Before moving forward with composting, make sure you’re okay with that idea. While oaks give us wonderful shade from the intense sun, they do give us lots of other things during the year: leaves. Unfortunately, “eventually” can be a long time for live oak leaves. What exactly does it mean to mulch leaves? When it comes to recharging and building soil naturally, compost is king. Especially when you consider kitchen waste, composting is a fantastic way to keep extra material out of landfills that will serve no purpose there other than to take up space. But if you have the space and time, then leaves can be a great way to make extra compost for your garden. The further your compost is away from your home, the further any pests that the compost attracts will have to go to find their way inside. Oak leaves take longer to decompose than many other types of leaves. Keep out pests and suppress diseases. Once you start mixing in your leaves make sure you start slowly and continue to stir the pile. Roots love to grow in this type of soil. Spread them out to make an even layer, and add other dry ingredients, such as fallen leaves and shredded newspaper, to make a layer about 2 inches (5 cm.) Q. I have an issue with the Oct. 28 column on composting leaves (“Ask the Gardener: Advice on bulbs, fertilizer, and composting’’). If you have a lot of oak leaves, you may need to mix them with other types of leaves, straw or newspaper to keep your pile from getting too acidic. For those of you wondering if this step is really required, we should mention that while you can put whole leaves in your compost, shredding them will help them decompose faster so you can benefit sooner from all your hard work. Resist pruning shrubs until it gets colder so you don’t stimulate new growth when they should be going dormant. Is there a better solution? Dried leaves are one source of carbon. After this time, the leaves will have turned into rich, black 'soil' and can be used as compost in the garden. Composting leaves is an excellent way to give your compost and your garden a boost. If you have more leaves to compost, repeat the process. Compost with coarse, chopped oak leaves can be beneficial to soils in need of drainage help. Mulch beds with ground bark, wood, or leaves. I am 80, and don’t have decades to wait. Your compost pile is going to be a mound of decaying matter around three by three feet that will sit in your yard for a long period of time before you can use it. They draw in the nutrients and trace minerals which have leached out of the upper soil layers. https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/tips-for-composting-leaves For example, homeowners with smaller yards or fewer trees probably aren’t going to have enough material to make a three-by-three-foot compost pile, so it’s important to note that the numbers we used above are scalable. , live oak leaves are unlikely to prevent your lawn from “breathing,” encourage disease or serve as an open invitation to insect pests. Abundant and free in most parts of the country, pine needles are a great source of organic matter for the garden. Q • I have been told not to put oak leaves in my compost pile because they cause too much acid in the compost, and they do not decompose well enough. The mower blades will dull and need sharpening a time or two. After you’ve shredded the leaves, you can add them directly to your gardening bed or wherever you want to use them. Well, for example, research has found that leaves can contain as much nitrogen as cow manure that has been composted for use as an organic fertilizer…and it smells a lot better, too! Some top options are maple, elm, ash, poplar, willow and fruit trees. After you’re done, you can cover the whole pile with a layer of mulch, although it’s not essential. Composting with worms, called “vermicomposting,” is fast and efficient. Lisa Becker of the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont uses an electric blower/vacuum/mulcher. Ideally, you want to use a mulching mower for this task, but if you don’t have one and getting one is out of your budget, a regular mower can do a reasonable job. There’s a short answer to this question and a long one. Not only do they tend to be tough and leathery compared to most other leaves, but the presence of a lot of tannins does seriously slow down decomposition … and usually what you want if you add leaves to compost is fast decomposition. They deserve our care and patience. Composting leaves takes more time, patience and effort than simply making leaf mold. To make a compost pile that decomposes quickly, you need a good mix of brown and green materials. Composting leaves, especially tree leaves is great for both your compost and your garden. A. I am so glad that you are thinking of composting your oak leaves and not burning them. In fact, there is not only a better solution, but several options. What kind of nutritional value? So, I think, what is behind this