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  1. #1
    Gold Member HarleyScooter's Avatar
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    Canton, Ohio
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    Kubota/ BX2230

    Default What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    What is the best thing to add to piles of leaves to make them decompose at a faster rate? I would like to spread the piles out and mix them with existing soil, to hopefully be able to plant some grass someday in my neighbors back yard.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Waterman, DeKalb County, Illinois
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    John Deere 855 MFWD; Oliver 1850 Gas

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( What is the best thing to add to piles of leaves to make them decompose at a faster rate?)</font>

    A match. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Dave

  3. #3
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    3,758
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    Charlottesville, VA, USA
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    JD 1025, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    Best way to get them to decompose is to shred them. Here's a web site for a cheap shredder that does leaves really well: http://www.polsteins.com/flellesh.html

    Ralph

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
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    Upper Midwest USA
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    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    Decomposing takes a lot of nitrogen, so adding it will help re-establish that nitrogen, I understand.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    799
    Location
    Southern Indiana
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    JD 2440/4440/4020/4955

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( What is the best thing to add to piles of leaves to make them decompose at a faster rate? I would like to spread the piles out and mix them with existing soil, to hopefully be able to plant some grass someday in my neighbors back yard.
    Thanks )</font>

    My garden ground was about worthless when we first bought the property from my in-laws. I decided right off I needed to add a BUNCH of stuff to the soil. Lime, some sand, and a couple truck loads of manure (every fall). I also built 3 compost "bins". I have one that's new stuff. One that's "aging" and the third is what I work out of each summer. I have a couple friends in the lawncare industry. They haul all their grass clippings and leaves to me.

    The only way I can get that much material to decompose at a reasonable rate is to add 34-0-0 (ammonium Nitrate) fertilizer to it every few weeks. I use about 50 lbs per every 2 cu. yds. I add a bag every 4 to 5 weeks. That' and a couple loader buckets full of horse manure at the same time....

    You can feel the heat coming off of the piles about 20 feet away from them.

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Oct 2003
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    Northeast, Ohio
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    TC-40D SS New Holland

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    Scott you could save a few bucks and just till the leaves in the ground in the fall along with and other materials such as grass clippings. They will quickly decompose over the winter and you can plant your grass seed in the spring.

    If you are looking for rye grass seed I can get it for 8 bucks a 50 pound bag. It's cheap to put down and then if you want a better lawn you can over-seed when the time is right.

    Let me know if I can help.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Sep 2004
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    Vermont, USA
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    J.D./4115

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    Here's a link to a wealth of information on composting:

    http://www.uvm.edu/mastergardener/ma...ster/links.htm

    I think you are basically talking about "Hot Composting". Look for various links from that site, or search your own state for websites on composting. There are "Master Gardener" websites via State Extensioni Services (I believe) in most 50 states, and many "Master Composter" courses and links through the Master Gardener sites. I have facilitated a Master Composter course for the last couple of years, here in VT. However, for specifics, follow some of the links as I am not an expert.

    There are all kinds of things, both good and bad for your soil, that can happen in your compost. Adding chemicals can hasten the decomposition but, there are lots of ingredients in most chemical mixes that are not necessarily great for your soil.

    Also, remember that the decomposed leaf material is mostly carbon. It does need to be mixed with sources of nitrogen (as mentioned). Some calcium (washed egg shells, washed shrimp shells,....) help balance the soil, too.

    Tom

  8. #8
    Super Member
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    Oct 2003
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    Northeast, Ohio
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    TC-40D SS New Holland

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    <font color="blue"> (ammonium Nitrate) fertilizer </font>

    Say isn't that the stuff that goes boom when you mix it with diesel? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Super Member JerryG's Avatar
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    Northwest Arkansas
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    MF 1440-4 PowerShuttle

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    Mix in already composted material. Have a container that will hold the material where it will be about 5' deep. Don't go any deeper than 5 feet or it can generate enough heat to ignite. It needs to be damp, but not wet.

  10. #10
    Gold Member HarleyScooter's Avatar
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    Canton, Ohio
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    Kubota/ BX2230

    Default Re: What do you use to make leaves decompose quickly

    Thanks for the reply's, I think I have a good idea of what to do now. A match never thought of that? I started looking on e-bay for a chipper/shreader small peices sound good, I will also get some nitrogen, is 46-0-0 still avaliable? Working it into the ground sounds like a plan. The link to Vermont is also very informative. I do not have any containers but I will mix the top layers with what has been decomposing for a while. Mike do you think they will sell ammonium nitrate to ME if I go in person or should I send a more normal person LOL [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] thanks for all the help.
    Scott

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