maple seeds in compost

hepatica_z7May 16, 2013

I think I have a good source of browns and probably P and K (not so sure about that) in the buckets of silver maple seeds we've been sweeping up. They are making a nice hot pile when moistened and layered with grass clippings. It would seem that seed material is extra rich in minerals?

I just thought I'd post it now, when the "helicopters" are in full swing in Z 7, and moving north steadily. We have swept them off the street, sidewalks, and raked some from the grass. Even if some of them germinate after the compost goes on the garden, it couldn't be more than what is already happening from the neighboring silver maple.

I'll be curious to hear the experts weigh in on this. I'm more casual and of the "put everything in the compost" type.

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Given that those seeds are packed with nutrients, everything the seedling will need once it germinates and starts to grow, I would think of them more as a "green" and not a "brown".

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 6:24AM
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TXEB(9a)

Agree with kimm -- C:N ratio of the total "maple copter" is about 9:1, so a green.

Here is a link that might be useful: Analysis and Composition of Silver Maple Seed

This post was edited by TXEB on Fri, May 17, 13 at 11:38

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:50AM
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ericwi

I would definitely compost maple seeds, and have done so in the past.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:47AM
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hepatica_z7

I was thinking that seed should be high in N. Well, meanwhile, the compost is going gangbusters and is not smelly and manure-like as it gets with too much grass clipping greens. Maybe the wings give some brown.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:23AM
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TXEB(9a)

It's all in the C:N ratio.

Wings (perciarp) are brown, ~39% C, 1.3% N, C:N ~ 30. The seed is ~4.4% N (from 27.5% protein content) and ~ 29% C; C:N ~7. The seed represents ~70% of the "copters" weight, the wings only ~ 30%, so the seed wins.

Just realized I had an error in what I said previously - the C:N ratio for the total "copter" is more like 9:1 (corrected).

This post was edited by TXEB on Fri, May 17, 13 at 12:09

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 11:54AM
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TXEB(9a)

It dawned on me that until the seed coat is broken, a maple seed will probably behave as a brown material in composting. I believe most of the protein (and N) is inside. So unless the seed opens or the coat is decomposed, then it's a brown. If/when the seed interior is exposed, then it's a green.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 12:58PM
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hepatica_z7

Thank you so much TXEB. That was very precise info. Where do you get it?

The pile is still hot and not slimy. I'm pleased.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:18PM
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TXEB(9a)

I calculated the %C and %N for each of the two phases using the analytical data from the paper I referenced above, and then weight average for the total using the 70:30 ratio from the papers analysis of the composite seed. Sugars are ~40% carbon, crude fiber (lignin) and crude fat are both ~ 62% carbon, and the nitrogen is given.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 5:55AM
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hepatica_z7

Sorry, didn't see the reference in your first post.

That article is a fascinating piece of history, besides the still-valid science, I assume. Did you see the date on it?!

Thanks for contributing your expertise and calculations. There are such amazing people on these forums.

The compost is still steaming along.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:16PM
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TXEB(9a)

It was a very interesting motivation to do the analysis. In my experience the old analytical work (pre-instrumental days) was some of the nest.

I'm curious, have any of the seeds broken open?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 2:52AM
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hepatica_z7

I'll check. Those that I swept up from the street had many open seeds already (from foot and car traffic), though, so it may not be so simple to know what's happening.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:31PM
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hepatica_z7

Here's what I found. The seed coating seems to be decomposing rapidly. The inner seed that had been fat and bright green is now flat and black-ish green. Progress, I would say!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:01PM
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