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Thread: Sawdust

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jack dempsey View Post
    I was hoping to get some creative ideas. I do not want to waste space in the landfill, but I am little reluctant to use around plants etc. Although, probably over 95 % is just sawdust from softwoods and hardwoods I occasionally cut plywood and was concerned about the glues and chemicals that are contained in the products. Thanks, Jack
    The main problem with using sawdust around plants is that it will pull the nitrogen out of the soil, which is bad for the plants. The critters that break down the sawdust take the nitrogen for themselves to do it, reducing what is available to the plants.

    If you dump a 55 gallon drum of sawdust in the woods, you'll be surprised how long it takes for it to compost. I've got some that have been there for years. I've heard stories of sawdust piles in northern MN left over from logging being around for decades. Granted that was white and red pine, which are relatively rot resistant, but you get the general idea.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Andrew View Post
    At the local livestock sale barn, they have a sign in the yard office that says sawdust, 35$ per bag. So guess there is some value in the stuff.
    Livestock use requires great care. Some species of wood are dangerous for certain animals. For example, black walnut shavings and horses is a big NO-NO. Most equine operations that use shavings get pine shavings from commercial sources.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post
    The main problem with using sawdust around plants is that it will pull the nitrogen out of the soil, which is bad for the plants. The critters that break down the sawdust take the nitrogen for themselves to do it, reducing what is available to the plants.

    If you dump a 55 gallon drum of sawdust in the woods, you'll be surprised how long it takes for it to compost. I've got some that have been there for years. I've heard stories of sawdust piles in northern MN left over from logging being around for decades. Granted that was white and red pine, which are relatively rot resistant, but you get the general idea.
    Mix a bit of high nitrogen fertilizer with the sawdust before you try to compost it or use it as mulch.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #19
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    Its not a regular continuous use, but I use sawdust (in lieu of kitty litter) to solidify paint in cans that I want to get rid of. Also in cleaning up oil and other non-water liquid spills. Sometimes in muddy patches in the yard to reduce the dog tracking mud into the house.

  5. #20
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    I live in suburbia. We get three trash barrels, blue...recycle, black...garbage and trash, and green for lawn clippings and trimmings. After years of trying to give away sawdust, I called the trash company that handles our city.

    They said it is ok to just put it the green barrel with the lawn and tree clippings.
    Rick Potter

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  6. #21
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    Straight to the dump,usually ends up in the burn pit.

  7. #22
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    My bags often have some stuff from treated wood or plastic that makes the sawdust unacceptable for animal bedding. Those go to the landfill. A kid down the street works on cars and takes a bag from time to time.

    if you heat with a pellet stove, you can buy or make a pellet mill.

  8. #23
    It's my understanding sawdust leaches nitrogen out of the soil. How much of it can a person put around plants anyway. If you had chips you could give it away to pet stores for hamsters. People also use chips in horse stalls but the dust from a table saw you might as well put in the trash.

  9. #24
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    In the trash bin, as recycling is a joke around here (seen the garbage guys dump it in the regular truck way too many times). The mulch with high nitrogen fertilizer sounds interesting. I may give that a try.
    If you drive at the speed of light, do your headlights work? - Steven Wright

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  10. #25
    I put mine in 30 gallon bags and take it to a farmer I know. He pours it into low spots he wants to fill (outside his planted fields). He said he throws some rocks or broken concrete on top to weight it down.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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  11. #26
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    So, doesn't regular mulch (cypress, cedar, hardwood, etc.) cause the same nitrogen depletion? Trees and shrubs seem to deal with that. You could just mix in some regular fertilizer to add nitrogen and speed up decomposition, I would think.

    I've also used sawdust on sidewalks for snow and ice melt. Not that effective but helps with traction.

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    So, doesn't regular mulch (cypress, cedar, hardwood, etc.) cause the same nitrogen depletion?
    Yes it does, but presumably more slowly (you don't _want_ it to rot.) The benefits from reduced water evaporation from the soil far outweigh the nitrogen depletion (plus you're already adding fertilizer to the planting, usually.)

    My sawdust goes into the trash, where it is welcome to soak up all the nitrogen it wants.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    So, doesn't regular mulch (cypress, cedar, hardwood, etc.) cause the same nitrogen depletion? .
    The difference is that most mulch is already composted to some extent. Compositing it reduces the nitrogen issue. I don't use it, however...I switched to 3/8" red stone as I got tired of paying for mulch over and over and over and over and over...the stone doesn't rot, allows precipitation to move through to the soil, is easy to weed and turns to a nice brown in the sun. For what it costs for two seasons of organic mulch, the stone is a one time cost.
    --

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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post
    I live in suburbia. We get three trash barrels, blue...recycle, black...garbage and trash, and green for lawn clippings and trimmings. After years of trying to give away sawdust, I called the trash company that handles our city.

    They said it is ok to just put it the green barrel with the lawn and tree clippings.
    My trash hauler told me to only put it in the garbage container -- not recycle or compost. Last year, a new company got the contract, and they told me to put it in the recycle container.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The difference is that most mulch is already composted to some extent. Compositing it reduces the nitrogen issue. I don't use it, however...I switched to 3/8" red stone as I got tired of paying for mulch over and over and over and over and over...the stone doesn't rot, allows precipitation to move through to the soil, is easy to weed and turns to a nice brown in the sun. For what it costs for two seasons of organic mulch, the stone is a one time cost.
    Wood is wood. The mulch is made by putting the chipper on "coarse". I've never heard of anybody "pre-composting" mulch.

    Stone is a good idea, IMO better than ground up tires, when it comes around to working it into your soil. :^)

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