sawdust will give your soil a wholesome enhance of vitamins. As these mulches break down over time, their vitamins get added again into the soil and turn into new natural matter. 

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How one can use sawdust as mulch

Sawdust has the potential to offer all the above-mentioned advantages to your backyard, however provided that integrated correctly. 

The very first thing I’ll say about utilizing sawdust as mulch is to not let an excessive amount of of it contact your vegetation. Particularly round shrubs or timber. Leaving sawdust constructed up across the backside of your vegetation could cause burns and in the end kill them.

To stop this from taking place, create a hoop of mulch about an inch or two from the bottom of the vegetation in order that it’s not touching them. 

Sawdust is a good mulching possibility for vegetation that love acidic soils as a result of it could decrease soil pH. You should utilize sawdust to mulch across the base of vegetation like blueberries, azaleas, hydrangeas, and nasturtiums to make the soil extra appropriate for them. 

Sawdust tends to interrupt down comparatively rapidly so it must be persistently reapplied as wanted. For those who’re in a position to see your soil or weeds begin poking via, it could be time to reapply. You may count on sawdust to interrupt down in about 4 to 6 months. 

My most popular means to make use of sawdust as mulch is to combine it in with one thing like straw or useless leaves. That means, I don’t have to fret an excessive amount of about over-applying the sawdust and inflicting main nutrient deficiencies in my backyard. 

It can be troublesome for me to seek out sufficient sawdust to cowl my entire backyard so having a supplemental mulching possibility proves to be fairly useful to me. 

Stopping nitrogen deficiencies

One factor that may be a priority with sawdust mulch is the potential for nitrogen deficiencies within the soil. As sawdust decomposes, it tends to take up nitrogen, leaving little or no within the soil for different vegetation. 

Nitrogen is a crucial macronutrient for vegetation (it’s the “N” in NPK!) and is essential for a plant’s skill to photosynthesize. For those who’re apprehensive about sawdust inflicting nitrogen deficiencies in your backyard, contemplate including a nitrogen enter to your soil. 

The addition of excellent compost or a nitrogen-based fertilizer might help forestall any main nitrogen deficiencies inside your soil. 

The place can you discover sawdust?

For those who or somebody in your house is a artful particular person, you then most likely have your individual provide of sawdust someplace. Saving your sawdust from any house mission is an effective solution to construct up a sawdust provide.

However, in the event you’re like me and also you’re not superb at woodworking tasks, you then’ll need to discover a sawdust supply elsewhere. There are many locations you possibly can test to see if they’ve sawdust accessible. 

The primary place to look can be with any native sawmills or woodworking outlets in case you have them in your space. There’s an opportunity that these locations offers you sawdust at no cost or at a considerably discounted price. 

For those who don’t have sawmills or woodworkers in your space, you possibly can test at any native ironmongery store like Lowe’s or Tractor Provide the place they are going to have luggage of sawdust on the market. 

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A observe on handled wooden

Whereas most of the locations I discussed above are nice assets at no cost sawdust, it’s essential to test if the sawdust comes from handled wooden. Handled woods are those who have had preservatives added to them within the type of some fairly harsh chemical substances in an try to extend the longevity of the wooden. 

These chemical substances could be dangerous to vegetation and people and subsequently shouldn’t be utilized in a backyard rising edible meals. A fast ask of your sawdust supplier will let you understand if the wooden you’re getting has been handled. 

For those who’re utilizing sawdust from wooden you have got at house, test the tags of your wooden. It will likely be clearly labeled as handled with the chemical components listed. 

Different makes use of for sawdust within the backyard

There are lots of different nice methods to include sawdust into your backyard in the event you’re not fairly prepared to make use of it as mulch. Listed below are some strategies to strive!

Sawdust for backyard pathways

Our staff right here at TGH has discovered nice success with utilizing sawdust for suppressing weeds and mulching backyard pathways. When you want lots of it to unfold a thick layer in your backyard paths, it does compact in time, and kinds a pleasant fluffy ‘crust’ that retains weeds at bay.

