Which Fertilizer To Use When Decomposing Wood Chips

fertilizer wood chips

Q: I saw on your website your method of decomposing a pile of wood chips using fertilizer. Why do you suggest 10-10-10 instead of something with a higher nitrogen ratio like 32-0-0 or 34-0-0? I have a pile of maple chips to work with. 

A: If memory serves, I used 10-10-10 because I had a bag on hand to show the camera. You are right, urea (46-0-0), ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) or ammonium sulphate (21-0-0) would work better to hasten the decomposition of wood chips. We scattered fertilizer on top of the wood chip pile after leveling the top and making it slightly concave. The fertilizer provides lots of nitrogen to the fungi and bacteria which break down the chips. The indented crown channels rainwater to the center of the pile. I irrigated the pile thoroughly to start the decomposition process. Don’t be surprised if you see steam coming from your maple chip pile. Rapid decomposition creates lots of heat.

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