Downed trees and sunflower seed hulls for compost?

roses4krisFebruary 13, 2008

We'll be having some uprooted trees removed soon and I wonder if I can have them shredded/chipped to use for mulch or to put in the compost bins. There are several trees so there'll be quite a bit of material available.

Also, I get lots of sunflower seed hulls on my deck below our birdfeeder. Should I compost them?

Many thanks to all for sharing your expertise.

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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Wood chips take quite a while to compost, and they require some nitrogen to do it. If you try to plant in the combination before the wood chips are fully broken down, the plants aren't likely to do well, as the wood chips tie up the nitrogen that the plants need.

What I usually do is use wood chips as mulch under trees or perennial ornamentals. The only place where the chips will be drawing nitrogen from the soil is at the surface of the soil where they meet, as long as you don't mix the chips into the soil. If you think that there could be a problem, get a bag of alfalfa meal (feed store is cheapest) and scatter some of it on the surface of the soil, then lay down your chips. I would put them down rather thickly, at least 4", which should discourage weeds from growing (lack of sunlight).

There's nothing wrong with putting your sunflower seeds in the compost bin. Virtually anything that grew in the soil can be used as compost.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 2:56PM
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I agree with Sue on the use of mulch and sunflower hulls. Sunflower hulls are very refractory and will take some time to decompose so use them thoughout the compost pile as a bulking agent.

But is there a better use for the wood? Depending on the wood there may be wood workers or wood turners who might put the wood to better use. I think that turning trees into wood chips is the last resort when all other possible uses have failed.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 3:22PM
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There was a discussion about sunflower seeds on this forum a little while ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunflower Seed Discussion

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 7:23PM
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I'd make chips from the small branches, for sure, but the larger parts of the trees aren't worth that much effort for mulch. (And, as cowgirl2 mentioned, these can be much more valuable for other things!) Try advertising it as firewood if nothing else (I hunt for that on, especially if it's hardwood.

Sounds like you've got some work ahead of you! Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 4:59PM
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