I would like to share my experience of adding wood shavings to garden soil and hope to dispel some of the bad raps on doing so.
First of all, I live where a lot of builders’ sand and fill was added when the house was built so I don’t have native soil, which in central Florida contains Mayakka sand to begin with. As a former Master gardener I learned that composting is the first important step to amending soil for a successful garden.
Second, being a wood turner I generate a lot of wood shavings and I compost kitchen waste so I have two important ingredients to start with. I researched many sites of those who have tried this and was left scratching my head about the pros and cons but had to find out for myself so this is what I do.
I do not use shavings from walnut, which is supposed to poison young plants nor do I use any aromatic wood like camphor or cedar relying on woods like cherry, oak and pine. Now I can hear someone screaming that green shavings rob nitrogen from the soil during the decomposition process. My solution is to add a cup or two of composted cow manure available at the big box stores. Of course if the wood is already kiln dried this is not an issue.
I do not use store bought composting drums, bins and such, which take weeks and occasional turning to make compost and then you have to transfer it to the garden. I simply take my kitchen scraps*, a generous amount of shavings and a little composted cow manure and place all three in a hole that I have dug in an unplanted part of my garden. I do this all through wherever I can find a new space and in ten to fifteen days it has decomposed and ready to provide nutrition. Earthworms do all the work so when you dig and see them smile and thank Mother Nature for the help. The growth of an occasional mushroom or fungi is also nature’s way of helping to break down the wood.
*Be sure to follow proper composting guidelines.