How to Get Free Wood Chips, Compost and Mulch

If you watched the Back to Eden Film or know the power of covering and protecting your precious top soil from erosion, then take note of these ways to get free wood chips, compost and mulch:


  1.  Craigslist  I think it’s world wide now, but you can check your local listings. When I look on it nearby me, in the “Free Section,” I see two different tree companies they are desperate to dump truck loads of wood chips to anybody who will take them.
  2. and Download the apps or go on the website for these two websites.  You will have to register and agree to their terms of service.  But it will put you on a list for tree service companies to drop wood chips.  You are able to write special instructions to the truck driver on where and when to dump.
  3. Check your phone book for tree companies and call them up and ask if they can dump a truck load in your front yard.  And if they hesitate, then offer to buy their gas.  And when they dump some wood chips, offer them some cookies or treats (though I wouldn’t recommend giving them beers).
  4. Check for horse boarding farms and arenas that have a lot of horse shows.  They often have growing hills of composted horse manure (wood chips and saw dust composted with the horse manure), and they are desperate for people to come and haul it away to anybody who will take it.  They also are constantly blasting out advertisements on Craigslist for people to bring your shovel and a pickup truck in my area.  Or approach the owner or manager and if they hesitate, offer to give them some free vegetables at harvest time.
  5. During the Fall, a lot of Americans leave their bags of leaves, lawn and other clippings on the side of the road for the highway department to come and haul away. I’ll come along and throw those bags in the back of my car. It should be considered a “real wealth” but American’s want these pristine, well maintained lawns and throw it away. Only take the bags of leaves.  The grass clippings could be sprayed with chemicals and full of weed seeds.  Whereas the leaves fell from the tops of trees and are good.
  6. Check where your highway department is.  Often they allow residents to come and take wood chips. Ussually when a tree falls down on a power line or on the street, the highway department comes and puts it through a chipper to be easier to haul away and they will dump at the highway department grounds and allow residents to haul away for free.  Often, the residents will dump their bags of leaves at the department, and they are piled up just waiting to be burned. Consider your local highway or municipal department a gold mine!  Again, I would stay away from their grass clippings and compost piles–you don’t know what chemicals have been used on your neighbors yard.
  7. Check your grocery and liquor store for cardboard boxes, and they stack boxes up near their trash dumpster outside. Aldis and Costco have them stacked up for people to take as they wish, and recycle the rest.  Cardboard could be used but it would be good to bury them with something, like wood chips or compost, so they do not blow away.
  8. Another idea is to make your own compost. For example, a plant called Comfrey, it’s considered a bio-accumulator, which means, it has a deep tap root, mines a ton of minerals up in to it’s big leaves. The leaves can be “chopped and dropped” and left to compost on top of a fruit tree for example. Comfrey can be planted under a fruit tree and not compete with the fruit trees roots, the fruit tree’s roots are reaching out horizontal, and the comfrey roots downward. Once the plant is full grown, it takes a minute to chop and drop on the spot, and it will grow back again. This can be done over and over, and you are basicly speeding up the natural process that nature already does to create a “covering” of soil.  The best deal is on Russian Comfrey root cuttings on Amazon. This would be the true permaculture way, is to not have any outside inputs coming in to a system, and to truly make a system sustainable on itself for many generations.


These are the best way to acquire wood chips, compost and mulch for free.  If you know of other ways or have questions please comment below.

Also fee free to like and follow me for more updates.

Farmer Don


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