Tree Cookies—A Unique Way to Recycle Your Tree
by Steve Houser – I.S.A. Certified Arborist
Tree cookies are thinly crosscut sections of wood—nature’s version of the concrete stepping-stone. The cookies can be used to form an informal walkway, using mulch or other materials to hold them in place. It may look odd at a first glance, but consider that downtown Dallas streets were once paved with thick tree cookies made from Bois d’Arc trees. Bois d’Arc wood is hard and resistant to rot; therefore, it makes a long-lasting paver. Likewise, many old houses were built on Bois d’Arc piers because our ancestors found a good use for what nature provided.
Tree cookies can be sealed or stained on the top side to help retain the wood grain look. Any sealer on the underside could affect the soil health or plants nearby and is not recommended. As the cookies start to turn grey, they can blend with the landscape colors or they can be resealed from time to time. If they are Bois d’Arc cookies, the wood becomes harder as it dries and they can last a lifetime. Over time, the cookies will decay. Just pitch them into your compost pile or cover them with mulch near your favorite tree.
Tree cookie walks may be best used in a backyard or areas with limited foot traffic. They are not ideal for those with limited physical abilities.
Some of the benefits of cookie walks include:
- Nearby tree and plant roots congregate under the cookies in search of water and the ideal
- Tree cookies help retain soil moisture and conserve water by reducing irrigation requirements.
- Decaying organic material encourages microbial activity in the soil, which is highly beneficial to
nearby trees and plants.
- Once the soil becomes more active, earthworms also appear, further increasing the soil’s
Consider planting some tree cookies for future prosperity.
For additional information on tree cookies, visit our other articles.