Ask the Gardener: Advice on bulbs, fertilizer, and composting, Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. The short answer is that, yes, oak leaves are acidic. Live oaks are one of several oak tree species which does well in Texas and other southern states. Two great options are mulching and composting. A general rule of thumb is not to add more than 10 percent of pine needles to your compost pile. Ever since traders introduced an Asian fungus that wiped out billions of American chestnuts a century ago, the noble oaks have filled in as a foundation of the forest food chain. , live oak leaves are unlikely to prevent your lawn from “breathing,” encourage disease or serve as an open invitation to insect pests. A compost pile requires the proper carbon and nitrogen ratio for quickest composting. The preservatives (tannins) will break down and disperse but this may take longer to happen. Compost made from leaves, or leaf mold, is prized as a mulch or soil amendment for its excellent water retention and nutrient-rich makeup. They deserve our care and patience. Most of them come down to using the leaves instead of having them hauled away. Whether you use pine needles in compost or as a mulch around your plants, they provide essential nutrients and improve the soils ability to hold moisture. deep.Cover this layer with about two inches of soil and water the pile. Some leaves compost more effectively than others. In fact, there is not only a better solution, but several options. Full size fall leaves, as used as the main carbon material, make it hard to achive. Leaves and other plant waste are the perfect food for composting worms. And, because of the tannic acid in oak leaves, their compost tends to nicely neutralize Florida's often alkaline soil. Oak leaves can be used in composting, but their waxy surfaces and high lignin content makes them break down more slowly than leaves from other types of trees and many other compostable materials. Oak leaves are slow to decompose, but does that mean you should ban them from compost piles and mulch? So, avoid using any thick or leathery leaves in your compost, including holly, magnolia, oak, birch, and beech. ... Bad Leaves - those higher in lignin and lower in nitrogen and calcium - includes beech, birch, hornbeam, oak, and sweet chestnut. Please advise if this is correct. When it comes to recharging and building soil naturally, compost is king. Tired of using (and paying for) fertilizers? But if you have the space and time, then leaves can be a great way to make extra compost for your garden. You often read that you shouldn’t put oak (Quercus spp.) Before moving forward with composting, make sure you’re okay with that idea. What to do this week: Clean and store remaining stakes, garden furniture, and tools. Once you know how to compost pine needles, you dont have to worry about any adverse effects. And as anyone with live oak trees knows, the leaves are pretty tough, unlike other, more brittle leaves belonging to other tree species. ) There are many good reasons to compost oak leaves, just like any other organic matter, whether you’re concerned about the environment, your landscape, or your wallet. Finish planting hardy bulbs, as they cannot be stored over the winter. Continue to spray your compost pile lightly with water as well. Ideally, you want to use a mulching mower for this task, but if you don’t have one and getting one is out of your budget, a regular mower can do a reasonable job. Q. I have an issue with the Oct. 28 column on composting leaves (“Ask the Gardener: Advice on bulbs, fertilizer, and composting’’). Unlike some other types of leaves, live oak leaves are unlikely to prevent your lawn from “breathing,” encourage disease or serve as an open invitation to insect pests. If you keep chickens, you can let them forage organically, which will produce better quality eggs — and better feces. All leaves can be composted. Oak leaves, the bane of my existence, take years to break down and are very acidic. So, avoid using any thick or leathery leaves in your compost, including holly, magnolia, oak, birch, and beech. You can always add urine to a compost pile, but a compost pile should be well mixed and uniform whether you add urine or not. Plain leaves will be broken down by fungi in a cold composting process which can take up to two years depending on the type of leaves. Leaf mold is something perfect btw. share. Burning leaves contributes to our poor air quality and also … Consider using chopped oak leaves as a mulch instead of adding to your compost bin. Once you start mixing in your leaves make sure you start slowly and continue to stir the pile. Unfortunately, you can’t just skip over the actual. In … Dried leaves are one source of carbon. I once ground up some and put them in the shrubbery. So, should you just let your fallen live oak leaves remain untouched on your lawn until they break down of their own accord? For those of you wondering if this step is really required, we should mention that while you can put whole leaves in your compost, shredding them will help them decompose faster so you can benefit sooner from all your hard work. Even if you think they are a pain, lots of oaks means lots of birds. However nearly everyone runs into a problem when trying to compost leaves. Be sure to make the pile high because … oak tree species which does well in Texas. The pulverized leaves can be composted or spread directly around trees and shrubs as nutritious mulch without worrying about weed seeds or smothering lawns. Some oaks shed their leaves later than other trees, so rake the others up early and keep those in a separate pile if you want them to compost faster. While oaks give us wonderful shade from the intense sun, they do give us lots of other things during the year: leaves. Adding compost to your soil will encourage it to produce micro-organisms that not only enrich soil that’s already doing fine, but also help poor soil to regenerate. 1. Composting is a bit more complicated, but may be worth it, due to the added benefits. You knew this was coming, right? I am 80, and don’t have decades to wait. Leaves that have relatively little calcium (and other healthy minerals) can take as long as 2 years to break down, making them poor candidates for a compost pile. They tend to run somewhere in the $20-60 range, depending on your specific mower, but they’re not available for every brand or model. Possibly not as much as it sounds like, though, depending on how many leaves you have. At that point, it is finally ready to use as compost. Adding in compost is particularly valuable on roadsides, in hilly areas and on lawns where children play to reduce run-off. Why go to all the trouble? When it comes to recharging and building soil naturally, compost is king. way to mulch live oak leaves is to do so with a mower. This may seem obvious, but composting means having a compost pile. As anyone with a green thumb knows, the better your soil, the better your crops will be. The trade-off here is that if you choose to add kitchen waste to the compost, it will mean walking that much further to empty your kitchen container—but trust us, it’s worth it. Compost can seem so daunting. If you have lots of oaks, you probably should lime your lawn each fall. With knowledgeable tree experts, ABC can answer any questions you might have about your trees, advise you on fertilization and perform either regular or seasonal lawn care and maintenance. A nice middle ground may be to see if you can purchase a mulching blade for your current mower. First, oak leaves are very slow to decompose. https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/tips-for-composting-leaves Composting accelerates and controls the natural decay process to convert yard waste such as leaves into an organic soil conditioner. So, I think, what is behind this idea is not urine- not urine but general problem about fall leaves. Most of them come down to using the leaves instead of having them hauled away. You often read that you shouldn’t put oak (Quercus spp.) Composting can reduce your waste by up to 50 percent. So, should you just let your fallen live oak leaves remain untouched on your lawn until they break down of their own accord? Plain leaves will be broken down by fungi in a cold composting process which can take up to two years depending on the type of leaves. Yard to clear them away, though, let us explain a bit further mulching part mulching! 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