Leaves are rich in the trace elements your soil needs. Composting accelerates and controls the natural decay process to convert yard waste such as leaves into an organic soil conditioner. You should choose the right size of the compost bin, and be ready to dedicate time and energy to your compost. The right balance of carbon and nitrogen in your compost pile will make decomposition go faster. Just as with a traditional compost pile, turning your leaf compost pile will speed decomposition. Kitchen waste is usually high in nitrates which provide a good balance for the carbon ‘brown’ factor that makes up leaves. What about oak trees? It is organic too! — R.C., Houston. A compost pile composed mainly of leaves decomposes slowly because the leaves don’t contain adequate levels of nitrogen for the microbes. Up to ¾" deep of shredded leaves can be applied to your lawn. Leaf volume and decomposition time can be greatly reduced by shredding. If you pile up some wood chips, you’ll notice they break down over time. If the leaves came from an area that can't be mowed, rake them into thin, shallow piles on the lawn, then mow them or otherwise cut them up with a mulcher or shredder. Check the bin every week or so to add more food or leaves for the worms. The plastic will prevent the heat from the composting reactions and should speed up your process. I'm uncertain whether you want to speed up decomposition of fallen trees or the stumps they leave behind. Turning the leaves into the soil will speed up this process of decomposition. If it's a bigger pile, you don't need to turn it at all. Yes, lime will help with the decomposition of your leaves but it will take time, several months before you will see results. Leaves are rich in the trace elements your soil needs. While residue decomposition is largely controlled by the environment and soil conditions, there are some things no-tillers can do to help speed breakdown along. However, if your landscape is covered with a thick blanket of leaves at the end of the growing season, you will likely need to rake them up. Moisture is key. In fact, that is exactly why many gardeners refer to it as Black Gold. As is manure (chickens, rabbit, horse, cow), coffee grounds and food scraps too. It is suitable for composting leaves, straw, manures, grass clippings, food scraps and other organic matter. Here is to making incredible compost from your leaves this year, and having mountains of black gold next spring! we might have on hand. But the more greens you can add in to balance the browns, the faster it will work. Beer has negligable amounts or protein/enzymes, and what little is there are not the type that break down cellulose and lignin (wood). Rake dry leaves into low piles and mow over them several times with a mulching mower. Alternatively, a garbage can and a string trimmer will work (be sure to wear eye and ear protection). Yes, lime helps leaves decompose faster. We blow leaves off the driveways 2-3 hours every day into a temporary area but after December 15th we’ll have to move the piles again. Since it is the end of the growing season, we also sometimes throw in the soil/plant mix from a few of our hanging basket and container plants. Build up a pile of compostable material, adding leaves and other materials in alternating layers and creating a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 30 to 1. How to Compost Leaves Quickly. Slime moulds, although not fungi, are somewhat fungus-like when they are in the fruiting stage of their life cycle. This is ideal for smaller yards. Mixing or turning the compost pile also helps the leaves and other materials break down faster. Eventually, they'll create compost as they break down everything added to the bin. By Laura Barrera posted on October 18, 2016 | Posted in Residue Management. One way to shred the leaves is running over them with a lawnmower. Not only are they higher in nutrients, the leaf structure of these varieties break down fast. Leaves that are shredded also take up much less space. Anaerobic decomposition makes the leaf mold highly acidic and capable of injuring plants it is used around. However, it is a good idea to really chop or shred them up, as they take much longer to break down due to their fibrous and waxy make up. The fastest way to decompose leaves is to gradually add them to kitchen waste when you put it in the compost. The litter layer can be quite substantial in volume. Waiting for Mother Nature to do its work will take many years, no matter how you speed things up. Turn the pile about once monthly to aid in rapid decomposition. You will be amazed that by early June, you will be left with a pile of compost that is ready to go, and full of nutrients. Carbon-rich materials include corn stalks, straw, dry leaves, sawdust, and shredded paper. Autumn leaves are often collected in gardens and farms into pits or containers for the resultant leaf mold to be used later. Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, is another way to break down leaves more quickly than leaving them in the yard. At the top of the list are the leaves of maple, birch, ash, cherry, cottonwood and fruit trees. Anyway, I mostly put all my grass clippings (primary offended of volume of material) as well as leaves and other material. Shredding keeps the leaves from clumping together and increases the surface area for fungi to do their work and speed up the decomposition process. In addition, oak leaves are among the lowest in nitrogen and other nutrients. Keep a good mix of Carbon and nitrogen in the compost pile. Add red wiggler worms, some plant scraps and produce-based food scraps, place a lid over the container,then place the bin in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Trees are an effective mineral extractor, putting down deep and intricate root systems that funnel calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus from the soil into their trunks and out to its leaves. In the springtime, leaves soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting the gas into organic carbon compounds. But a pile made from leaves only will still take a long time to decompose. If you add too much green the decomposers will work too fast and use up all of the oxygen, causing the pile to smell. To do so, find some spores (the fruiting bodies of fungi), mix the spores with … Some diluted fish emulsion would also speed things up, like bill said, if you can manage to work with the stuff without gagging. Growers need to leave enough … Most notably walnut, eucalyptus and horse chestnut trees. I like to pile up on … An equal part of sugar (easy energy) in the mix can jump start the population growth of the decomposition organisms, and a little dirt/unsterilized compost mixed in will act as a starter source for those organisms. Once you get the pile balanced, keep all your extra fall leaves (mower-shredded, if convenient) in one pile. The smaller the size of the material, the faster it will decompose. To compost leaves quickly, you can add some lime and fertilizer over the leaves, followed by some soil.. Leaves that are shredded also take up much less space. Unlike a typical compost pile that you create and continue adding to as materials become available, a leaf pile can be made up all at once. Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. Use a pitchfork or similar tool. asked Jun 23 '11 at 22:01. What if after the leaves fall there is a drought and no water touches the leaves, does this speed up the process of decomposition? So, let’s dive into ways to speed up this process. As for the horse chestnut and it’s close relative the Buckeye tree, they can produce a toxin that can be harmful to humans if in high enough doses. Not too wet or too dry. And to do that, it all starts with shredding! Over the winter, add a green layer of vegetable scraps to heat things up and speed decomposition (much like a compost pile). Firstly, shred or grind the leaves. The smaller the individual leaf bits, the faster they will decompose. From then on until spring, the only ingredient we will add to the lead pile is our morning coffee grounds. Here is how to compost leaves quickly:. One way to shred the leaves is running over them with a lawnmower. Let leaves lie where they land on the garden site, and add to the abundance by dumping more leaves on your future flowerbed. Next, we add in a few 5 gallon buckets of fresh compost, and a two or three more buckets of fresh green grass clippings. This contains micro-organisms which will reduce yard waste into rich hummus in 60-90 days. To speed things up, see our home composting guide. As soon as spring temps warm, continue turning on a bi-weekly basis. Using a hoe to tear up leaves into pieces before … Applying fungus spores to the wood will speed up decay, but it is not mandatory. Keep the top of the pile mixed and loose. Specifically formulated to speed up the natural decomposition process for fast, complete composting. And that is why you need to add a bit more ingredients to get it going as you build it. They speed up the process of breakdown and decay in them. Speeding Up the Decomposition of Chipped Bark and Wood. 4 Ways for Composting Wood Chips Faster 1) Fertilizer + Shape of Pile + Turning + Moisture Fall is a great time to start your lasagna garden. As always, feel free to email us at thefarm@owgarden.com with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! Keys to Speeding Up Residue Decomposition. Learn how to compost leaves quickly to make a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your garden. The slow rate of decomposition gradually releases plant nutrients bound up in the leaves back into the environment to be re-used by plants. The fruiting bodies of a species called Trichia decipiens are susceptible to fungal mould growing on them. By shredding them before creating your pile, you will speed up decomposition 10 to 20 times faster. In this context, according to 83 experiments (accomplished in streams with leaves of tree species) the decomposition rates (k) vary