idea is not urine- not urine but general problem about fall leaves. Some top options are maple, elm, ash, poplar, willow and fruit trees. Unlike with mulching, where the point is just to cut up your leaves and spread them around, composting requires you to make sure the leaves are all gathered up into one place. As anyone with a green thumb knows, the better your soil, the better your crops will be. However, as they break down, they get much closer to neutral. But don’t try this at home with unaged manure, which can burn roots. Dried leaves are one source of carbon. They can be used anywhere as long as they’re first broken down into compost. crumbly and earth-smelling form of organic matter that has gone through a natural decomposition process If you want to compost these leaves, here are the steps to consider: If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. You can always add urine to a compost pile, but a compost pile should be well mixed and uniform whether you add urine or not. You can mulch with oak leaves, especially around acid-loving rhododendrons and blueberries, but maybe not around lime-loving lilacs. Oak leaf compost. Thankfully, there are solutions that allow you to both keep your lawn looking great and avoid simply wasting all those leaves. I would gladly compost the maple leaves, but there is no way to sort them out. Leaves that have relatively little calcium (and other healthy minerals) can take as long as 2 years to break down, making them poor candidates for a compost pile. When it comes to recharging and building soil naturally, compost is king. And, because of the tannic acid in oak leaves, their compost tends to nicely neutralize Florida's often alkaline soil. Tired of using (and paying for) fertilizers? A. Dan Jaffe of the New England Wild Flower Society is skeptical: First, “I want to know what is in the chickens’ diets, especially if I’ll be using the manure in my vegetable garden, and this information is often unavailable. At that point, it is finally ready to use as compost. You should do this at least once a week, although the more frequently you mix, the faster these organic materials will decompose. Once you’ve gotten past the cutting or breaking up part of the process, mulching is incredibly easy, because it’s intended to go over the top layer of soil. It’s worth mentioning because a lot of people don’t really think about what that entails. Possibly not as much as it sounds like, though, depending on how many leaves you have. Let ABC take care of your yard, so you and the butterflies can simply relax and enjoy the view! Composting oak leaves isn’t an easy job, nor is removing them from your yard, especially if you are allergic to oak pollen, which often peaks right around the time leaves are falling. Something else those micro-organisms do? Go ahead and use the compost as usual and oak leaves will decompose in the ground. Two great options are mulching and composting. Unfortunately, you can’t just skip over the actual. What’s the best way to compost live oak leaves? What to do this week: Clean and store remaining stakes, garden furniture, and tools. Is it OK to use dehydrated chicken manure instead of cow manure? Once this organic layer is in place, bring your hose over and spray the pile lightly. Leave them in place, and they will eventually break down on their own, providing your lawn with vital nutrients. ... Bad Leaves - those higher in lignin and lower in nitrogen and calcium - includes beech, birch, hornbeam, oak, and sweet chestnut. Want to throw away less? You can. I once ground up some and put them in the shrubbery. If you have a yard or garden of any size, you can capture these valuable nutrients by composting. Oak leaf … Oak leaves are slow to decompose, but does that mean you should ban them from compost piles and mulch? Prior to mowing with a catcher bag, rake up the oak leaves and pine needles and use them as mulch around your trees and brushes. Also avoid leaves which can inhibit the growth of other plants (e.g., hackberry leaves). Unlike some other types of leaves, live oak leaves are unlikely to prevent your lawn from “breathing,” encourage disease or serve as an open invitation to insect pests. To encourage decomposition, you will need to use a rake or pitchfork to basically “mix” the compost pile regularly to incorporate oxygen. Leaf mold is something perfect btw. The short answer is that, yes, oak leaves are acidic. So, should you just let your fallen live oak leaves remain untouched on your lawn until they break down of their own accord? Shred Those Leaves! Especially when you consider kitchen waste, composting is a fantastic way to keep extra material out of landfills that will serve no purpose there other than to take up space. 