Composting plants and rootballs

American Canyon, CA(Zone 9a)


I work at a nursery and I recently decided to start filling a rolling cart with plants that are being tossed out. Most of these will be smaller plants from 6 packs and 4 inch pots. Alot of soil and roots will be in there, more than the actual plants material. Will this eventually break down if I turn it and moisten it once in awhile? I can potentially bring home ALOT of material, like daily. In the fall we will have all the leaves too. I just found a source for organic rabbit manure, would adding this to the pile help it along? I guess I am just worried that all the soil and roots in there will impede the pile from heating up?

Thanks for any advice! We just moved to the home I grew up it, but it is 1/2 acre of pure hard clay. I am going to need LOTS of compost and manure over the years!

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Short answer is "no problemo!" Here's what I do:

I rotate compost locations to save my back, and because I'm lazy. Three years of composting w/o turning will handily decompose any root balls.

If you want hot compost, your odds of success go up the more finely shredded/chopped/ground your raw materials are. Rabbit poo is fantastic for hot composting.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I agree no problem-- want to add that stuff from 6 packs and 4 inch pots will not take all three years to break down;( I don't think PP was trying to imply that, but didn't want you to think you're in for three years of waiting )

If you let those baby rootballs dry out you could crumble them and use right away.

American Canyon, CA(Zone 9a)

Thanks to both of you!

Good idea about chopping up up the stuff, and leaving it to dry out first! I hear you on the back Puddle, mine has been getting worse this past year....

I am so excited! I have one compost bin and I just signed up for a compost class through the city that gets me another bin. Also, someone gave me a stacking worm composter. I am going to get that out soon and get it going. I think the kids would love that!

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

Plantmum6, you'll find a lot of good composting info here:

Just remember that you needn't get all technical & scientific about composting if you don't want to. Everything that was once alive will rot eventually. :)

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Plantmum6 - If it were me, I'd separate the soil from the roots/plants, and throw the latter into the compost. The soil I would set aside and add to the garden next time I had something to plant.

Rabbit manure would be a fantastic addition to a compost pile.

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