I heat my house with wood that I cut myself so I'm left with copious amounts of sawdust. Unfortunately, since I use a chainsaw, the sawdust contains some chain oil (an oil, presumably petroleum based, that lubricates the chain while it cuts).
My question is - is this compostable ? Caution warns that the petroleum content could render it unacceptable for composting or even just tilling it into the soil. But, one never knows, eh ?
Has anybody tried this with success (or tragic failure ?).
chainsaw sawdust in the compost ??
wood dust is good for compost....oil in tiny quantities would not be bad for the compost.
petroleum products are consumed through microbial action just like any other organic material.
I would not dump a whole pan of oil in the compost, but a few droppings in some shredded wood chips is going to be negligible.
I cut over 10 cords a year for my fire place. I use all the sawdust in my woodland garden. I use the bark for mulch and even the wood pile collects squirrels. They store their winter cones and leave individual chips for the compost pile. This provides years of soil structure in my clay soil. Use it. We have areas here in the valley that spray hydrocarbons from oil and the bacteria eat it up and the soil is used for grass hay in 3 years.
I HAVE AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF WOOD SAWDUST AND SHAVINGS, I AM AWARE OF THE PITFALLS OF USING WALNUT SHAVINGS, MINE IS MOSTLY RED OAK, ALDER AND PINE, CAN I MULCH WITH THIS STUFF, ON ANY KIND OF PLANT????????
When you don't compost it without a source of nitrogen it sucks nitrogen from the soil, plant or any other source nearby. I haven't had trouble because I always apply manure to my applications. Except in my woodland garden where I dust the entire area with the first snow fall and it starts the decomposition all winter. Then I can have a natural soil that woodland plants love.
This message was edited Jun 3, 2006 7:22 PM
Wood mulch does not "suck" nitrogen from the soil. Wood chips tilled or worked into the soil will consume nitrogen ro decay, but wood mulch placed on top of the soil, as mulch will only consume nitrogen in the very top miniscule layer of the soil that the mulch is in contact.
Yes, you can mulch with wood sawdust and shavings. I haven't myself. I use chipped up wood pallets myself. Not sure if there are any problems with dust blowing or moving around - will it pack together and stay in place once its wetted down?
You might want to try a small test plot with the wood dust and then report back to us. I am sure the shavings would be fine.
THE WOOD DUST TRHAT I HAVE IS ABOUT 1/3 SAW DUST AND 2/3 SHAVINGS FROM A PLANER, FAIRLY LIGHT STUFF BUT I DO KNOW THAT WHEN IT IS WET IT WILL STAY PUT, I AM GOING TO GO AHEAD AND AND USE IT AS MULCH TO KEEP MOISTURE IN THE SOIL AS WE ARE NOT GETTING THE RAIN THAT WE SHOULD, AND I AM ALREADY WATERING EVERY DAY. I AM SORT OF NEW AT THIS FLOWER GARDERING THING, I AM CONCENTRATING ON A SHADED AREA, PART OF IT GETS NO SUN AT ALL, I AM USING HOSTA, AND CALADIUM GROUPINGS, WHAT WOULD MAKE SOME BLOOMING COLOR IN THERE?
Let us know if you get yellowing on the leaves. That is the sign of nitrogen defficiency. Probably you will be OK.
Thanks for your responses. I'll probably just till most of it straight in. I have no problems with nitrogen levels as I apply manure yearly.
Mo - Just a quick note, Red Oak and most Pines tend to be found in sandy, inorganic soils so, like Sofer suggests, keep an eye on your plants.
I would not till it in... the wood chips tilled in will tie up nitrogen in the soil. Even with manure applied annually - the wood chips might really tax that manure amendment...
The only reason I till them in is because we are about 5 to 8% humidity after july 5th and it holds water well and I use lots of composted manure with it. Your right Joepyweed.
cool. thanks guys. To the heap with it, then. Lucky for me, I have no problems with holding moisture (that is, in the soil).
For the record - 10 cords per year !! Holy crow !! I usually burn 3 - 4 in my stove. You must have a warm house !
We have a fire about 6 hours every night from end of September to early May and occasional nights when its cool at each end. The colors and warmth of the fire keep our radiant sub floor heating from needing to go on and we also have a gas central that warms us when we sleep at night. There is no moments in life as cozy as laying on the couch and reading by fire light on a cold montana night.
Yeah. Same here. I know exactly what you mean. Wood heat rocks.....if you can keep yourself awake long enough to get through a chapter.
I just spray a cold water on my face and it gives me another 20minutes of reading. Well if the book is good. But since vet school I have learned to read hours at night. Never in the morning. People who get up early always mess up the world for we night people. I heard a person say "The early bird gets the worm and I think and act from the worms perspective. SLEEP IN"
The early worm gets the bird. I tend to stay up late, like now. But I think it might be better for me if I started getting to bed earlier. "Early to bed, early to rise, ..."
Here's some interesting trivia regarding night/morning people.
Most humans' circadian rhythm is not exactly 24 hours. Most have a rhythm that falls some minutes less or more than 24 hours. This manifests itself in the phenomenon of "night people" (so called "owls") and "morning people" ("starlings").
"Owls" have a circadian rhythm that is slightly greater than 24 hours. In other words, our bodies are constantly trying to wake up later and later. Conversely, we function better at night because we are not ready for sleep until later and later. That's why we (and I include myself here) are able to continue functioning happily at 23:00, 24:00, 1:00 AM etc (unless I sit down by the woodstove, then all bets are off).
"Starlings" are the opposite. They wake up earlier and earlier but cease effective functioning earlier and earlier in the evening.
It's only the daylight and our jobs force us to conform to a standard outside that which our bodies are demanding.
Neat eh ?
Now I have another good reason to hate Sturnus vulgaris; European Starling.
I love the Trivia, Steve 2 in fair Canada. What time is marked on this post?...
I felt the warm nostalgia of a book in winter next to the stove when I read you two's posts...
About three cords/winter here.
MoBlooms: After you turn your caps lock off, plant some Impatiens for the most tried-and true shade blooming-annual.
For the record, I have only seen N deficiency from organic material in soils when:
>I mixed unrotten leaves directly into amture soil. Before they broke down and plants grew, the leaves showed clear N chlorosis.
>Potting mix made mostly of wood compost that was not well enough composted. (Sta-green Brand) don't forget to fertilize if you use it)
>Too much coir (coconut fiber) was used in a seed mix. It was a certain batch of coir, which makes me think that there was a processing technique that made it so Nitrogen-eating. I solved the problem quickly with a shot of Ammonium sulphate. (but had to repeat fertilization)
I would personally mix the sawdust with the manure before adding it (or just topdress) to be safe from every aspect. If nothing else, the soil goes a bit out of balance when it is too busy eating things at a high rate.
Alas, the poor European Starling! Ever hated by nature lovers.
You should use Red paint balls and then you would have Cardinals.
I had a family of starlings build a nest in my mailbox a few years back. As a result, Canada Post refused to deliver the mail.
As much as I dislike starlings, I couldn't bring myself to trash the nest so I went without mail for a month. Can't say that I missed it.
The upside - I haven't had any permanent starlings in my direct area for a few years. Yay !
I realize this is an old thread, but I put together a post (https://fireandsaw.com/uses-for-sawdust/) on how I use sawdust around our home and garden.
Most of it is just dumped as a weed suppressor in the neglected areas of the garden, but I use a little bit here and there in the veggie garden and compost.