In 2019, a total of 4,891 cubic meters of wood was chipped on 25 orchards clearing 128 acres.
17 Mow/Chip it Rebates were granted for fuel reduction clearing 55 acres. Residents estimate they spent 763 hours cutting, dragging and making 51 piles of wood that ultimately were NOT burned.
As a result of the program, 77 tonnes of Particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and 312 tonnes of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and 27 tons Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) has been kept from polluting the air.
Agricultural Wood Waste Chipping Program
A free chipping program is offered for orchardists who want to chip wood waste (stumps and branches) from an orchard removal. If you have wood waste derived from an orchard removal for the purpose of replanting or other agricultural use, you may apply for this program.
In the past, a common method of disposal has been burning. This produces a smoky haze, toxic chemicals and particles that are harmful to human health. Chipping wood waste helps keep our air clean, and provides growers with valuable wood chips.
Call Before You Pull
Registration is accepted year round and chipping generally occurs from March through June and September through December. It's recommended you register for the program at least one year in advance. As of March 2020, the program is fully subscribed for 2020 chipping. Registrations are being accepted for the 2021 program.
To register, please fill out the Online Form
Does My Orchard Qualify For The Free Chipping?
* The orchard must be located within RDCO limits.
* The land must be classified as agricultural; orchards being removed for the purpose of residential or commercial development will not be accepted into the program.
* The site must be accessible for the chipping equipment.
* Applicants with small amounts of wood waste may not be accommodated through this program due to the very high cost of mobilizing the chipping machine.
- If the orchard qualifies under the program guidelines, your name will be placed on a wait list. The wait list is managed on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no guarantee that chipping jobs that are placed on the wait list will be performed on the same year. Delays may occur due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.
- After you have registered with the program, a contractor will contact you to do a site visit and schedule chipping.
- Trees must be prepared properly. Check Open Burning Best Practises and How to Prepare for Wood Chipping
- A grinder will be brought to your orchard to chip stumps and large branches into 1 to 2 inch diameter sized chips.
- After chipping, the piles will be measured by a surveyor, after which, the chips can be used as mulch.
This project is coordinated by the Air Quality Program with support from the British Columbia Fruit Growers Association, the BC Fruit Packers Cooperative and the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre.
If you are interested in a Replant Program, visit the BC Fruit Growers' Association webpage. The Replant Program is funded by BC Investment Agriculture and the Province of BC. Applications are received on a first-come, first-served basis.
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Mow / Chip /Rent-it Rebate
Instead of burning and producing smoke that is carcinogenic to humans, this rebate will help residents and farmers with the rental cost to chip/flail mow their woody material.
Who can apply to the Mow/Chip/Rent it rebate?
- Qualifying participants require a property size 1 ha or greater within the Central Okanagan (Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland, Westbank First Nation, Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West electoral areas)
- The rental equipment should be used for the purposes of fuel reduction and/or agricultural activities with small volume of wood
- Small volume means less than 4 piles size 3m width x3m large x2m height. If you have 4 or more piles, consider applying to the Agricultural Chipping Program instead.
- Rebate money is limited to 80% of the daily/multi-day/weekly/rental or chipping/flail mow service cost up to a Max of $500 rebate per applicant.
- Rebates are granted first come, first served basis. Limited funding and based on availability. In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, please note rebate payments are taking longer than usual to process. We appreciate your participation, support and understanding.
- According to the Agricultural Waste Disposal - Best Practices Guide, BURNING IS NOT RECOMMENDED for prunings as they are easily managed with a flail mower and or a chipper.
- Around 15% of all burning permits issued in the Central Okanagan are for fuel reduction to create a defensible space to reduce Wildfire risks.
- Homeowners are encouraged to remove and chip flammable landscaping materials (cedars, junipers etc.)
Mowing and/or chipping has the following advantages :
• When done well, has little or no risk of destroying the organic matter layer;
• Permits plant rejuvenation in a single step instead of two as is usually the case with burning;
• The work can be done in any weather, unlike burning;
• Presents fewer risks to natural allies such as beneficial predatory insects and pollinators;
• Mulch (1-2 inches long): weed control, pest control, water retention, prevents soil erosion
• Added to compost (smaller chips, easier to break down): provides soil nutrition.
• As a soil conditioner (very small chips, or partially decomposed) break down and reintroduce organic matter (carbon) into the soil
• For landscaping (can be larger): use on pathways and roads to reduce dust and/or mud
• For animal bedding or pellets
- Rent a 6 or 12” chipper or a flail mower (several retailers and chippers available in the region). Or hire a contractor for the chipping service.
- Unlike burning, woodwaste is best chipped when still green. Dry wood creates too much dust and wears the chipping blades down faster.
- Fill out the online Mow/Chip/Rent it Rebate form (Please attach as one document, the invoice or rental receipts for the rebate)
- If all the required information is completed in full, you will receive a cheque for up to $500 directly to your mailing address.
- Use the chips in your property or give them for free to your neighbors!. Mixing chips into the soil, instead of laying it on top, allows faster breakdown.
- For more information or any questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250 - 469-8408
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The Agricultural Waste Disposal - Best Practices Guide and videos offer useful information for farmers, orchardists and residents to save time and money, while benefiting the environment. The guide explains local air quality issues and offers useful information about yard waste disposal options, so that you can efficiently manage:
- Orchard/vineyard removal
- Pruning/yard waste
- Recycling agricultural plastics
View Best Practises for Agricultural Waste Disposal Video
View Utillizing Wood Chips Videos
Copies of the Best Practices booklets and DVDs are available at the RDCO office (1450 KLO Road) and Kelowna City Hall (Water Street) or contact the Regional Air Quality Coordinator for more information.
Download the Guide in English
Download the Guide in Punjabi
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Regional Air Quality Coordinator