Composting ceder

mgb_garden2(5)November 10, 2010

Our property has about five acres of ceder and broad leaf trees mixed and this past winter, we had a lot of tree damage from heavier than normal snowfall. Our broadleaf trees did okey, but our ceders were not not so lucky. I am removing the fallen and damaged ceders, using the logs and larger branches for garden beds and posts, but I have lots of greens and small braches that I am shredding. My question is-"Can I put this shredded ceder in my compost bins,( I have several in different stages) or should I use it for mulch around the yard?

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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Can I put this shredded ceder in my compost bins,( I have several in different stages) or should I use it for mulch around the yard?...

You can do either, but personally, I would use for mulch first, then if you absolutely need it for additions to your compost, go for the compost. When I get opportunities and materials like that, I mulch first letting nature break it down in place which saves the work of bringing a load back later to mulch with the composted material.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 7:26AM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

If by cedar you mean Eastern Red (Juniper) or Eastern White (Arborvitae), I've composted and mulched with both.

tj

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 5:24PM
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unasmith

I too have composted a lot of both Cedrus and Juniperus. It takes a while. I like to start by making a loose brush pile and waiting for it to get bone dry. Then I trample the pile to break it into smaller pieces. This works even better if the weather is below freezing. When the brush pile is well broken and I have some green yardwaste too, I make a compost pile.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 1:16AM
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goren

Keep wood OUT of any composting pile. Wood breaks down slowly....and some hardwoods take forever to break down.
Such breakdown of wood robs the pile of much needed nitrogen which is used for breakdown of other material.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Western Red Cedar is noted to be pretty resistant to rotting while most others are not. If what you have is Eastern White Cedar there is very little rot resistance in that wood so it could be composted.
However, the best use of shredded wood is as a mulch.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 7:37AM
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Lloyd

Many larger compost operators use wood chips/shavings in processing materials during composting. It does more than just provide carbon. Aeration, porosity, odour control just to name a few. It is often screened out and reused in new piles.

Wood chips/shavings work well as mulch but if used in an area subjected to idiots flicking their cigarette butts, keep in mind the potential for fire.

So the answer to your question is "both".

Lloyd

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 7:55AM
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mgb_garden2(5)

Thanks for all the tips! If I would have done my homework I would have not looked like such a novice. I am composting about 10% of the evergreen chips in with the garden waste and lots of leaves.Hope to manage the acidity that way. The rest I am using for mulch around. I never thought five acres would be so much mulch to deal with.
As for the smokers and their butts--no smoking at my house!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 8:28AM
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