Trees through a wood chipper

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Trees through a wood chipper
Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 8:24 pm
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Up here in the Northwest - dry and hot - the key to using the chips seems to be to use very high ratios of hot green materials or be prepared for long long composting times.

We have ongoing chip composting experiments here. We have had them out for 3 years in different conditions and found that they do make good cover for "Hot" composting but very poor for cold.
They do cover odors well with thin layers but the layers are hard to spread thin like sawdust.
Soft woods like Cottonwood and Willow are better than Pine, Pine is better than Fir etc due to the softer wood and high leaf and green bark content of the piles. The worst yet is Red Fir chips.
Also you may not want to use the composted material for your garden as the Fir retains sharp little hairlike slivers even after the chip itself is no longer intact.

After 3 years our cold [natural] chip piles contain mostly chips with very very little breakdown and almost all the breakdown happening in the surface layer where contact with active soil feeds on it.

In contrast our humanure/sawdust pile is less than 6 months old and is breaking down very well. Our humanure/goat/greengrass/hay pile is now over 5 years old and the humanure "holes" are clearly the most composted where the hay / green / humanure were mixed 4 to 1 to 1.

This year we are whizzing on stumps and chip piles to see if that helps but it looks like chips are best used in hot humid places with lots of water and green materials .... BIG piles either way.

Author: TCLynx
Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 7:02 pm
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I would guess the chipped stuff would be great mulch. Most of the posts I've seen don't really recomend chips as cover material as it probably doesn't cover odor very well but I suspect it could be composted if you wanted to work hard enough at it.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Admin)
Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 7:22 pm
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When I chipped trees that I cleared on my property, the pile of wood chips shot up to 120 degrees F in a day or two. However, I don't know how well they would work as a cover material. I'm experimenting with planer shavings right now and not having success yet.

Joe

Author: Scott
Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 9:23 am
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Hi Joe, we are clearing about a hundred trees right now off the property. We are sending all the stuff 3" and smaller (all the tree tops) through a 6" wood chipper. It is like mulch type material, a combination of leaves and the wood (aspen, oak, not sure what other types). There are huge piles of it. Would this work as a cover material? Or should we save it for mulching the future garden, fruit trees? Thanks, Scott

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