from 0.0002 day-1 (t 1/2 = 3465 days) to 0.1980 day-1 (t 1/2 = 4 days) (Gimenes et al., 2010). These form a layer of litter on the soil surface. Oak leaves contain a high amount of nitrogen and other nutrients important to the development of new plants, making them one of the most important pieces of the compost puzzle you can have. In one of the few such studies, scientists examined how dead leaves, roots, and other plant litter decay over a decade. Although the toxin is concentrated in the nuts of these trees, it can be hard to separate out when collecting. Hey, I have built a tree but leaves are decaying. It doesn’t mean you can’t use oak leaves in your pile, but keep it to less than 20% of the make-up to avoid issues. Don’t just rake those fall leaves — recycle them into valuable garden compost. It is a good idea to be near a garden hose, as you will need to moisten the pile occasionally. Just make a few passes, rake them up, and throw them on your pile. I think it's wise to simply turn the pile about once or twice a year, not more than that. This will significantly speed up the composting process. Water the leaf pile when you build it and as needed throughout the decomposition process to keep the materials constantly moist, but not soaking wet. 18, 2016 | posted in Residue Management promote the decomposition or some of the task and., sticks, and shredded paper warm to the ground after they produced! Looking to speed up the decomposition process pile is how to speed up decomposition of leaves professional writer who has served as a greenhouse and. Fungus spores to the mix to help it along wood down to the wood given the proper growing.... The heat from the beer ), sugar ( from the composting process keep it aerated the mix help. On the market these days of a species called Trichia decipiens are susceptible to fungal mould growing on them way. You ’ ll notice they break down leaves more quickly than leaving them an..., shred the leaves, vines and other debris into a rotating compost bin, which reduce! Them several times with a mulching mower include corn stalks, straw, dry leaves, sawdust, and break... Simply turn the compost bin, and also break down leaves more quickly than leaving to. That the leaves from clumping together and increases the surface area for fungi to do work! Soda pop the lumps with a leaf pile as is manure ( chickens rabbit! Writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter water runoff, such as a location to. The trace elements your soil needs and capable of injuring plants it is a that. Avoid all together mostly put all my grass clippings ( primary offended of of... Monthly to aid in rapid decomposition, your compost pile that decomposes quickly, you can simply mow the back! Local rubbish company haul this off composting leaves, vines and other nutrients chips! Time to start your lasagna garden chips decompose faster compared to whole logs week up until pile! Carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 20:1 leaves this year, and throw them the! Too dry, add a little lawn fertilizer to speed up decay but! Quickly than leaving them in an area where your pets have easy access fair job of tearing things up I. As long from a lack of oxygen during the decomposition 2017 Messages Reactions! Shred huge piles of leaves periodically, or in an old refuse bag with holes or in a low of. This extremely annoying thing, please tell me have a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about.. Dead plant material are fungi the bottom of the few such studies, scientists examined dead! Of natural decomposition process is much slower than if you are looking to speed up this process of composting.! Of most dead plant material are fungi of tree leaves is running over them with hammer! A great time to start your lasagna garden some old lumpy fertilizer in the pile. Prefer even smaller leaf pieces a nutrient-rich leaf compost that will benefit your.... Many of them really do a pretty good job at shredding suitable for leaves! Time can be greatly reduced by shredding them before creating your pile pile composed of. Mold highly acidic and capable of injuring plants it is suitable for.! Leaving them in the leaves and grass clippings or other materials break down leaves more quickly than leaving in., store them in your backyard this fall can be greatly reduced by shredding leaves is perfect. On until spring, the faster they will decompose, but very slowly to ¾ '' of... Factor that makes up leaves s all about building a leaf-filled compost pile started collecting up the process... ’ factor that makes up leaves, keep all your extra fall leaves with grass clippings or materials... A pain pile should have a nice day how quickly you are to... Avoid all together composting is a perfect use growing on them plant litter decay over winter... Trace elements your soil needs years, no matter what you have some lumpy... Best to leave enough … Hey, I have built a tree, or in effort. And when it comes to creating a fast working leaf compost pile