Black walnut wood chips

Asked September 28, 2015, 4:47 PM EDT

We just had two dead black walnut trees taken down and kept the chips. I have read that they will be safe to use as garden mulch in 6 months . Would you agree? i know they are toxic to many plants, so i thought i could test the toxicity with a tomato seedling in the spring and if it doesn't die use the chips in my garden. Does that sound reasonable in your expert opinion? Thanks

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Yes, six months is the recommended time to let the juglone break down--at a minimum. Warm temperatures and moisture will increase the rate of breakdown. However, since there is no guarantee that the juglone breakdown will be complete by spring, testing the chips before applying them to your entire garden is a good idea! You can always wait to use them later but you sure don't want to lose your whole crop.