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susanargus_gw

So many sticks...

19 years ago

I don't yet have a true "woodland" but I'm slowly adding more and more beds of woodland/natives to my oak-filled yard. Every one of my oaks seems to drop a ton of twigs (especially this past year due to cicaidas).

What do you folks do with your twigs? Everyone I know with old trees seems to just throw them away, but I hate to just landfill so much organic matter. On the other hand, there are way too many sticks to use, unless I had bonfires regularly. :>

Any suggestions?

Comments (16)

  • 19 years ago

    If they are small sticks, you could compost them. If they are larger sticks...give them to someone who has a fireplace, they can use them as kindling. Offer them up on your local free-cycle...believe me..someone will take them! April

  • 19 years ago

    Pile them up in an unobtrusive place to create a brush pile for birds and other small creatures.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Why a brush pile is important

  • 19 years ago

    In the forest, that dead wood contributes to new soil. When sticks fall in my miniwoodland, or I prune them away, I drop them right on the ground. They'll break down and enrich the soil. The ones that fall on the lawn go into brushpiles. Big branches we use to edge beds.

  • 19 years ago

    I have a chipper/shredder. The small ones get chipped into mulch for the paths, the bigger ones go into a brush pile for the birds.

  • 19 years ago

    There is a tradition where I live of creating 'parks' on your property. Lots of trees, some 'bushes' and immaculate lawn. So there is a lot of branch collecting, bonfires, and wood chipping. I especially feel bad when I see ten and twenty bags of shredded plant life being carted off from one address. My goal is to have a natural woods in the parts of my property the neighbors dont see. In that area I am leaving anything that falls where it falls, unless it is in a path, or interfering with other plant life. Leaves quickly go back to the earth. Decomposing wood is so pretty and fresh smelling, often covered with mosses, fungi, lichen. As the wood crumbles into the ground it makes a superior soil base for your wild flowers. I have one beautiful fern bed where a large tree had been cut into pieces and hidden behind the garage (old owners didnt want to haul it). The trunk was so broken down it fell apart as I tried to move it.

  • 19 years ago

    I agree with flowerkitty.......leave it all where it falls. When we stuff wood and leaves into plastic bags and put them at the curb, we're breaking that circle of life. It's all too bizarre for me, to see bags upon unbiodegradable bags of natural stuff, waiting for the garbage truck. It's really too much for me to wrap my mind around!
    The earth is just waiting for this natural stuff to come back to it.
    I realize that I'm so lucky and have alot of property, so I don't have to worry about the neighbors objecting to what I do. But I would definitely leave all those sticks decompose back into the earth.

  • 19 years ago

    I know what the woodland answer is, and I'm with you folks about it. I cringe when I see all this organic matter transported off to the dump.

    There simply is no area in my yard at this point that can appropriately hold the volume amount of sticks that fell last year. Sticks are not flat when they fall to the ground, and they don't lie flat like firewood. They create a giant webbed pile. I'm transforming grass to ground as fast as I can, but it is a slow process. If I had a wood chipper (or mini chain saw) I think I could solve the problem, but at this point I do not. Not sure how the environmental costs of using a woodchipper compare to the cost of losing organic material to a landfill, anyway :)

    Right now I'm hoping the cicaidas created an anomaly in terms of tree litter and I've started a pile for sticks. The giant tree branch that is still too green to break into small pieces might have to go, though.

    Any more advice from those with trees and lawn would be much appreciated. Thanks for everyone's comments.

  • 19 years ago

    Actually I have a similar problem which is why I am trying to build a woods to get to the point I won't have to deal with complaining neighbors. I was lucky enough to be able to spread this seasons windfalls around my property. Where I live there are all sorts of people with equipment who will do the small odd jobs. Wonder if you could find someone to bring a shredder out to your property for a reasonable price, where you would have all the refuse ready in one location. They could shred and bag it. And then you could haul it back out and dump it on your property as mulch. I may be in the same boat this year if we get a good storm and that is what I intend to do if it comes about

  • 19 years ago

    i think alot of people have made excellent suggestions for a stick pile. if you have absolutlely no other place to put them; then hopefully you have access to a local landscape waste recycle program, which is a better alternative than the garbage.

    most small sticks in my yard are mulched by the lawn mower back into the lawn areas. the sticks are generally left in non-lawn areas unless they are smooshing something i want to bloom. large sticks in the lawn are either tossed onto the non-lawn area or are chipped and shredded to be used for mulch or compost. larger logs are split and stacked for firewood or tossed into the brush pile.

