New Jersey towns resort to giving away leftover wood chips

    Storms that downed trees in the late summer and fall have left many New Jersey towns with a glut of wood chips and those towns are giving it away because it would cost more to dispose of.

    Hackensack City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono told The Record newspaper the city usually hauls downed trees to a private recycling company. But at $738-per-container, Lo Iacono says it would have cost close to $40,000 to get rid of all the trees.

    Iacono says the city must wait two weeks to rent a heavy-duty mulching machine because so many municipalities statewide are doing the same.

    Teaneck has mounds of wood chips available. Maywood has been piling wood chips and free firewood in its swimming pool parking lot.

    And as the wood piles up, the chance at shotgun fungus mounts. Pay a visit to WHYY’s You Bet Your Garden, where host Mike McGrath explains how piles of wood chips become a breeding ground for the ugly fungus. 

    “Those nasty creatures breed in wood mulches, producing spores that permanently stain cars or homes within 30 feet of the mulch.” McGrath advises, “Avoid this aggravating problem by using shredded leaves instead! Shredded leaves look just as nice as wood mulches, don’t breed destructive fungus.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.