Sawdust is grime low-cost, or free if you will get your fingers on it, so you possibly can repeat this course of yearly. The outdated sawdust on the backyard paths can be semi-composted in a yr or two. All you must do is dig it out every now and then, throw it in your compost pile, and add new cardboard and recent sawdust to your pathways.

Examine this text that explains backyard path choices intimately.

As brown matter in compost

The second possibility can be to include it into your private home composting system. To make good compost, it’s essential to have the correct ratio of inexperienced matter to brown matter to water. Inexperienced matter consists of issues like kitchen scraps, weeds, or another vegetation pulled out of your backyard.

Sawdust falls below the brown-matter class however this class may additionally embody newspaper, straw, or dried leaves. The ratio that I like to make use of in my house compost system is so as to add three elements brown matter to each one half inexperienced matter I put in. 

We now have lots of nice articles accessible about composting so begin right here if you wish to be taught extra concerning the compost world:

For root vegetable storage

One other good use for sawdust within the backyard is to make use of it as a storage medium for root crops. Within the winter, many people wish to put our root crops in long-term storage to make sure some meals for the chilly season. 

Equally to how we would retailer issues like carrots or potatoes in buckets with sand, sawdust can be utilized in a lot the identical means. To do that, you’ll wish to select a storage container like a big plastic bin the place there’s room to put your root veggies. 

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Place a layer of sawdust within the backside of your storage container after which place your veggies on high. Ensure that they’re not too shut to one another to assist forestall rot. Then you possibly can add one other layer of sawdust to cowl them.

This most likely goes with out saying however be certain to clean your veggies very properly after they’ve been saved in sawdust. This fashion you received’t find yourself consuming any accidentally. 


To recap, sawdust could be a nice mulch possibility, however provided that you employ it correctly and take the required precautions to stop plant burns and main nutrient deficiencies.

Making a sawdust-free ring about an inch or two from the underside of your vegetation will forestall the sawdust from burning your vegetation. Additionally, including a lift of nitrogen fertilizer to your soil will assist forestall nitrogen loss from the sawdust. 

Everybody has their very own opinions about whether or not or not sawdust needs to be used within the backyard. However on the finish of the day, all of it will depend on what works greatest in your backyard. If sawdust appears to be doing extra hurt than good, strive a special mulching methodology.

Take a look at these must-have gardening merchandise

You don’t want a lot to start out gardening, however some instruments and merchandise will make a distinction in how snug and efficient gardening could be for you. Listed below are my favorites:

  • Backyard Trowel. An excellent backyard trowel will final you a few years. I really like how sturdy this hand trowel from WOLF-Garten is, the metallic doesn’t bend and it has a pleasant grip.
  • Trimming Scissors. I take advantage of them for delicate pruning and harvesting all summer season lengthy, they usually’re tremendous helpful. These Teflon Trimming Scissors are further good as a result of they don’t rust as simply.
  • Dutch Hoe. Dutch hoes could appear old school, however there’s nothing like a fast sweep via the topsoil to eliminate small weeds – no bending required. I really like WOLF-Garten’s choice: this dutch hoe coupled with their common deal with.
  • Develop Lights. These develop lights from Mars Hydro are tremendous sturdy, but dimmable, so that they match each stage of progress. They don’t put out an excessive amount of warmth and are very economical.
  • Seedling Trays. There’s an artwork to selecting the most effective measurement for seedling trays in order that it holds the proper quantity of water and provides the roots sufficient room to develop. These germination plugs are good when coupled with 1020 backside trays. 
  • Liquid Fertilizer. You’ll have to feed your vegetation from the seedling stage, all the way in which to fruiting. This natural fish & seaweed mix is a really versatile possibility. Use it half-strength for younger vegetation and full-strength for established vegetation.

Browse our record of instruments, fertilizers & pesticides, indoor rising merchandise and seed store suggestions – we hope you discover our choice helpful and it saves you a while!