Return to the Soil Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
maple seeds in compost

Posted by hepatica_z7 (My Page) on
Thu, May 16, 13 at 23:46

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.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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".


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Fri, May 17, 13 at 10:47

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


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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.


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Fri, May 17, 13 at 11:54

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


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Fri, May 17, 13 at 12:58

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.


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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.


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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.


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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.


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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?


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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.


 o
RE: maple seeds in compost

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!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Soil Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here