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clippings pile

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bigdaddyspags, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. bigdaddyspags

    bigdaddyspags LawnSite Member
    Posts: 157

    I use a walker lawn mower, so at several of my properties i have quite a large pile of grass clippings that i've dumped this year. Does anyone know of a way to get the piles to decompose well over the winter, without having to handle the green slop again? Is there a chemical i could toss on them? Is there some other organic material i could add to them to help them break down?
  2. Ax Man

    Ax Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    leaves. One problem that you have is tthe piles are so dense that Oxygen can't get in there to help the decomposition process.
    When blended, the leaves and grass rot down much faster. It may be too late now, but if you do leave leaf piles in the wood line, next season add a pile of grass and stir it up.
    I haul most of mine to a gravel pit and do it with a loader, now I'm considering windrows and a V-plow in a field.
  3. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,981

    Spread them out as much as possible and let em rot more, don't touch them beause they smell bad in the pile. If you have a 5x5' pile of leaves and can spread them out to an area of ex: 20x20 then they will decompose much quicker.
  4. pcnservices

    pcnservices LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 614

    If you can get a load of wood chips from a tree service guy, you can mix that into clippings too.
    Over here the board of public works mix the clippings with wood chips and lay it out in long piles ± 4' high. Temps gets taken every day and they try to maintain a temp of ± 150° F in that pile (even in the winter with snow covering the compost piles). If it gets too hot inside the pile they'll plow the pile over. The finished product gets sifted and that gets offered free to the public.

  5. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Keep them turned up with a pitchfork and once in a while pour a can of beer on the pile (not your good stuff. . . that rot-gut stuff the inlaws left in your fridge). The beer is suppose to expedite the degradation process.
  6. Ax Man

    Ax Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    sounds like alchohol abuse to me!
  7. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Posts: 554

    You could add some nitrogen fertilizer, that will help it break down.

    KDLAWN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 100

    I have a walker and I have to dump. this one yard I dump in the woods..been doing so for the past two years... well monday I went to dump my last load for that site and put my Walker back on the trailor, blowed the drives and sidewalks off.. go to collect my money.. the owner says.." it looks pretty foggy back there"... well I really didn't think much about it because there is construction going on beside her..I thought they might have been the trucks running up and down the dirt road.... well I went back there to check it out and where I dump my grass it was on fire..... it had burnt a good 25 foot circle.. got the garden hose and called the fire dept. I had it out before they got there.. they said that it self-combusted because they were left in piles... I have been dumping for years and leaving them in piles..not sure they knew what they were talking about.. but My thinking on it is..that when I backed up to dump, my muffler was in a pile of grass and it caught fire that way.. not sure .... but we will be spreading the piles from now on...
  9. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Yes, compost piles can get hot enough to actually ignite! I've seen it happen before, especially to piles containing manure. Be careful and keep turning them.
  10. STAN1366

    STAN1366 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 334

    I know it sounds strange that a pile of grass could self combust, but I've seen it happen. A trailer full of hay going to the Ringling Bros. Circus in NYC started smoldering. My fire company got the call and we found it pretty hot in the trailer when we opened it. Dumped a few hundred gallons of water on it to cool it down and sent the truck on it's way. Turns out that adding water was the wrong thing to do since it's what the hay needed to decompose and eventually it would have heated up again and ignited. Don't know if that's what happened later on though.

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