Chip Drop is a web service that helps homeowners and gardeners get free wood chip mulch from local tree companies who work in the area. It’s been operating since 2014 and has facilitated +22,000 deliveries of wood chips to 25 cities across the US and Canada. It was founded by Bryan Kappa in Portland, OR, and is rapidly expanding to serve most major metropolitan areas in the US. There’s a good chance that Chip Drop already serves your area, so check out their website to find out how you can get a delivery to your home or garden.
Using wood chip mulch in your yard is a great way to suppress weeds and retain water and nutrients in the soil. It works great for landscaping along paths and around garden beds. It also works as a soil amendment for most gardening applications.
Using local tree mulch is a great way to help your local economy and save money. It keeps green waste out of landfills, reduces drive time of heavy trucks on the road, and keeps the plant material in your neighborhood in the same location. There’s no way to get a more local mulch product than getting it straight from an arborist!
Here are some common questions people have about the service, and getting wood chips from arborists in general.
Q: How much wood chips come with a delivery, and is there a way to ask for a small or specific quantity?
A: Most arborists will not deliver a partial load of wood chips, because it takes too much time for their crew to set up the delivery, and lost time is their number one cost. Tree companies are willing to deliver wood chips only because it is fast and easy for them, and for this reason, you must be willing to accept a whole truck load, which is about 10 – 15 yards in a single delivery. We always encourage folks to share a delivery with their friends and neighbors on nextdoor.com. It’s a great way to meet some folks and share a valuable resource.
Q: What about logs, leaves, pine needles, trash, etc. in a delivery? Are they ‘clean’ chips?
A: The short answer is ‘no’, they are not clean chips that you would buy from the store. They are usually a mixed variety of species and size and they always have leaves and pine needles mixed in. You can specify whether or not you’re willing to accept logs in your load. You can even sign up for a load of all logs if you’re looking for a cheap source of firewood. There is sometimes a small amount of trash in the pile that you’ll have to pick out, although it should be a very small quantity. The crews who do the tree work are often raking and sweeping up along the side of the road, and all kinds of interesting things can end up in the load.
Q: How will I know when to expect a delivery?
A: You won’t know when a delivery will be showing up, so you’ll need to have a drop site that is clear and accessible all hours of the day until a delivery arrives. That means making sure cars won’t be blocking the drop site. It’s also important to make sure there are no low overhead power lines or tree branches that might block the lift bed of the truck. You typically need about 15′ – 20′ of overhead clearance for the trucks to be able to deliver.
- Chip Drop has helped keep 70,451 tons of wood waste out of landfills to date.
- It has reduced the driving distance of arborists by 81,459 miles.
- It has distributed 220,160 yards of affordable, locally sourced mulch to gardeners, schools and community gardens.
- It has helped homeowners save 248,990 gallons of water per day, a total of 107 million gallons since 2014.