December 7, 2012 @ 5:36 AM

As an Arbor Care Service and a Tree Removal Service, we feel it is our priviledge to address Leaf Litter:

Turning tree trash into compost, or for use as mulch,
is a service for your trees & shrubs.

And, you can do it yourself in four easy steps.

Here in Southeast Texas, the annual task of putting up Christmas lights is accompanied by the task of raking the yard. Winter comes late and leaves early in these parts, and while raking leaves is an early November chore in most of the USA, it is delayed until Christmas around here.

As an arbor tree service and tree removal service in The Woodlands area of Texas, most of our deciduous trees are oak trees, and they can make for great compost. The trick with oak leaves, however, is that they take a long time to turn from leaf into compost, and so it is good knowledge to learn how to speed up that process. Here we offer you a simple procedure to use to quickly turn oak leaf litter into beautiful, rich compost in four easy steps:

1) Oak leaves ought to be cut up before putting them in the compost pile. This helps the natural microbial break-down process move immensely faster. Oak leaves are rather resistant to break down if left whole.  If you can, run over your leaf litter with a bagged mower, that is the quick and easy way to pick up the leaves and cut them up all at the same time. It saves you from having to rake, and your grass will be cut as well.

2) Make sure you have equal amounts of “green” composting material in your pile to “brown.” If you collected and cut up your leaf litter the lawn mower way, chances are that you have in your lawnmower bag the perfect ready-made mix.

3) Add a couple of shovels of native soil. This will introduce a great party of microbes into the compost heap.

4) Cover the heap with burlap or something similar. The idea is to “let it breathe” while also keeping the moisture in.

Congratulations, you have just made a “hot pile” of compost. Now just lightly monitor it for temperature, and turn it every seven days or so. Within five days the core temperature of the pile might reach around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. That is good – it means those little microbes are getting busy! After about one month of this, it ought to be a nice, rich, dark compost. It will be ready for use by spring!

If you are not interest in hot composting, be aware that oak leaf litter can be directly used as mulch. With our experience as a mulching service , we can attest to the fact that even though still leafy, leaf litter makes a nice thermal mulch blanket on the roots of the trees in your landscape. It further encourages soil aeration by worms, and eventually it will break down from a mulch state to a soil state.

So don’t be shy about welcoming winter’s composting and mulching opportunities, and we wish you a happy New Year of great gardening!