Wood Chips Vs. Mulch: Know the Differences

So you thought of getting into gardening and want to protect the soil from washing away or keep a regular moisture level. What can you do?

Well, adding a top layer of wood chips or wood mulch can do wonders to the soil and help your plants grow faster. So, between wood chips vs. much, which one will win?

For us, mulch is better than wood chips, and they are better at capturing nutrients for the soil. Whereas wood chips can do about 80% of what mulch is capable of. 

Today we will dig into the head-to-head differences between wood chips and much. We have also included a comparison chart as well. Read more below.

Wood Chips Vs Mulch

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Wood chips vs. Mulch: Comparison Chart

FeaturesMulchWood chips
Moisture loss preventionYesYes
Carbon topping No Yes
Fungal infectionHappens fasterTakes long to infect
Soil erosion preventionYesYes
Replace timeNo needReplace if too much discoloration occurs
Weed growthReduces most weed growthUp to 95% weed growth is stopped
Other usesGarden, regulating soil temperature, etc.Fueling, making charcoal, paper making, gardening, and so on.

Wood Chips: Why choose it?

Wood chips are none other than the small chunks of trunks that are left after pruning them. Well, this wood chip deserves a selection since it feeds and nourishes the soil, benefiting trees, weeds, and micro plants in the process.

On the other hand, wood chips’ thick layer keeps the root’s temperature well maintained in all weathers. 

Wood chips perform flawlessly in preventing water from evaporating into the environment. To reduce waste from the environment, wood chips are a good option, as they turn into a natural fertilizer in about 15 days. 

Wood chips have the capability of suppressing weeds and are readily available everywhere. Wood chips have a hydrophobic nature and irregular shape, and they let water flow freely. Furthermore, you will not need any chemical inputs and prevent your trees’ trunks from string trimmers and mowers.


  • Keeps a well-maintained temperature in tree roots
  • Prevents water from certain evaporation
  • Works as a byproduct for the environment
  • Eliminates the need for chemical inputs
  • Allows an easy water flow


  • Requires composted manure
  • Is prone to fungal growth

Mulch: Why choose it?

Mulch is the wee bits of tree leaves, branches, shoots, etc., which are broken down with a mulching grinder. Because of mulching, the soil or land reduces the water that evaporates from them. As a result, you will not need to water your plants since mulching does the job.

It improves soil quality nutrition and helps your garden trees grow faster. Moreover, mulch allows nice air and water movement by breaking up clay soil

Again, it helps the soil to hold water in sandy and gravel-filled soil.

In summer, soils need to be kept cooler deadly. Mulch works like an insulating layer above land to secure this process and keep the roots safe. Nonetheless, weeds go down because of this mulch and get out in a simple pull.


  • Works as a savior for dry landscapes
  • Helps soil to reduce water from evaporation
  • Allows a nice air and water movement
  • Provides sufficient nutrients to the soil
  • Protects land being an insulating layer
  • Makes weeds go down


  • Not compatible with cool climate
  • Creates hiding places for insects

5 Best Comparisons between Wood Chips Vs. Mulch

Though both of them are chunks of wood, only one can be the true winner. For us, mulch is more effective and offers more benefits to the user. Here is why:

Usage (Mulch wins)

Wood chips are more like solid biomass fuel. Also, they work as raw materials, which are much helpful for producing wood pulp. 

In many cases, wood chips are used as mulch in many applications like- ecosystem restoration, landscaping, and gardening. In contrast, most people use wood chips for mushroom cultivation too.

Coming to mulch, it offers a smooth usage with improved soil in plants. Not only that, mulch saves a lot of water in soils and gives a clean and tidy appearance around garden areas. Alongside, you will not need to do regular weeding or watering and thus save your time.

Landscaping (Wood chip wins)

We know wood chips are those organic materials that help to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Additionally, they enhance the appearance of a landscape by regulating soil temperature. Therefore, wood chips generate a natural feel in garden areas.

No doubt, mulch gives an attractive finishing touch to landscapes. Again, landscape management demands something flawless like mulch to retain its soil moisture.

Moisture (Mulch wins)

Wood chips are commendable ingredients for blocking the sun from coming in contact with soil and thus keeping land cool. Particularly, wood chips cover soil within a layer of 2 inches and decrease soil moisture evaporation.

When we compare it to wood chips, mulch contributes more to moisture retention. It can hold up to 80 percent of moisture in the soil. 

If you want to protect the soil from the direct sun or just help the soil lose less water, much can do them all. As a result, your plant will get enough nutrition and confine naturally with the environment.

Soil adaptability (Wood chip wins)

Ordinarily, wood chips preside over soil conditions by forming a protective layer on them. In addition, wood chips include a soil retention process and simply release water into the soil. 

Similar to mulch, wood chips offer multiple benefits like- soil protection, weed suppression, and so on. However, wood chips can adjust to all soil conditions, regardless of the soil type. 

Soil nutrition (Mulch wins)

Mulch provides more nutrition to the soil as they have a combination of bits of branches, leaves, and so on. On the other hand, wood chips are just the trunk of the tree converted into bits. It lacks an overall nutritional benefit, which is essential for tree growth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I do landscaping with wood chips?

Wood chips do a great job of landscaping. Not only that, wood chips keep all useful products far from landfill sites. Hence, no problem arises while landscaping with a wood chip. Additionally, wood chips regulate soil temperatures in order to prevail a natural woodland feel. By the same token, wood chips prevent dusty conditions and keep garden areas clean. 

Is a wood chip good as mulch?

Generally, wood chips are a better version of mulch. Although wood chips are not good for vegetables and annuals, shrubs and trees get numerous benefits from them. Conversely, wood chips absorb water more than ordinary mulches. If you own a little terrarium, you can use some wood chips to get things ticking.

What type of wood chips are better?

Hickory is a good wood chip type, which you can use as it adds a smoky and sweet flavor to foods. Besides, hickory imparts similar and natural outcomes for smoking. Thus, a longer smoking time will go flawlessly. It conveys a strong flavor to meat by means of a robust texture and enhancing flavor in the process. Within a fine affinity with protein, wood chips are more preferable with cold-smoking cheese.

When does mulch need to be replaced?

There are indications that say when you need to replace mulch from your landscape. These signs are- discoloration, soil erosion, and decomposition. Anyways, the given conditions alert you to give a chance to mulch. Alongside, you must make sure of changing it every 5 to 6 years for better maintenance of land and soil. Rule of the thumb, if too much fungus grows on it, replace it as soon as possible.

Is water required after mulching?

Watering soil after mulching is completely an optional step. On a high note, everyone must spread their mulch into a thickness of two to four inches. If mulch is very thick, it does not let water enter the soil. Then again, a thin layer of much will just evaporate the soil faster. Water the mulch properly, as it can help your mulch stay in place firmly.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you got adequate differences between wood chips and mulch. Anyways, both of them are winners in their own way. 

Those who are looking for average layering and soil protection go for mulch. It ensures much easement in usage. Especially for those who are out of time and want quick on lands, mulch is a finer choice for them. 

On the flipping side, wood chips confer a premium layering of soil protection. Also, your roots’ temperature always remains up to the 65 to 75 degrees F mark.

This is all for today. Have a good day.

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