  • 19 years ago

    Leave them. Otherwise the leaves blow away, and the soil and plants will suffer. I learned this the hard way. "Cleaned up" the branches and twigs, leaves blew away, and my woodland floor was baked hard orange clay very shortly.

  • 19 years ago

    I leave the sticks too. But as many have said, the birds love scrub and stick piles so if you don't like them all over you can strew then in particular spots where they won't bother you. We have paths through our little wooded area so we just kick the sticks into the areas that aren't walked on.

    Barb

  • 19 years ago

    In our town, you can bring sticks & brush to the Big Brushpile behind the township hall, where the Christmas trees all go to die. You can also get the decomposed stuff *from* the Pile when you want to, for mulch/compost. The town is trying to discourage sending plant material into landfills.
    This is for the folks like us, who have lots just too small to have "woods" and discreetly hidden brushpiles. The town's health dept. is also concerned about Lyme disease---those brushpiles are full of the mice that are big vectors. With several acres you can put them far enough off that the mice won't bring the ticks right up to your steps--with 1/10 ac., big brushpiles just aren't possible. The brushpile will wind up next to the neighbor's swing set.
    You can also give at least some of those little sticks to local Scout troops to use for tinder to help start that singalong campfire.

  • 19 years ago

    QUOTE: I'm transforming grass to ground as fast as I can, but it is a slow process.

    Let nature do it for you. If you make stick piles and allow leaves and other organic matter to collect in those areas, the grass will be smothered and once that happens you can move your stick and organic matter piles to nearby locations and allow it to make the woodlands *for you*.

    newspaper is a neat trick to remove formal grass areas too. You just lay down newspapers over whatever area you want to remove grass, put down some compost, extra soil from your property, animal droppings, twigs, branches and so on until the newspaper is covered and it will kill the grass. Your branches would work very well for this purpose and it would save you the hard work of actually removing formal grassy areas. Start at the rear of your groomed property and work your way forward or in whatever direction until you have the area you want to make "wooded" is cleared and already sprouting up naturally occuring plantlife.

    Barb

  • 19 years ago

    I'm a big fan of newspaper beds. :) Each week brings another few square feet into the grassless folds. I've been slowly connecting all the tree islands into beds, with newspaper&mulch or with fallen leaves. "Beds" may seem a bit less than 100% woodland but I may be renting my house out in the next year, so I am compelled to compromise. Native plants, less grass, planting a couple of new oaks to someday join the old ones, small steps. The sticks seem more managable this year, too. :>

    Thanks all -
    Susanargus

  • 19 years ago

    Thought I was the only one that made use of old newspapers in this fashion. I live on old "slopping" property, one side a pine grove. For the past few years I have been taking the wall street journals and other business papers and laying them down on my slopping areas and then covering with leaves and bark mulch. Covered the grass in one area so I could put down my chimmanea! I use the newspaper for beginnings of pathways,to me it just seems so natural as newspapers are first trees. If it goes to the dump, I have to get a sticker, borrow a truck and shovel it all back to dump in my yard. This seems easier! ?

  • 18 years ago

    What I do is breakup the smaller branches and handsaw the larger ones into shorter pieces that I can arrange on the ground among the planting beds near where they fell.This careful placing of downed wood is a creative part of my gardening strategy.The wood acts as a mulch trapping blowing leaves, will decay quickly in contact with the soil,and can be done with an artistic intent.Its actually very beatiful.Branches cut up and laid closely together can dispose of a lot of wood.Or how about a big brush pile in middle of the front yard?It would beat out the typical crap you would normally find in suburbia.

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