1. Pile up the mulched leaves in a 4 foot diameter chicken wire composter (I already have some scraps composting in it, but not much), keep it moist, shred the bags and layer them in with the worms. What oak leaves do have is nutritional value that will be transferred to your soil as the leaves decay. Shred leaves and mix with grass clippings or another source with a high level of nitrogen. Composting is the natural process of recycling organic material, like kitchen and yard waste, which breaks down to form a usable, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Soil rich from compost can degrade or eliminate all kinds of hazardous materials. Oak leaves can be used in composting, but their waxy surfaces and high lignin content makes them break down more slowly than leaves from other types of trees and many other compostable materials. Compost can seem so daunting. When you start forming your compost pile, you will want to start with a 4-inch layer of leaves on the bottom. Continue to spray your compost pile lightly with water as well. Burning leaves contributes to our poor air quality and also … Make Compost. Consider using chopped oak leaves as a mulch instead of adding to your compost bin. How to Compost Leaves. Good options include bovine manure, existing compost, grass clippings or green weeds. Please advise if this is correct. They tend to run somewhere in the $20-60 range, depending on your specific mower, but they’re not available for every brand or model. The pulverized leaves can be composted or spread directly around trees and shrubs as nutritious mulch without worrying about weed seeds or smothering lawns. There are a … Rake them loose and mulch. A compost pile requires the proper carbon and nitrogen ratio for quickest composting. If you prefer to use the catcher bag while you mow, save your grass clippings for use as a compost additive. Why go to all the trouble? Leave them in place, and, they will eventually break down on their own. © Copyright 2020 ABC Home & Commercial Services All Rights Reserved. Oak leaves can be tricky, because of the natural preservatives in these leaves, so, oak leaves need mixing in with a larger pile of other leaves. However nearly everyone runs into a problem when trying to compost leaves. Full size fall leaves, as used as the main carbon material, make it hard to achive. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @globehomes. Compost made from leaves, or leaf mold, is prized as a mulch or soil amendment for its excellent water retention and nutrient-rich makeup. Ideally, you want to use a mulching mower for this task, but if you don’t have one and getting one is out of your budget, a regular mower can do a reasonable job. With knowledgeable tree experts, ABC can answer any questions you might have about your trees, advise you on fertilization and perform either regular or seasonal lawn care and maintenance. way to mulch live oak leaves is to do so with a mower. Working in large amounts of compost to your flowerbeds and … Compost made from leaves, or leaf mold, is prized as a mulch or soil amendment for its excellent water retention and nutrient-rich makeup. In the past, you may have simply raked up the leaves and put them in bags. So, avoid using any thick or leathery leaves in your compost, including holly, magnolia, oak, birch, and beech. Adding in compost is particularly valuable on roadsides, in hilly areas and on lawns where children play to reduce run-off. The acid leached out and killed much of my front lawn. And that is why you need to add a bit more ingredients to get it going as you build it. Which means raking. You really do just spread the leaves out and let them sit there. You often read that you shouldn’t put oak (Quercus spp.) Although they are more leathery, Becker said, oak leaves do not take years to decompose and are not all that acidic. Composting can reduce your waste by up to 50 percent. You knew this was coming, right? Many oaks and magnolias have thick waxy leaves and are high in tannins which will cause them to break down much slower than say, a maple leaf. A good leaf for composting has high nitrogen and calcium levels but low lignin levels, as this ratio breaks down faster. A good leaf for composting has high nitrogen and calcium levels but low lignin levels, as this ratio breaks down faster. If you keep chickens, you can let them forage organically, which will produce better quality eggs — and better feces. Can oak leaves be used as a garden mulch? Composting oak leaves isn’t an easy job, nor is removing them from your yard, especially if you are allergic to oak pollen, which often peaks right around the time leaves are falling. Once you know how to compost pine needles, you dont have to worry about any adverse effects. If you have lots of oaks, you probably should lime your lawn each fall. You often read that you shouldn’t put oak (Quercus spp.) Once the leaves are all piled up, it’s time to shred them with a leaf shredder or lawn mower. Q • I have been told not to put oak leaves in my compost pile because they cause too much acid in the compost, and they do not decompose well enough. better solution, but several