After planting, many gardeners turn to wood chip mulch to help suppress weeds and also reduce water loss from the soil.
One important aspect of using wood chip mulch to take into consideration, is if using fresh wood chips, the chances are your plants and shrubs may suffer with nitrogen deficiency, which in-turn, can lead to long-term stunted growth.
Bacteria present in soil which is needed to break down woody matter, feed off of nitrogen and if there's no freely available, these bacteria will take it from the surrounding soil.
How to avoid nitrogen deficiency in your plants
Dress borders with a rich source of nitrogen - preferably organic - so the bacteria can work happily without your plants suffering.
Composting the wood chips for a while will ensure it is safe to use. As a rule of thumb, leave softwood a minimum of one year to break down - or in cases of high sap content, leave softwood for two years and the same for hardwoods.
All fir chips are acidic so bear this in mind when using around your shrubs.