Jennifer Magid

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It’s very rare to get something for free in this world without a catch. So when I heard about ChipDrop, a company that dumps free mulch at your door, I figured there must be one. There isn’t. Unless you call saving a ton of money a catch.

ChipDrop is a service that matches arborists looking to get rid of wood chips and logs with gardeners looking for wood chips for their home, school, or other community location. You simply sign up on the site, place a request, and the next time there is a tree trimming company in your area that is looking to get rid of chips, you might get a load. The company is a win/win for both; arborists have an easy and affordable way to get rid of wood chips, and gardeners get something useful for their yard for free.

There are a few caveats with the service. You have to be willing to wait, because you can’t schedule a day for delivery. However, this time may be shortened if you choose to add a tip of any amount, which effectively puts you at the front of the line. Additionally, you don’t get a say in the amount you’re getting. You may end up with anywhere from 4 yards-worth to 20 yards-worth of wood chips. Finally, the wood chips may or may not contain pine needles, leaves, sticks, and so on. In other words, the mulch will not be perfect. 

I had some larger areas of yard where I wanted to add mulch to squash weed growth, but whether you’re trying to cover a large or small area, wood chips aren’t cheap. For example, 10 yards of playground mulch, which is effectively just wood chips, costs $683 to order through Home Depot. So I gave ChipDrop a try.

After I put in the order, I expected to be waiting quite awhile since there’s no time frame, but I had my first delivery within the week. In fact, I came home to an enormous load of wood chips sitting in my driveway with no warning. But hey, that’s what I signed up for. I was surprised by the quality: There were very few extra leaves, and the chips were pretty uniform. Some people in the know say you have to be careful that the chips don’t have poison ivy mixed in, so the pile sat in the driveway for at least a week, airing out. When we did spread them out, we didn't have any problems. The whole thing was so easy and useful, I decided to order yet another load. That’s the other great thing about ChipDrop — the sky is the limit. If you need a ton of wood chips for whatever reason, you can place as many requests as you want.

dog on wood chipsPhoto credit: Jennifer Magid

All in all, I’ve received a whopping 25 yards of free wood chips so far.Yep, that is a lot of wood. But I lucked out, as you could always end up with a tiny amount. Luckily, I've found a use for all the wood chips I received. My first load was oak tree, and the second was maple, which gave off a lovely woodsy aroma in the yard — an added bonus. There was a small amount of leaves and twigs in my second order, but not enough to be hideous looking.

ChipDrop is just one way to get bulk amounts of free mulch. Many cities and towns have mulch programs where tree trimmers dump all the wood chips at a specific location where they are available to grab for free. The benefit of using ChipDrop is that you don’t need to fill your car with it if you need a big amount — it’s dumped for you. 

If you’re into your yard, hate weeds, and don't want to spend money on pieces of wood, I think ChipDrop is an absolute no-brainer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ChipDrop legitimate?
Yup! ChipDrop matches people looking for wood mulch for their yard or community organization with arborists looking to get rid of wood chips and logs. It's easy and free to sign up.

How long does ChipDrop usually take to deliver?

Because you can't schedule a delivery date, you should be willing to wait. The time may be shortened if you add a tip on the website, because that may move you up in the line of people waiting.

Is ChipDrop available in my area?
Check here to see if ChipDrop is available near you.

How big is a ChipDrop delivery?
A delivery can be as little as four yards of wood chips to as much as 20 yards. You won't be able to specify how much you want to receive.

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