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Sawdust is produced when processing wood and is difficult to dispose of in large quantities. Luckily, there are 6 uses in the garden that you can try without any hassle.


Wood chips don't always have to be disposed of when you have them. You can work the wood residues into the compost to loosen the soil and thus improve the structure. The use of sawdust is particularly welcome in clay soils, as these are ideal for loosening up and, together with the compost, provide the plants with the necessary nutrients. However, you must be careful not to use too many wood chips as there are possible complications:

Compost fertilizer is ideal for the apricot tree.
  • Nitrogen is removed
  • Compost becomes sour
  • clumps and rots

Above all, the strong nitrogen withdrawal is a big problem. If you decide to use sawdust for loosening, you should use a nitrogen fertilizer in addition to the compost, which is also added to the soil. This is how you counteract the deficit. The compost is created with sawdust in the following way:

  • do not use too fine chips
  • apply as the bottom layer
  • Layer thickness: 10 to 15 cm

You should never choose the shavings as a base for the compost, as the material cannot conduct enough air to the upper layers, which promotes rot and mold growth. If you want the compost to be a little more neutral or alkaline, you will need to add lime. Wood chips with lawn clippings have proven to be good combinations.

Notice: Only use sawdust from untreated wood in your garden at home, otherwise the chemical substances could get into the soil. The original wood must not be soaked, varnished, painted, glued or mixed with binding agents, as is the case with chipboard, for example.


Mulching with sawdust is also possible in addition to use in compost. However, you have to be careful here because, as already described above, the wood residues remove nitrogen from the soil. A mulch layer made of sawdust is also not suitable for all plant species, precisely because of the intensive nitrogen degradation. You should only permanently provide plants with such a mulch layer if they are deep-rooted, such as numerous trees, shrubs and perennials. Due to the deep root system, they can draw nitrogen from the lower layers. Chips are applied like any other mulch. Check the mulch regularly for rotten spots and remove them.

snail protection

Yes, you can use wood chips in the garden as a slug repellent. Due to the rough structure, snails do not tolerate the material well, as they are prevented from moving. At the same time, the shavings are highly absorbent and ensure that the snails dry out over time if they stay on them for too long. Take advantage of this by building a barrier around your delicate plants. Pay attention to the following points for effective protection:

  • Height: min. 5 cm
  • Width: 50 to 100 cm
  • do not place directly on root balls

You should also note that windy locations are not really suitable for this method. The wood shavings would simply be blown away, greatly reducing its usefulness as many snails can be quite stubborn. That is why wide strips are placed around the plant. The more chips the mollusks have to cross, the sooner they give up. But don't be surprised if larger specimens sometimes survive the barrier, because the more mass the animal has, the weaker the effect. To maintain the barrier, you must fill it up after rainfall and remove putrid sawdust.

Snail in the garden bed

garden paths

Because of their properties, wood chips are often used as garden paths. They absorb a lot of moisture and provide a soft surface that is ideal for barefoot walkers, pets and children. Larger chips reminiscent of bark mulch are suitable. This way the wood chips will not be carried away by the wind, which would result in an empty path over time. Since it is not a solid material, even paths with sharp curves can be created. Not to be forgotten is the good effect against weeds, because wood chips prevent the growth of the disturbing plants, which significantly reduces the maintenance effort of the garden paths. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating wood chip paths:

  • have to lie in the sun
  • Layer height: min. 10 cm
  • create drainage
  • Drainage material: crushed stone, gravel
  • travel limitation required

Natural stones have established themselves as a path limit, but you can let your imagination run wild. The border is important so that the wood chips are not carried off the path into the garden when walking. The most important point of all is the location. Use the shavings only if you are creating paths that will be in the sun most of the day. Wood chips tend to rot if they remain permanently wet and unable to dry. For this reason, only sunny locations are recommended for these, otherwise you will have to completely replace the chips at regular intervals. Paths made of sawdust in beds of all kinds are popular. Due to their width, the paths even serve as protection against snails.

Tip: If parts of your garden tend to muddy, you can use wood chips to improve the areas. The shavings ensure that frequently used paths do not sink, even on rainy days, as the excess moisture is excellently bound.

livestock farming

If you keep animals in the garden, for example as self-sufficient, you do not have to dispose of the chips. You can use this as bedding and thus cover a large part of the needs that arise during keeping. The shavings are suitable as bedding for the following animals:

  • horses
  • Small animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs
  • Poultry (not suitable for larger groups of chicks)

When using the chips, make sure to replace them at regular intervals so that they do not get too wet. Wetness increases the risk of mold and rot, which has a negative impact on the health of the animals. Horses in particular suffer from too much moisture.


If you smoke in the garden, you can use wood chips as a free incense. They offer themselves as a temporary replacement for smoke dust, but do not provide the best results, which you should consider when using them. The type of processing is important for the use as an incense. Of course, the wood must be untreated. Likewise, you should grind larger shavings into a finer flour so that it starts smoldering more easily. If you want to cut up the wood with a chainsaw, you should refrain from doing so. The chain oil doesn't really provide a pleasant aroma.

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