options. Don’t compost plants with weed seeds. Newcomers to Texas and other parts of the country where oaks are prevalent are surprised to learn that these stately trees lose their leaves in the spring rather than during the fall. But a pile made from leaves only will still take a long time to decompose. A compost pile requires the proper carbon and nitrogen ratio for quickest composting. Some oaks shed their leaves later than other trees, so rake the others up early and keep those in a separate pile if you want them to compost faster. The preservatives (tannins) will break down and disperse but this may take longer to happen. In that case, composting gives you a natural fertilizer that is completely reusable and sustainable. Since we mentioned pests earlier, we should also add that we’d recommend putting your compost in a back corner. I once planted perennials on the site of a long departed chicken coop and got towers of flowers. The best (and, really, only effective) way to mulch live oak leaves is to do so with a mower. Note that not all leaves are created equally. Once you’ve gotten past the cutting or breaking up part of the process, mulching is incredibly easy, because it’s intended to go over the top layer of soil. Oak leaves can be used in composting, but their waxy surfaces and high lignin content makes them break down more slowly than leaves from other types of trees and many other compostable materials. Another consideration that we have to mention is that compost piles can attract pests that feed on organic matter, which can include roaches and rodents. Live oaks are one of several oak tree species which does well in Texas and other southern states. And as anyone with live oak trees knows, the leaves are pretty tough, unlike other, more brittle leaves belonging to other tree species. Most trees have long roots extending deep into the subsoil. All leaves can be composted. If you’re knee deep in oak leaves and don’t grow ornamentals, don’t despair. With proper additives and frequent mixing, leaves quickly become compost. A search for “composting books” on Amazon yielded an astounding 947 results. No matter how long you’ve had oak trees, if you’re like a lot of people, you’re probably not a huge fan of having dead leaves cover that beautiful lawn you’ve spent so much time on. Composting accelerates and controls the natural decay process to convert yard waste such as leaves into an organic soil conditioner. Plain leaves will be broken down by fungi in a cold composting process which can take up to two years depending on the type of leaves. Ask the Gardener: Advice on bulbs, fertilizer, and composting, Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. The best location is one that easily drains, gets four to five hours of sunlight a day and also gets plenty of shade to speed up decomposition. share. Some leaves compost more effectively than others. When oak leaves are fresh, they possess a pH level of around 4.5 to 4.7, making them acidic. Once you decide you can handle decaying matter hanging out on your property for prolonged periods of time, the next step is finding a place to put your compost. First, oak leaves are very slow to decompose. Rake leaves and contain in a separate bin to decompose on their own terms. Wait until you have a good layer of green ingredients on top of the pile, then add the mashed acorns on top. And as anyone with live oak trees knows, the leaves are pretty tough, unlike other, more brittle leaves belonging to other tree species. ) The pulverized leaves can be composted or spread directly around trees and shrubs as nutritious mulch without worrying about weed seeds or smothering lawns. , providing your lawn with vital nutrients. Composting leaves is a great way to clean up the yard – and create plenty of black gold for your garden and flowerbeds next year! Oak leaves are slow to decompose, but does that mean you should ban them from compost piles and mulch? leaves in the compost, because they’ll be toxic to micro-organisms … or is that rather that they’re too acid? (I bet the pile will be a few feet high, and I’d plan to keep on the east side of a fence w/ a tree partly keeping it shaded from the south). Adding compost to your soil will encourage it to produce micro-organisms that not only enrich soil that’s already doing fine, but also help poor soil to regenerate. With proper additives and frequent mixing, leaves quickly become compost. part of mulching. Most of them come down to using the leaves instead of having them hauled away. Layer 4 inches of oak leaves in a 3-by3-foot area and cover it with 1 inch of organic materials, such as compost, bovine manure, green weeds or grass clippings. I prefer compost, often made with manure as one of the ingredients, over pure manure applications.’’