Backyard Forest Restoration: Wood Chips
I read that adding wood chips to an area you want to reforest can help speed up the process. I don't want to bring in wood chips. It's expensive and I don't want to introduce any more weeds that might have hitched a ride. I think wood chips will help because I have a lot of soil that is clay mixed with concrete debris. I want to add more organic material to help encourage plant growth. I also hope that adding mulch will keep the soil moist along with keeping creeping charlie and creeping jenny away.
My plan is to break down all the twigs and tree branches I have collected into small 2-3 inch pieces, or smaller, and throw them where the soil is degraded. I already have a big pile of twigs and branches from cleaning up my yard early in the spring. Two of my big silver maples have girdling roots and some of their larger branches are starting to die. I'm just waiting for them to get brittle enough to fall during strong storms. The challenge will be breaking down the larger branches into wood chips by hand. I'll try breaking the really big branches down with an axe then let the wood lice and fungus take care of the rest.
It will take a long time to do this by hand, but decent wood chippers are expensive. There are some cheap electric ones but they can't handle anything larger than 1.5 inches. Renting one that can handle larger branches isn't very expensive, but you need to be able to tow it home. I don't have a hitch on my car and I don't want to add one either. I might have to wait until I have a decent amount of large branches, rent a truck, and rent a wood chipper to make it worth the money. Since I'm still working from home and have extra time in the morning, I'll try the manual options first.
I'm trying to find the balance between accelerating forest regrowth, spending money, not burning a lot of fuel, or destroying my body in the process. I'll keep you updated on whether breaking down the twigs and branches by hand works. I don't think it will hurt to break down the wood by hand, I'm just not sure if it will be as effective as mechanically shredded wood chips.