Yard Waste: Do It Right and Make Your Outdoor Space More Beautiful

Knowing what to do with grass clipping, shrub and tree pruning branches, as well as other yard waste materials is a dilemma for most new gardeners. However, these items also contribute to the beauty of your yard. A little thought and planning are all you need to turn these items into valuable compost and fertilizer products that do a much better job than any commercial product you could ever buy.

Why Compost Your Yard Waste?

All yards produce waste. Well, at least they do if you maintain them. Mowing, pruning and routine plant care causes waste, however, throwing it away can clog drains, use up landfill space and create pollutants. The solution is to create a compost area in your yard, which offers more than a few benefits:

* Composting the yard clippings and other materialsallow the soil to gather nutrients better.

* It reduces waste that needs to be hauled off by about 75 percent.

* Compost is useful as a product that enriches soil and as a mulch.

* Compost offers better drainage and aerates soil.

* It allows plants and grass to absorb and hold water longer.

* It makes the soil a better environment for earthworms and other organisms that offerfertilizing value to plants and shrubs.

How To Make Compost

Tried and true gardeners realize that compost can be gold. It is the stuff that grows those beautiful tomatoes, flowers and vegetables; and best of all, making a compost heap is really easy. All you need to do is mix your yard and household organic waste in a pile or place it in a bin, and offer idyllic conditions for decomposition. Bacteria and organisms that naturally grow in the waste and soil help fuel the decay process until you have a rich organic fertilizer or soil enhancer.

To make your compost, alternate different layers of yard waste materials. Make each layer about 8-inch thick. Layering offers a better nitrogen balance for the compost, giving micro organisms the opportunity for growth. Try to keep grass clippings as fine as possible as matting will prevent the water from seeping through the entire compost heap.

Add water to the compost once you have a few layers set. Supplement with more water after combining new layers. If the waste is completely dry, you’ll want to add a commercial nitrogen fertilizer or ahalf-cup of ammonium sulfate to every 5 to 6 layers of material. If you aren’t using the compost on fruits and vegetables, you may also want to add livestock manure occasionally to the compost.

Keep It Clean

Keep all the materials you add to the compost free of herbicides and weed killers. However, you may add waste produced from plants where you have onlyused a small amount of herbicide treatment, providing you allow for full disintegration before you spread the compost material.

Bottom Line

A compost heap can help you make your home environmentally friendlier. It helps keep your yard gorgeous and green. And best of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune on fertilizers and mulch. Just use the compost you create with your own yard waste and kitchen vegetable waste.


Tom Grant is a professional lawn and garden care expert. He enjoys writing in his spare time and imparting his insights on various sites around the web. For lawn care tips visit the www.lawnservice.net website.