How to make compost with pruning waste

how to make compost with pruning scraps at home

Compost or mulch is the result of the aerobic fermentation of a mixture of organic materials under specific conditions of humidity, aeration, temperature and nutrients. There are many people who want to learn how to make compost with pruning waste to naturally create this type of fertilizer.

For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to explaining to you how to make compost with pruning remains, what aspects you must take into account and what is its function.


How to make compost with pruning waste

household compost

Haug describes a more comprehensive definition as “organic matter that has been stabilized in a humus-like product in the soil, free from foreign pathogens and weed seeds, does not attract insects and can be handledstored, transported, bagged and beneficial for soil and plant growth.

With this technique, we take advantage of all the organic waste from the farm itself. Factors to consider are:

  • Balance the mixture of materials to obtain a carbon/nitrogen ratio between 25-35 until a value between 15-10 is obtained at the end of the process.
  • Particle size suitable for composting (2 to 5 mm in diameter).
  • Starting product at neutral pH, corrected if necessary.
  • The mass ratio of raw materials (sugar, protein, cellulose and lignin) is good.
  • Oxygen is essential for microbial growth (40-60% aeration).
  • Humidity is critical for the course of the whole process (40-60%).
  • Temperature is the parameter that best indicates the development of the process.. The maximum temperature should not exceed 70 ºC (suitable between 55 and 65 ºC). At these temperatures, the loss of organic matter is avoided and the destruction of pathogenic bacteria and weed seeds is guaranteed.
  • The appropriate size of the pile is one and a half meters high, trapezoidal in section, one and a half meters wide at the bottom, and there is no limit to its length.
  • It is important to understand the climatic conditions where the battery is installed to protect it from sun, rain, wind and cold.
  • At the end of the process, we must obtain a ripe product with a pleasant smell reminiscent of the forest floor, a dark color typical of organic matter and a stable temperature.

Preparing the compost heap

waist rest for compost

Fall and winter are the times of the year when the heaviest pruning work is done for fruit trees. These are very important operations to keep our trees and shrubs healthy and productive, but they generate a lot of debris such as leaves and branches that can take up a lot of volume and are sometimes difficult to manage.

After pruning is complete, a tree’s plant remains can be managed in a number of ways. One of the most common methods is cut and store larger logs for use as firewood for fireplaces and barbecues, and using firewood to keep us warm in winter or to organize outdoor meals in spring and summer. It is not advisable to pile them up, neither from an aesthetic, environmental or phytosanitary point of view.

Steps to learn how to compost with pruning scraps

Here we give you the main steps to learn how to make compost with pruning scraps:

1) The first thing to do is to reduce the size of the branches, preferably shredded wood. Through this process, the size of the waste can be reduced and its decomposition into organic matter promoted, and if we make it easier for them, the microbes (fungi and bacteria) responsible for helping with this task will work faster for them. In addition, by chipping the wood into pieces that are neither too large nor too small, drying of the material can be achieved without overdrying. To accomplish this task, we recommend that you use a garden chipper, because cutting all the branches with scissors can be a very difficult task and not worth it.

2)Secondly, you have to take into account the type of waste that decompose, like green waste cut in spring or summer, they have a high moisture content, provide plenty of nitrogen and are highly biodegradable. Although this material has a high carbon content, its carbon to nitrogen ratio is generally low because it tends to be high in nitrogen.

However, brown or hard residues from dry lignified wood tend to have low moisture content, low nitrogen content and high carbon to nitrogen ratio. Why is this important? Because to make a good compost, the initial C/N ratio should be around 25%, since microbes use 25 parts of carbon per part of nitrogen in the decomposition process. If the percentage is above 40%, the biological activity will decrease, and if it is below 40%, composting will occur so quickly that nitrogen will be lost as ammonia.

3) Once we have treated the material, composting is divided into two stages: in the first stage, the micro-organisms they are the most active because they contain a large amount of biodegradable matter available and mineralized. From there, in the second stage, the maturation or stabilization of the compost takes place, in which the microorganisms reduce their activity by having less biodegradable matter, at which time the polymerization and condensation of the residue occurs.

4) The process, which seems complex, does not depend directly on us, since the microbes will work, but we should consider monitoring the conditions under which this occurs so that the decomposition does not fail and the process is efficient.

Humidity and temperature are essential in this process, and to keep them in place, it is advisable to use a composter, allowing the microbes to keep the remains dry and airy while they do their work.

The ideal is to maintain the humidity at 50%, but not to wet the residue too much, to prevent water from displacing oxygen into the pores of the formed material. The easiest way to do this is to water the scrap heap thoroughly every two to three weeks without creating puddles. So that the compost formed does not clump together, the aeration must be controlled and the pile of remains must be turned over every two months so that there is enough oxygen.

Spread throughout the decaying material, prevents bad odors and facilitates compost disinfection as it helps eliminate pathogens while accelerating the decomposition process, making it more exothermic. Our advice is to aerate it every two months by turning the contents of the composter using a pitchfork or an aerator.

This process allows us to make efficient use of plant material, recycle seemingly useless products and obtain compost rich in organic matter and humus, the ideal natural fertilizer to improve the nutrients of cultivation soils.

Hopefully with this information you can learn more about how to compost with pruning scraps.

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