Got your attention? Good. Okay, technically they aren’t free. The tip should read: Develop a relationship with your local arborist, so they will give you free wood chips. In other words, once you’ve hired them for something, they will probably help you out in the future.
We recently had to have some trees trimmed and so we hired Grun Tree Care. This was the first time I had hired an arborist, so I had no idea what to expect. When they pulled in to the driveway, with their wood chipper, a light bulb went off. It had been recommended to me, in my Comprehensive Organic Gardening class, that wood chips made good pathways and could be obtained for free from arborists, but they didn’t say which ones. It seemed like kind of a precarious deal too. I think I heard there was a waiting list or only one guy in the city that did it or something like that. Anyway, I wasn’t sure exactly how it worked, so I never looked into it.
I sheepishly asked Patrick, the owner of Grun Tree Care, if that was in fact a wood chipper and if so, what was he going to do with the leftover wood chips. He cheerfully said, “Why yes it is, and would you like me to leave some for you?”. “Would I!”, I exclaimed! Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t get so excited over free wood chips, but my pathways were looking sadly thin and I was in need of more wood chips.
Look at those pathways! Nice, huh?
Patrick did a great job on our trees. We had one tree completely removed and some others that were in bad need of trimming and he was very reasonably priced. It was super convenient too. They showed up in the morning, worked through the day, while we were at work, and were gone by the time I got home and everything was totally cleaned up. Plus, we got to keep all the wood for firewood.
My general rules for dumping “free chips” are as follows1: Love to dump for clients while working at their home, I feel it is best to use the product that comes from the trees on site to help feed the future root systems, as would happen in nature.2: I try and only dump full loads and cannot promise any type of chip, always a mixed load3: I try and dump when and where it is most convenient for me4: If someone really wants a load special delivered they can always offer a bribe/beer$5: Rules are flexible
As for number 2., he left the perfect amount for me to spread a nice new layer in my pathways and the fact that it was several different types of chips didn’t bother me. Any greenery in it dies away and eventually you can’t even tell it was there and it all blends together.
Obviously, arborists are running a business and can’t be running all over town delivering free wood chips to every hippie with a garden (this is my commentary, not Patrick’s). As someone who used to freelance, I understand this. Use common sense and don’t be a dick (good advice for lots of things). Personally, I feel really good about the fact that we were able to hire him and it was a surprising bonus that I got to use the chips, from my trees, in my pathways.
The moral of the story is, if you need an arborist and are in the Seattle area, give Grun Tree Care a call. He gives free estimates too. Get your trees taken care of, and while you are at it, get some wood chips for your pathways. If you aren’t in the Seattle area, develop a relationship with your local arborist. Treat them right and I bet they will treat you right back! And ain’t that the way it should be with anything?
*This post was NOT sponsored and these are my own opinions.