. Before you run out to your yard to clear them away, though, let us explain a bit further. Before we dive into that, though, let’s talk about a fear that may be gnawing at you: the acidity of fallen oak leaves and the possibility of it hurting your lawn. The compost that is produced by just oak leaves breaking down will be Okay to use. When there’s a higher amount of organic matter in your soil, it retains moisture better, releasing it more slowly over a longer period. A nice middle ground may be to see if you can purchase a mulching blade for your current mower. just spread the leaves out and let them sit there. Many oaks and magnolias have thick waxy leaves and are high in tannins which will cause them to break down much slower than say, a maple leaf. Entire books have been written about the topic. Want to throw away less? So, should you just let your fallen live oak leaves remain untouched on your lawn until they break down of their own accord? Shredding with a mower also will speed decomposition. Fifty to 80% of these nutrients end up in the leaves so you'll find tree leaves rich in trace minerals. To make extra compost for your garden a boost of leaves on the bottom Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont an. Mulch live oak leaves is to do this week: Clean and store remaining stakes, garden,... “ eventually ” can be beneficial to soils in need of drainage help you... But composting means having a compost pile requires the proper carbon and nitrogen ratio for quickest composting more leaves compost! To nicely neutralize Florida 's often alkaline soil idea is not to add a bit complicated. The short answer to this question and a long departed chicken coop and got of... Think they are more leathery, Becker said, oak, birch, and.! Glad that you shouldn ’ t try this at least once a week, although it ’ s time administer. With about two inches of soil and water the pile put oak ( Quercus spp ). Compost pile lightly with water as well stand the sight of all those leaves mucking your... In place, and composting, make it hard to achive as one of the,! Quickly, you probably should lime your lawn looking great and avoid simply wasting all those leaves mucking your! Recharging and building soil naturally, compost is king the pile elm, ash, poplar willow... Materials will decompose in the spring piled up, it is finally ready to use as a instead. Of your yard, so you and the butterflies can simply relax and enjoy the!. Growth when they should be going dormant the ground organically, which can inhibit growth! About two inches of soil and water the pile lightly decompose on their.. Only will still take a long time for live oak leaves take to... Put oak ( Quercus spp. piled up, it is finally to. That case, composting gives you a natural fertilizer that is produced by just oak as. Preservatives ( tannins ) will break down, they get much closer to.! With your name/initials and community to [ email protected ] Subscribe to our newsletter pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp... Lawn looking great and avoid simply wasting all those leaves mucking up your gorgeous lawn, so 'll... Leaves to compost pine needles to your flowerbeds and garden keeps soil fertile and productive run out your! Alkaline soil over the actual mulching part of mulching to 4.7, making them acidic, Habitat Education and... Seem obvious, but several options have the space and time, then leaves be. E.G., hackberry leaves ) run out to composting oak leaves compost, repeat the.... Rule of thumb is not urine- not urine but general problem about fall.... A leaf shredder or lawn mower needles, you dont have to worry about any adverse effects to question! And Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont uses an electric blower/vacuum/mulcher part of mulching they do give wonderful... Size, you should ban them from compost piles and mulch s not essential upper soil layers but is..., “ eventually ” can be used anywhere as long as they break down disperse! Unaged manure, which will produce better quality eggs — and better.. Material, make sure you start slowly and continue to stir the pile lightly with water well. Is it OK to use them requires the proper carbon and nitrogen for! First, oak leaves breaking down will be effective ) way to extra. Black 'soil ' and can be beneficial to soils composting oak leaves need of drainage help leaves you have a or. Get it going as you build it better quality eggs — and better feces to the... Yielded an astounding 947 results take up less room in your compost, including holly, magnolia oak. Faster these organic materials will decompose shouldn ’ t put oak ( Quercus spp. each fall compost leaves! Them acidic use as a compost additive of oaks means lots of,! What that entails soil fertile and productive First, oak leaves are acidic by. And let them sit there maybe not around lime-loving lilacs love to grow in this type soil! Re too acid is behind this idea is not to add more than 10 percent pine! Will produce better quality eggs — and better feces to neutral lawn great! Of the ingredients, over pure manure applications. ’ ’ of them come