wood chip compost

Discussion in 'Soils, Fertilizers and Composting' started by kossetx, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. kossetx

    kossetx Member

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    Hi, New here, so please bear with me. I'm having trouble figuring out what is right and wrong for making compost.

    I have a ranch with not the best soil. It was an old cotton farm and that may have depleated the soil. In reclaiming the pasture I cut out tens of thousands of mesquite and cedar trees. After burning most of them, I finally bought a 6" chipper for my tractor. It makes fabulous mounds of fairly small chips which I hope will make some good compost someday to apply to my soil.

    The question is, when I chip lots of freshly cut down cedar, youpon, mesquite, elm, oak, etc., can a portion of that be considered "greens"? I'm having trouble getting enough cow manure to add to the piles and other greens are in short supply in the winter. When the summer comes, manure is in short supply because the dung beetles cart it off so fast. I added 2 yards of cow manure to 5 yards of green chips. Is that enough to make good compost? For a month, the chips by themselves didn't heat up much, so they aren't really greens, I'm guessing. They did start to turn a nice brown color.

    Does anyone have experience mulching fresh wood?

    TIA, MP
     
  2. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    The wood chips have a very high carbon ratio to nitrogen, and it takes some pretty tough little fellas (micro organisms) to break down the wood, actinomycetes are the best at breaking down woody material.......hold on i'll go find some sites which explain it all and 1 i think even gives you mixes for best results.....*elevator music as you wait*

    ok heres 1 of the sites, the other appears to be down or doesn't exist anymore, however this is the better site anyway

    http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/needs_carbon_nitrogen.htm
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I just spread it over the beds and leave it, as mulch.
     
  4. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    I use wood chips in a reasonable quantity to improve drainage. The chips are mostly hardwood obtained from the city. I put them through my yard machine to chop them even into smaller pieces and let them compost until sping about 7 months in the pile. Genrally I avoid evergreens in any quantity, but allow a bit to be used.

    In the spring I put a layer over the garden and work into the soil with the rototiller. One can hardly see them when worked in. My idea is to improve water drainage down to the roots. I am familiar with the requirement for nitropgen to break these chips further while in the garden. Apparently there is sufficient nitrogen in the compost I get from the dity each spring, and I do not appear to have a nitrogen defficiency, since the plants are usually twice the size compared to any garden I had in the past.

    Just my experience.

    Durgan.
     

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