Wood Shavings or Sawdust as Propagation Media

yardman45750January 14, 2013

Hi..Currently use Coarse sand 1:1 with milled peat. A woodworker/friend has a large supply of hardwood shavings and coarse sawdust. Can anyone think of why this isn't an adequate alternative to the peat? I've been assured it is not pressure or chemically treated.
Thanks!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Only if it is composted (aged) to the point of turning a very deep brown color. You'd be better off using pure sand.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:21PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i was told.. years ago.. very simply ... that raw wood needs two things to decompose..

water.. and nitrogen ...

and the key is.. it will rob such.. until the wood is decayed ...

and i always presumed that was why it is hard to grow grass over a ground out stump.. if most of the grindings are not removed afterwards ...

i was told this.. when i had tree guys dumping 8 foot piles of wood chips in my yard.. that if i wanted to speed its way to compost.. i should add 49-0-0 on top of the pile.. and water it so it remained damp ... and in doing so.. could take years off the process of making such a large pile ... into usable compost ...

so.. in your media mix.. it will have the potential to 'take' water ... and it will rob nitrogen..

and most importantly.. it will probably interfere with the drainage capabilities of your mix ... until it is in a stable form ...

not to mention all the mushrooms that might pop up in the decay process ...

they call compost BLACK GOLD.. and until it is black.. it is not gold..

the key to fast decomposition is surface area.. and fine grindings are all surface ....if you have the space in the yard.. collect a 5 foot pile.. add some fert.. keep it damp ... and turn it once a month ... and when it is down to one foot or so in fall.. and all black and smells like soil ... you can add it to next winters media ...

and of course.. i would sterilize it before i brought it in the house ....

ken

ps: any lawn fert is also good.. where the first number.. the nitro is higher than the rest ... though not the ones with weed killer in it .. eh?? ... lol ..

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 8:01AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Of my six acres, 5 are native woods. As trees fall or need to be removed, I use most for firewood, all the rest is chipped into a large pile. In about three years, my doing nothing, it will make wonderful composted mulch, which I use for top dressing. Much of it could be used for compost mixed into the soil, but some screening would be required. I have plenty of compost made out of leaves. Al

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:32AM
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yardman45750

Thanks for the comments. Although the wood has been dryed, the resulting shavings or sawdust WOULD absorb water which would negatively affect drainage. Appreciate the advice!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 4:43PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i meant to mention.. it also mats into an impervious mat.. if the use is too heavy.. which is why a pile would need to be turned often..

the micorbes that break it done.. actually connect the whole thing to each other.. words fail me there.. but i hope you get the idea ...

ken

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 5:14PM
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