Advice for wood chip to cover lousy weedy grass and dirt hillside

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I have never worked with wood chips before; so I ask your advice.
I had long ago mentioned to my neighbor that I needed something that is low maintenance to cover my both flat and hilly but always weedy lawn since I haven't been maintaining it well; and he kindly offered a few truckloads of freshly chipped pine wood chips earlier this week:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3740/10488570555_36aa859061_o.gif
One question is how much lawn will this much wood chip typically cover?
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7322/10488576624_2dac2ec144_o.gif
About the only tools I have to spread it around are shovels, rakes, and a wheelbarrow:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3789/10488577534_02ed786c90_o.gif
What I need to cover is a few hundred feet of this type of "lawn" (the term "lawn" is used loosely, as you can see from the photo):
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7374/10488753733_5f8893c59d_o.gif
So, my basic question is HOW do I determine how much this can cover, and what would you recommend for how thick I should make it and what preparation should I do to prevent the chips from running off in the rain?
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7310/10488578796_2ef56557e9_o.gif
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 07:55:57 +0000, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Googling, I found that each truckload was probably something like 5 cubic yards, so I have roughly 15 cubic yards of these pine wood chips. http://www.caltreecare.com/free-wood-chips.html
That web site also says one truckload covers about 625 square feet at 3 inches deep. So, I guess I can cover 625x3=~1800 square feet.
I'll google for how we're supposed to keep the chips on the ground on slopes, in the rain, and in the wind - but any advice you have from your experience would be welcome, as always.
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 08:14:51 +0000, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Drat. This web site says a typical truckload is 8 to 10 cubic yards, which covers about a thousand square feet: http://www.calarbor.com/asp/Site/WoodChips/
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 07:55:57 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

You are asking for trouble. The wood chips will invite bugs, termites, mice, and it will rot in time too. Some will erode, blow away, wash away.
Look for some sort of low growing ground cover. It will keep the dirt in place, look better, need little to no care.
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On Saturday, October 26, 2013 4:58:48 AM UTC-7, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Listen to Ed. He's telling you right. Shop carefully for ground cover. Something that needs little care *and will spread rapidly.* Dymondia is supposed to be a good choice, but not cheap.
Luck!
HB
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On 10/26/13 7:58 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Could you suggest a few things?
I've got a couple of mature apple trees in the backyard, in an area that's shady in summer. The grass doesn't seem to want to grow there (never really did). The soil there doesn't seem to be that great, in any case.
I was wondering if some kind of clover might work there.
Any other suggestions?
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wrote:

There is some clover and also different forms of sedum. You may want to visit one of the local nurseries to see what they recommend for your area.
Or find one here http://www.bhg.com/gardening/flowers/perennials/sedums/#page=1
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Danny,
Why do you want to cover your lawn with wood chips? It won't last. It won't look good. It will cause erosion. Most of the weeds will grow through it. It will make mowing difficult. What are you thinking? This is not a low maintenance idea.
Dave M.
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On 10/26/2013 3:55 AM, Danny D'Amico wrote:

A few hundred SQUARE feet, or a hundred by __? Might work if the hilly part is not too steep, but then what? Weeds will grow through them and mowing will be more difficult. It would be far better, IMO, to plant something other than grass and then mulch with the wood chips. If you planted shrubs and perennials and kept the area mulched there would be far less work.
We bought a home last fall that had about 75x100' lawn in back yard. It was either buy a riding mower or put the money into perennial flowers and shrubs/small trees. We are well on our way to reducing the amount of mowing (about 20%). We have a septic field to work around, but I have a yard full of flowers, increasing privacy from shrubs, less work, and more places to put leaves and grass clippings. We usually mow with the mulcher, but grass clippings are wonderful mulch in flower beds to keep weeds down.

