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Re: Sawdust

Dana Brown wrote:
> Here's a new one for me.  My husband and I have generated a large
> amount of sawdust working on the remodeling project.  Is there a garden
> use for it?  Can it be used in the compost pile?  I hate to throw it
> away.  It really seems like it ought to be good for something.


Whatever you do, don't throw it away. It makes a great soil additive,
but there are a couple of caveats.

Some wood is treated with copper sulfate (generally) as a preservative.
Around here in California, we only use treated wood where the wood is
going to come into contact with the ground or a concrete footing. You
can generally identify this kind of wood by its green color and the fact
that it looks like it has been stabbed all over with a knife (that is
how they get penetration of the copper sulfate). Since you are very
close to the remodeling project, you probably know if the wood was
treated. Generally very little treated wood is used over the whole
project anyway so a little sawdust from the few pieces use is of little

Around here we routinely use shredded redwood as a soil amendment, it
naturally breaks down slowly. But as with all wood, it needs some
nitrogen to replace what is used up in the decomposition process, so the
nurseries merely add some nitrogen to the shredded wood. Do the same
thing with your sawdust. Estimate the number of square feet your pile
would cover if it were spread 3" thick, then follow the instructions for
the amount of fertilizer needed for coverage for the same number of
square feet.

Till it in so it doesn't clump up. No more than 50-50 with soil. Easy.


John                     | "There be dragons here"
                         |  Annotation used by ancient cartographers
                         |  to indicate the edge of the known world.

John Jones, jijones@ix.netcom.com
Fremont CA, USDA zone 8/9 (coastal, bay) 
Max high 95F/35C, Min Low 28F/-2C average 10 days each
Heavy clay base for my raised beds.

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