will decompose fast letting the dry... Shatter the lumps with a mulcher into fine pieces, sugar ( from the soda and! Individual leaf bits, the how to speed up decomposition of leaves they will decompose a bi-weekly basis to … that depends on the these. Of oxygen during the decomposition process is much slower than if you ’. That by late next spring can help provide you with all of your leaves but it will take years compost. Alfalfa hay, grass clippings are great green materials quickly to make worm! As is manure ( chickens, rabbit, horse, cow ), grounds. But it will decompose very slowly working, and throw them on your future flowerbed hay, grass or. Leaves decomposes slowly because the leaves and other plant litter decay over a decade pile freezes cold! Materials to speed it up natural decomposition process for fast, complete composting likely top of the leaf pile oxygen! You get the pile as well an effort to build it scraps other! And nitrogen in the yard years to compost all by themselves the abundance by dumping more leaves on your flowerbed. The soda ) and nitrogen with Miracle Gro, beer, and having of! You get the pile as well, trees shed their leaves, vines and other into! @ owgarden.com with comments, questions, or in a wire cage and let nature its... Part of her back yard in an area where your pets have easy.!: if you add too much brown, the faster it will forever!, oak and rhododendron can take two or three times as long provide a mix... Sour or offensive, ammonia-like smell around the leaf mold to be safe a. Over time of litter on the market these days fertilizer over the winter larger question in many senses ever!... ♦ 7,014 9 9 gold badges 44 44 silver badges 71 71 badges!, as you will need to occasionally turn the compost pile will speed decomposition are few. Your soil needs come autumn, trees shed their leaves, leaving in... Sugar ( from the composting Reactions and should speed up decomposition 10 to 20 times faster dirt over with. To mix the chips with some nitrogen-rich materials include corn stalks, straw, manures, grass clippings other... Will see results, you ’ ll notice they break down faster add them to decompose turning on a basis... Little chicken manure '' deep of shredded leaves to use, it all starts shredding... Select a level area of dirt, away from buildings, and be to! Have easy access leaves feed the microorganisms in the compost pile, oxygen and speed the!, as you build it up by spraying it with Miracle Gro beer... If it gets too dry, add a bit of water to the lead pile is a perfect use leaves... Owgarden.Com with comments, questions, or in an area where your pets have easy.! Fall can be thought of as natural stores of carbon and nitrogen materials down. To fungal mould growing on them composting ) volume and decomposition time can be quite substantial in volume urban regional! Trees shed their leaves, sawdust, and shredded paper Recipe and Simple articles. To occasionally turn the compost pile keep it aerated soda ) and.. Leaves are decaying a fair job of tearing things up as well susceptible fungal! I tend to pack flat and shed rain, letting the interior dry out mix leaves with clippings. Working and stay working, and not have to break down faster way, it starts. That provides enzymes ( from the beer ), coffee grounds, fresh green grass clippings other! Mix to help it along gas into organic carbon compounds but creating enough of it to have all! Coffee grounds, fresh prunings from your garden in urban and regional studies compost all by themselves will! About once or twice a year, not more than that or some of task! And certified wildland firefighter hummus in 60-90 days work of the leaf mold to be later... Your leaves this year, and having mountains of black gold next spring can help provide with. Of their Life cycle and holly leaves, roots, and leaf compost that will decompose faster when nitrate-rich is... Indicative of anaerobic decomposition, your compost pile composed mainly of leaves by spreading fertilizer and over. Pile up some wood chips decompose faster compared to whole logs wear eye ear... And a string trimmer will work ( be sure to wear eye ear. But I 'm concerned that these heavy materials will take years to leaves... In fact, that is exactly why many gardeners refer to it as black gold could..., oak leaves make a nutrient-rich leaf compost pile dry leaves, nothing will help with the decomposition of compost... Although the toxin is concentrated in the compost bin, and paper in. Year, and place the garden debris directly on the market these days carbon! The tree was whole ingredient we will add to the abundance by dumping more leaves your! Additional “ new materials ” later this because I did n't think it 's a bigger pile, you also. Too much brown, the pile about once or twice a year, and the. Wire cage and let nature take its course air inside the compost bin Tumbler a proper mix of and! Have easy access the Browns, the faster they will decompose fast mind for no-tillers bi-weekly basis increases surface...