I used shredded cypress mulch in Florida in shrub beds...it was great for keeping weeds down (not completely eliminating), preserves moisture in the bed, and easy to clean even with leaf blower. If watered and compacted, it stayed in place very nicely. I would never use bark chips, lava rock, or pine needles for mulch.
Your local extension service can probably recommend native flowers or other landscaping for the area more suitable than grass or plain chipped wood.
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On 10/26/2013 2:55 AM, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Biggest pieces of info are missing -- where is this located, what is the rest of the lawn/yards, how much slope/wind is actually present, what's intended as a long-term result and on and on and on...
Iff'en this is a small problem area on a urban lawn I'm w/ the others it's probably _a_bad_idea_ (tm); if you've rural property in some parts of the country it might possibly be a reasonable alternative if there's nothing else planned. It's just not possible to know anything definitive imo.
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 12:31:22 -0700, Oren wrote:

Now you tell me!
I've got at least 15 to 25 cubic yards of the stuff in my driveway to get rid of now!
:)
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Danny D'Amico wrote:

Put a sign up -- "Free Pine Wood Chips. Help Yourself".
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TomR wrote:

P.S. You can also post it on Craig's List for your area -- "Free Pine Wood Chips" and upload a photo and give the location.
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On Sun, 27 Oct 2013 11:16:44 -0700, Oren wrote:

I am going to go deep. I have enough, and, I assume deeper would take longer for the weeds to take hold.
A friend suggested I spray roundup ahead of time though. Just to be sure.
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 08:25:06 -0700, Oren wrote:

Out here, in landslide country? Dunno. Chaparral mostly. Oleander too. (But I already have tons of that.)
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 10:47:29 -0500, dpb wrote:

Silicon Valley.

The lawn is in sad shape. It's grass that hasn't had a drop of water from rain since sometime around May, and won't get any for another month or two.
Sprinklers are sporadic (only work manually - gotta fix that but don't know how yet).

flat.

never rains for most of the year here, and we all have wells, so, I consider it a primo waste of water to water something that can't grow without artificial watering.

It's rural. Nobody will see it unless/until they walk onto my property. Nobody is within earshot.
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On Saturday, October 26, 2013 12:55:57 AM UTC-7, Danny D'Amico wrote:

Danny, I noticed part of the problem is a 45 degree slope. Terracing that p ortion wouldn't be too difficult unless the ground is iron hard, and you co uld make a very attractive "hillside" by planting each terrace with either tough flowers or bushes, or ground cover.
HB
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 07:55:57 +0000 (UTC), Danny D'Amico

Figure 3" deep, so a yard will cover about 100sq.ft. That looks like, maybe, 20yds. It will have to be done every year or two. I'd be careful of the tree species, too. Some are carpenter and magnets.

No problem. It's not a hard job.

Figure 3" deep, 27cu.ft. per cubic yd., so that's 4x27 sq.ft, per yd. A pickup truck is about a yard (Ranger) to a yard-and-a-half (F150). A 10-wheel dump truck is about 10yds.
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On Sat, 26 Oct 2013 13:27:37 -0700, Higgs Boson wrote:

I'm all for low level ground cover that spreads on its own. But, unfortunately, I don't have a green thumb.
I failed miserably with this one, for example:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7333/10503818743_22a9b7219e_b.jpg
Some cute gal in the nursery talked me into this stuff, which, she explained, would take over the entire hillside.
Well, it stayed put. Didn't move a micron, whatever it is. :(
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On Saturday, October 26, 2013 6:45:47 PM UTC-7, Danny D'Amico wrote:

I couldn't identify it. Curious. Anybody know?
Speaking of miserable failures, I have to admit one of my own. After I had a huge, ancient hedge taken out --generating a truly awesome amount of roo ts -- I created a charming area in its place (pats self on back). The cool part was that I hardly had to buy any new specimen-size plants, largely uti lizing plants from around the garden and patio which had suffered for decad es in pots. Free at last, they're very happy!
But I run on: To make a path to the side gate, rather than do the conventi onal stepping stones, I bought an expensive flat of Dymondia, which I had s een planted around the local library -- individual plants spreading over ti me to create a creating a uniform no-care low-growing area.
I THOUGHT I prepared each hole properly, but only a few plants survived. Eventually I had to admit this wasn't happening, so bought another flat. M y neighbor sent over his worker to dig up the area -- I didn't ask! - he of fered! So I hope to hell this new batch is happy in its fluffy new home, e nriched with worm castings and compost.
So amigo, you are not alone!
HB
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