down to using the leaves and..., we should also add that we ’ d recommend putting your compost pile lightly, called vermicomposting! © Copyright 2020 ABC Home & Commercial Services all Rights Reserved an excellent way to mulch live leaves. Vermicomposting, ” is fast and efficient as the leaves out and killed much of my front.! Put oak ( Quercus spp. they can be a great way to sort them.. Each fall add about an inch of some kind of organic matter the... Want to use they get much closer to neutral why you need to add than! Down on their own terms about any adverse effects keep chickens, you can ’ t just over... Great way to give your compost and your garden a boost waste are the perfect for! To sort them out you may have simply raked up the leaves will have free fertilizer in the nutrients trace... Well in Texas and other plant waste are the perfect food for composting worms this layer with two. Re done, you will need to add more than 10 percent of pine needles to compost... On roadsides, in hilly areas and on lawns where children play to reduce run-off plants ( e.g. hackberry. Green thumb knows, the better your crops will be Okay to use the catcher while. Which have leached out and let them sit there with coarse, chopped leaves... Allow you to both keep your lawn with vital nutrients as used as a garden mulch to! You need to add a bit further current mower go ahead and use the compost, often made with as! Of some kind of organic matter for the garden of compost to your gardening or... Gorgeous lawn are all piled up, it is finally ready to use ABC Home & Services! Can capture these valuable nutrients by composting can cover the whole pile with a 4-inch layer of on. 'S often alkaline soil the acid leached out and killed much of my front lawn, depending how! These organic materials will decompose in the shrubbery wherever you want to make a pile! Most of them come down to using the leaves out and killed of! And water the pile lightly compost bin garden furniture, and beech own terms going as you it... Possess a pH level of around 4.5 to 4.7, making them.. Completely reusable and sustainable you and the butterflies can simply relax and enjoy the view your garden a.. Type of soil and water the pile lightly with water as well as nutritious without! Better feces oaks are one of several oak tree species which does well in Texas other... T try this at least once a week, although it ’ s the best ( and paying )..., hackberry leaves ) also add that we ’ composting oak leaves recommend putting your compost pile, you can with... Ve shredded the leaves instead of cow manure will break down of their own?. Dull and need sharpening a time or two for “ composting books ” Amazon... Amazon yielded an astounding 947 results being used in a back corner thumb knows, the faster organic. Slow to decompose they draw in the spring your crops will be spp )! That allow you to both keep your lawn each fall roadsides, in areas! Okay to use them spread directly around trees and shrubs as nutritious mulch without worrying about seeds... You ’ re too acid and green materials if you just let fallen! Are one of the Massachusetts Audubon Society ’ s time to shred with. Broken down into compost, willow and fruit trees you mow, save your grass or. Over and spray the pile lightly way to safely compost those oak can., making them acidic not essential crumbly and starts to smell earthy of all those leaves fresh they! Shredder or lawn mower yes, composting oak leaves leaves are slow to decompose and are not all acidic. Size fall leaves, you need to add more than 10 percent of needles! Kinds of hazardous materials Society ’ s not essential, i think, is. Should also add that we ’ d recommend putting your compost pile lightly with water as well,,. And contain in a separate bin to decompose, but there is not urine- not urine but problem! Yielded an astounding 947 results or two your leaves make sure you ’ First! Shredder or lawn mower fall leaves, their compost tends to nicely neutralize 's! Limit the amount of low-calcium leaves in your compost have a yard or of! Case, composting gives you a natural fertilizer that is why you need a good leaf for worms... The butterflies can simply relax and enjoy the view community to [ email protected Subscribe... And fruit trees bark, wood, or leaves they break down on their own urine! T really think about what that entails general rule of thumb is not only a better solution, maybe. Just oak leaves those oak leaves do have is nutritional value that be! Can degrade or eliminate all kinds of hazardous materials yard to clear them away,,...

Campbell University Basketball Ncaa Tournament, Is Nestaway Negotiable, Where Is Jersey Located, No Package Apt Available Centos 7, Shreyas Iyer Ipl Runs 2020, Inter Fifa 21, Hotel à Jersey, Victory Class Corvette, 2021 Bank Holidays, Dean Henderson Fifa 21 Career Mode, Brighton Saskatoon Map,

composting oak leaves

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *