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Does anyone keep their leaf cleanup/grass clippings to make compost?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Ecoscape01, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Ecoscape01

    Ecoscape01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Since I'm starting off residential, I was thinkin of saving the grass clippings and leaves from cleanup and putting them in a rolling bin composter that I found online. By next season I would have some compost to sell to my customers but also this stuff called compost tea which is a liquid bi-product of the composting process. The special composter allows the liquid to collect in a seperate container at the bottom to keep it seperate from the compost. The tea can then be diluted and apparently is a great fertilizer for flowers and small plants. I figure my customers don't want their grass clippings or leaves - just another way for an up an coming LCO to make a little more money with little effort. sound like another butty idea from the Eco-nut?
  2. Ford Guy

    Ford Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    i use the compost and mix it with screened topsoil that was mixed with manure and sell it as a blended soil. i buy the soil for $10/ yard and sell the blended soil for $35/ yard and most of the time they pay for the labour to spread the soil or top up flower beds, so it's really a win - win situation
  3. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    I use to bring it home and give to the chickens. They loved picking through it.
  4. Mowgli

    Mowgli LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I don't collect any grass clippings during cutting season. For leafs clean-up, I took it to the local dump site and paid $30 per load ( 6.5'x14'x5' trailer).

    If i were to bring the leaves home and try to do the compost thing, each year I will need at lease 1/4 acre of an open area to do that.
    So, compost was never an option for me.
  5. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    My understanding is that using grass clippings to make compost is not the best thing? It gives off very "aromatic" smells as it decomposes, and doesn't it also mess up the acidity of the compost?

    I just remember years ago being told not to compost grass clippings, and my town dump won't take grass, but will take leaves.
  6. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    It will begin to give off an amonia smell if i you pile up all grass. It is best to layer it with brown material such as leaves. this will cut down on the smell.
    Also do not let it just sit and clump. you need to turn it every few days, this will also keep the smell down.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I have a simple rule: I don't bag.
    If they ask, that's how it is.
    If they insist, I tell them that I am sorry but I can not help them, and thank them for their time.

    Most of the leaves go to the commercial dump, but there are times when I have a smaller pile of branches / brush / leaves, what have you...
    Small enough where it's not worth the $40 minimum the dump charges me per load.

    I still charge for hauling, because:
    I've been building a pile at the house, it takes up about 20 x 20 feet and is anywhere from 4 -6 feet tall. This pile needs to have 1-2 or 3 bags of lime dumped on top about twice a year, and at least once / year I have to rent a dingo and work it all through (turn it over), so as to help decomposition along.

    From what I've heard, it takes at least 2 but really 5 years to get a good pile going to where you have that topsoil you speak of, and everything in a sweet rotation type of thing.
    Meanwhile, I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with the eventual topsoil...
    Because sure, I can sell it, for the same price I can buy it for (about $20 / cubic yard) but now this involves me loading it, too, and it takes a good 30 minutes to move a tonne of dirt (for $20).

    Then again, I do plan on eventually buying myself a compact tractor, but that's years down the road, too...

    So, idk, idk...
  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    We have areas that we dump grass clippings and leaves at the shop. We basically back up to a hill and dump it right over. We've been doing this for years. So its not really a compost pile.

    I have however started to get a compost pile going at my house where I try and mix in 50/50 of green and brown stuff. Every once in awhile I'll take my dingo too it and turn it over. I'm starting to prepare the compost for a garden I'm going to be putting in at my house.
  9. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    Be careful of what you bring home. I used to accept clean loads of leaves from my cousin, back when he was doing that kind of work, ended up getting some free bermuda grass spriggs spread on my hay field. After a couple of years of plowing it up, I finally got rid of it!
  10. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    I have a rather large pit dug out back behind my backyard into the woods where my mx track is, its very wide and open and its secluded back behind lines of trees. All the dirt i used to dig out this pit, was used on the mx track building it up, as for the empty hole, which probably is about 10-14 ft deep and about 40ft in diamiter, i dump the leaves and clippings in it, and turn it over weekely with the backhoe, occasionally throw some topsoil in it to help the decomposistion. Should be nice to be able to get some topsoil out of it and sell it back to clients. Kinda like how we work for tree service, you charge the client to haul it out, then split it, then sell it back as firewood, its win win as long as you have the equpiment.

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