Fresh Wood Chips Pitch Problem?

Asked April 3, 2017, 12:38 PM EDT

Hi, I live in a condo complex on seven acres in Portland and have quite a few Douglas Fir tress that requite trimming and removal. We've had truckloads of chips brought in for our paths and truckloads hauled out from branch/tree removals. My question is, can we use the fresh chips on the paths? I was told that it wasn't recommended because there's sap in the mulch and that it would stick to shoes and pets paws. I've never noticed a lot of pitch in the cut pieces, so I'm a little confused. Can you clear this up for us?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Hello. Well I must say I've never heard this one before either. However, it does make sense. Trees like Douglas-fir (as well as pines and spruces) naturally produce resin, which is also commonly called sap or pitch. And so yes, there would be small quantities of sticky resin here and there on the fresh chips.

That said, I've never heard of anyone avoiding the chips for things like walking paths or playgrounds because of the resin. The chips are likely to stick to one another and perhaps leaves, dirt, etc. and therefore 'bind up' the pitch to make the risk of sticking to shoes and paws quite minimal.