I have access to quantities of wood shavings & sawdust, which I'd like to rot
down to augment my soil. A fair proportion of it is red cedar which has the
reputation of being especially slow to rot.
I wouldn't put wood on my regular compost pile as that would slow things there.
I'd prefer to avoid using strong chemicals on the wood, but still find a way to
encourage the rot.
Any (polite) suggestions?
Don't know how polite it is, but high carbon material, like wood shavings,
composts better when mixed with high nitrogen material. There are readily
available human sources of N around, though males tend to have an easier
time of application of N than females do. Other than that, you could mix
in other high N sources, including grass clippings and/or "lawn fertilizer"
like ammonium nitrate (34-0-0). The other part of the equation is to
keep the wood moist but not wet, and oxygenated.
I live in an area with poor, rocky, heavy clay soils, and a warmish, wet
winter and dry summers. I get the local tree-trimming crews for the
power company to drop off a load of chips when I spot them around, and I
spread them out on the soil into a layer about 8" deep and have just
let them rot as they are -- the wood is mostly doug fir, western cedar,
and a very nice Atlas cedar that was taken down when they were widening
a road :-( The chips are about 50% composted in two years.
I have not turned the "piles" for extra oxygenation.
Nitrogen supplementation has been minimal... whatever the local deer and
birds contribute, but I did put 'em where the water flows off our driveway
to keep them somewhat moister in the summer. Anyhow, that might give
you an idea of a possible rate of composting with no continuing
attention and minimal inputs.
|I live in an area with poor, rocky, heavy clay soils, and a warmish, wet
|winter and dry summers. I get the local tree-trimming crews for the
|power company to drop off a load of chips when I spot them around, and I
|spread them out on the soil into a layer about 8" deep and have just
|let them rot as they are.
Interesting. Thanks for the info. We have similar conditions. Those chips you're
getting would be more like chunks than shavings, I guess. I haven't seen the
output from those mobile chippers. Are the pieces about one inch max size?
I get piles delivered and cover our walking paths with it. The energy
of being walked on speeds up the rotting process. Be sure to keep it
away from wooden structures because of termites.
Keep an eye out for poison ivy cuttings unless you have great tree
working folks doing that for you. I let the piles sit a year or two
We call it wood chips but the size is not uniform. I think that any
thing once alive or passed through a digestive tract is a good amendment.
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
http://www.ocutech.com/ High tech Vison aid
Maybe 4" x 1/2" x 1" or so. But pretty well broken up, not smooth like
planer shavings. The actual sizes depend on the equipment... but it's
whole branches from live trees when it starts out, so you also get some
foliage in there, so mine are starting out with more N than yours (from
I'm trying potatoes in the half-decomposed stuff this year, just to see
if lazy potato growing is a possibility here, so at least that section
will get more water this summer than it would have ordinarily.
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