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  • 1. Recycle Yard Waste Why Recycle? Yard Waste Define Uses Recycled Mulch Recycled Grass Composting at Home Assembling Pile Materials to Use/Avoid Maintaining Pile Harvesting Pile Earthworm Farming Author: Rebecca McNair Edited by: Allison Steele
  • 2. Why Recycle?
    • Retains the nutrients in your landscape
    • Saves money on fertilizer, mulch and waste disposal
    • Florida law prohibits disposal of yard waste in lined landfills
  • 3. The Legal Definition
    • Yard trash is defined by the 1988 Florida Solid Waste Management Act as “vegetative matter resulting from landscape maintenance and land clearing operations.” It includes…
      • Tree and shrub trimmings
      • Leaves and palm fronds
      • Grass
      • Stumps
  • 4. Florida’s Municipal Waste Stream in 1998 (FDEP Solid Waste Report, 2000) Landfilled 56% Combusted 16% Recycled 28% In 1998, yard waste made up 12% of the municipal waste stream, or 3.5 million tons.
  • 5. Recycling Solutions
    • Overview:
    • Mulching
    • “ Grasscycling”
    • Composting
    • Earthworm farming
  • 6. Recycled Mulch
    • Choose by-product alternatives such as Melaleuca mulch:
      • Harvested from invasive plant stands
      • Reduces destruction of natural wetland areas in Florida
      • Slow decomposition
      • Suppresses weeds
      • Not eaten by termites
  • 7. Yard Waste = Mulch= $
    • Leaves and pine needles can remain under trees for a “self mulching” area
      • Cost of one bag Pine Nuggets = $3.00
      • Reducing garbage, Priceless!
  • 8. Utility Mulch
    • Many municipalities offer free utility mulch
    • A by-product of pruning trees near power lines
    • Be aware of variable quality and consistency
    • You may need to partially compost to kill any weeds, seeds, or insect pests
  • 9. Grasscycling
    • Grass clippings can be left on the lawn
      • Saves money- This is equivalent to about one fertilizer application per year!
      • Saves time
    • Remove only 1/3 of the grass blade
      • Grasscycling does not result in thatch build-up. Thatch is stem and root overgrowth caused by over-fertilization and over-watering .
  • 10. Composting
    • Disposes of food and yard wastes through natural processes
    • Enhances the soil on your property
    • Releases essential elements to plants
  • 11. What is Compost?
    • Rich, black, sweet-smelling, crumbly, soil-like substance comprised of decomposed organic matter
  • 12. Composting at Home
    • Overview:
    • Selecting a Location
    • Choosing a Container
    • Assembling the Pile
    • Maintaining the Pile
    • Harvesting Finished Compost
  • 13.
    • Level ground
    • Well-drained surface
    • Near a source of water
    • At least 2 feet from any structure
    • Close to source of materials
    Selecting A Location
  • 14. Choosing A Container
    • Pile method
    • Bin
  • 15. Pile Method
    • No container is used; organic materials are simply mounded in a pile
    A layer of soil, leaves, or finished compost on top of fresh kitchen wastes will help deter pests.
  • 16. Compost Bins
    • Purchase a compost bin or build your own. Consider:
    • Appearance
    • Size- at least 1 cubic yard
    • Accessibility- to add materials and remove finished compost
    • Ability to mix materials inside
    • Creature access
  • 17. A bin is not necessary, but useful for deterring pests and keeping the pile neat.
