Are oak tree wood chips ok for veggie garden?

Asked July 12, 2019, 7:56 PM EDT

Hi Master Gardeners! First, thank you so much for this amazing resource of being able to ask you a question!! I really appreciate it!! I recently moved onto a beautiful property that has many large white oak trees. There are piles of fallen limbs and strewn about are lots of small limbs and bits. I want to chip them into wood chips to create a mulch layer for a veggie garden, like in the Back to Eden method. My plan is to lay down the mulch and then start planting veggies and such there in a year or two. However, I have come across various commentary online warning that oak wood chips are too allelopathic to use for a veggie garden. What is the correct answer? Thanks so much! Morgan

Clackamas County Oregon mulch vegetable gardening

1 Response

Thank you for your question, Morgan. There is a chemical in oak leaves that is allelopathic, but it quickly decomposes. Wood mulches are more commonly used for ornamental plants. I don’t think you want to be digging them outbof a vegetable garden. Straw mulch is a better option. But here is an Extension article that discusses wood mulch and its uses: https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chips.pdf Hope this is helpful. Good luck!