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Uodate from the garden

Answers to some questions

Hi all! I have received several personal emails and comments to my post about burning in my yard and gardens and I want to clear some things up. First of all we live on 4 1/2 acres and not quite 1 acre is cleared for a yard and house with many various trees in the yard. The other 3 1/2 acres are ALL trees, hickory, dogwood, sassafras and mostly oak with others I have yet to learn what they are .

Please note that oak leaves are the WORST leaf to compost due to the acid in the leaf. (every wonder why grass is so hard to grow under oaks?  Same thing with pine and fir tree needles) When you add oak leaves to your soil and till it in or allow it to sit on top, you are doing more harm than good because it will use all the natural nitrogen from the soil to decompose the leaves thus leaving either your compost pile you are working so hard to create, or your garden soil without nitrogen.(same thing with fresh saw dust) Gardeners may want to consider oak leaves for an extra special compost pile. Oak leaves are one of the slowest leaves to break down because of their acidic properties and high tannin levels. Eventually these leaves will decompose and produce an excellent acidic soil amendment. It just takes considerably longer. Keeping them separate will speed up the composting process for the rest of the leaves and will allow the oak leaf compost to be used on rhododendrons or other plants that prefer an acidic soil. Pine needles can be combined with the oak leaves for this purpose.

By burning my leaves and branches on the ground I am adding much needed potash back to the soil and it will start to actually produce grasses etc, such is mother natures way.  I appreciate all the concern for my burning and composting, but I neither have the time nor the resources to do so with 3 1/2 acres of trees/land. I just cant see myself raking and hauling that many leaves and branches, but I do appreicate all the concern. What concerns me are the amount of bugs living in our woods in the leaves, and my poor dogs and ticks and chiggers and by burning I am helping to eliminate some of that stress for my animals and our family.

You see I am in the county and not within city limits. As with all states the laws and requirements are different between the two. We have agricultural burning going on all the time unless there is a burn ban in force. I have been doing ag burning for over 25 years.I always section off my areas and place a minimum of 3 ft sections called fire breaks between them.I have my shovel, bucket, waterhose and when I it feel necessary, a burlap sack.

Now, about the burning in our area: here are some blurbs from the local newspaper: Please remember that a normal pickup holds ONE cubic yard of debris or 2 cubic yards of composted materials.

Beginning next week,(Feb 2007) huge trucks with giant steel grappling claws will roam Springfield and Greene County streets, snatching up mountains of ice storm debris in what likely will be a two-month cleanup. "Getting rid of all this debris will be good for our psychological well-being," said Greene County Associate Commissioner Roseann Bentley. The estimated 2 million cubic yards of broken trees and branches will be burned at two sites, one in Rogersville and the other north of Springfield picture 2 million pickup loads of branches)I know it is nearly the end of April and the clean up of branches is so massive it's still not done and the burning continues today,

I was just by the roadside pile going to and from the compost plant at the sewage treatment plant at Springfield.

Feb 13th article: Steady rain brought ice storm debris removal to a halt Monday, and additional rain or snow today may do the same, city and county officials said. With one week's worth of debris hauling completed, DRC Emergency Services crews have collected 308,640 cubic yards of downed trees and limbs from Springfield-- about 18 percent of the city's estimated ice storm debris.

In GreeneCounty, DRC crews have hauled away 86,841 cubic yards. and a March 9th Residents still grappling with the mess from January's ice storm face a March 28 deadline to move their piles of debris to the curbside for free pick up. By the end of next week, residents -- about 64,000 households --should receive a postcard in the mail reminding them about the final round of collection. Crews are expected to keep working after March 28 to pick up piles set out by the deadline.

So, you see, this is a county wide issue, and with all my trees, I have lots of limbs down as well as leaves and loading them in my pickup to haul 1or 2 cu yard at a time to the site is not cost effective with the price of diesel when I can pile and burn at home.  Feel free to continue to email me your thoughts and concerns, I love your responses! thanks for stopping in.

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