I recently had some pine trees removed from my yard and had the stumps ground down. Now I need to get rid of the stump grinds.

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Can I use the stump grounds for a playground area or are there reasons I should not?

If not there, is there an issue using it under a deck (always shaded area with minimal foot traffic)?

2 Answers 2


Depends. I use substantial amounts of chipped wood in my tree farm operation. I find that I like to wear gloves working with it because the ends are sharp, and it's a source of splinters. It's painful to walk on barefoot.

If you use it as garden mulch, it should be composted for about 3 months first. Pine in particular is loaded with terpenes which is tough on other plants. 3 months kept damp and the terpenes decompose or leach out.

If you have a garden plot, or an annuals bed, compost it for one season, then spade it into the plot. Wood chips hold moisture and will reduce the needed frequency of watering.

Do NOT use it as a thin layer in muddy areas. It mixes with the mud, and you end up with a region that never dries out. If you wish to use it this way, put down a layer of geotextile first, then put a layer of wood chips on that.

You can also just spread it out with a rake, and after a rain go over it with a roller. It will gradually decompose into your sod.

  • "You can also just spread it out with a rake, and" . . . see what happens to it. While it is loose it might stick to shoes and be tracked into the house. Also dogs might not like walking over it. You could rake a small part into the grass and see how it acts before you would spread the entire amount. Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 16:51
  • I've actually done this with power line mulch (leftovers from companies tree trimming by the lines. That's how I know both about the barefoot and mud issues. They will move around a bit initially, but once the grass grows 2 inches they stay put. Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 3:03

Feel free to use it as you like for mulch or other ground cover. Be aware that it will decompose eventually on a timeline determined by rainfall and sunlight exposure.

  • Thanks for your response. Do you think I should treat for termites? I understand that is sometimes part of decomposition
    – n00b
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:35
  • Couldn't say. I'm in Minnesota. :)
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:37

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