  • 18. Compost Happens
    • Microorganisms (microbes) initiate decomposition under favorable environmental conditions. They need:
      • Food
      • Oxygen
      • Moisture
      • Temperature
  • 19. Assembling the Pile
    • For faster decomposition, follow these steps:
      • Put twigs or small branches on the bottom of the pile to allow air to circulate
      • Layer materials, alternating nitrogen and carbon layers
      • End with a carbon layer
      • Add water to moisten, not soak
  • 20. “ Browns”
    • Carbon-rich materials
    • Energy source for microbes
    • Typically low in moisture
    • Degrade slowly
    • Bulky materials help aerate
    • May cause nitrogen deficiencies in plants
      • If insufficient nitrogen is present for microbial breakdown
  • 21. “ Greens”
    • Nitrogen-rich materials
    • Microbes use for protein synthesis and reproduction
    • High moisture content
    • Degrade rapidly
    • Compact easily
    • Can be a source of foul odors
  • 22. Compostable Materials
    • Nitrogen-Rich
    • Grass clippings
    • Manure
    • Vegetable food scraps
    • Coffee grounds
    • Hair
    • Carbon-Rich
    • Straw
    • Shredded branches
    • Uncolored Paper
    • Pine needles
    • Leaves
  • 23. C:N Ratios
    • The carbon to nitrogen ratio determines the decomposition rate of organic materials
      • Grass clippings ~ 20:1
      • Fruit waste ~ 35 :1
      • Leaves ~ 60 :1
      • Straw ~ 100 :1
      • Wood ~ 600 :1
    • 30:1 is ideal, obtained by adding one part browns to one part greens
  • 24. Particle Size
    • Size of particles also affect the rate of decomposition
      • Break twigs and small branches
      • Shred newspaper and palm fronds
      • Grind stumps
      • Coarsely chop larger pieces of vegetable matter
  • 25. Materials to Avoid
    • Do NOT add:
      • Meat or dairy products
      • Oils or mayonnaise
      • Plants recently treated with pesticides
      • Seed-laden weeds
      • Pressure treated wood
    Animal products create odor problems and attract pests.
  • 26. Provide Oxygen
    • Without oxygen (anaerobic conditions), microbes produce foul smelling compounds
      • Alcohols and organic acids that are detrimental to plants
      • Referred to as “sour”
    • Incorporate bulky materials like twigs, pine needles, wood chips and straw to provide air space
    • Turn pile immediately if odor is detected
  • 27. Provide Moisture
    • Microbes need moisture for their bodies
    • Water pile when needed
      • 45% ~ 65% moisture content
      • “ Squeeze test” -Squeeze compost in your hand: moisture should coat your hand, but not drip
    • To lower moisture content:
      • Protect from heavy rains
      • Add dry material and turn pile
  • 28. Temperature
    • The metabolic activity of microbes will raise the temperature of the compost
      • This kills weed seeds and pathogens
      • A critical mass is needed, ideal pile size is 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 3 ft.
    • Microbes can survive a range of temperatures, but an optimal temperature for decomposition is about 125º F
      • Microbial activity starts to decline around 130 º F
  • 29. Maintaining the Pile
    • Turn pile occasionally
      • Breaks up materials
      • Increases rate of decomposition
      • Exposes weed seeds, insect larvae, and pathogens to lethal temperatures in the core of the pile
    • Add “greens” to the center of the pile
    • Pile “browns on top, or layer with fresh “greens” in the center
  • 30. Factors Affecting Decomposition Rates:
      • Presence of microorganisms
      • Oxygen
      • Moisture
      • Temperature
      • Type of materials
      • Particle size
      • Size of the pile
      • Frequency of turning
  • 31. Harvest Compost
    • Collect mature compost when it is dark, soil-like, and earthy smelling
    • Screen compost
    • Remove larger pieces and return those to the compost pile
  • 32. Use Compost
    • Apply to plant beds as a soil amendment
    • Use as mulch
    • Blend with sand, peat, and perlite for a potting media
    Layer 1”-2” of compost underneath decorative mulch to save money and improve soil fertility.
  • 33. Vermiculture - Earthworm Farming
    • Red wigglers, Eisenia foetida and brown-nose worms, Lumbricus rubellas recycle thin layers of food scraps and paper
      • Worms eat decaying food and paper
      • Excrete castings, rich in nutrients
      • Temperatures lower than compost pile
  • 34. Further Reading http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu
    • Fact Sheet AE 23: Construction of Home Compost Units
    • SL 114: Converting Yard Waste into Landscaping Assets
    • Circular 958: Backyard Composting of Yard Waste
    • Circular 455: Earthworm Biology and Production
    • Circular 1053: Culture of Earthworms for Bait or Fish Food
  • 35.
    • The following presentation was made possible through a grant from FL DEP and EPA. Special thanks to the following reviewers for their valued contributions:
      • FL114 ELM Design Team and the FYN Subcommittee
      • Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, UF
      • Agriculture Education and Communication Department
      • Environmental Horticulture Department
      • Entomology and Nematology Department
      • Soil and Water Sciences Department
      • Florida Cooperative Extension Service in: Alachua, Broward, Clay, Hillsborough, Lake, Miami-Dade, Orange, Pinellas, Sarasota, and Volusia Counties
      • Florida Organics Recycling Center for Excellence
      • The Center For Wetlands, UF
      • United States Department of Agriculture
      • FL Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences: Division of Plant Industry
    Thanks for your attention!