Recycle Yard Waste

In a Carolina Yard, grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings are recycled rather than thrown away. By recycling yard debris, we gain free mulch and return valuable nutrients to the soil. Turn plant and kitchen scraps into rich soil for your indoor and outdoor plants. Consider organizing a community-wide program with your neighbors to help keep waste out of local landfills. If your community already has a composting program, be sure to follow the guidelines and contribute appropriate materials.

Carolina Yards Spotlight: Making Leaves Work For You

 
 

Yard Actions: 4 Ways to Recycle Yard Waste

Compost bin

Create and maintain a compost pile with kitchen scraps and yard waste. No animal products, please.

worm composting

Create worm compost by using the digestive power of worms to recycle kitchen scraps and other organic materials.(image via Flickr: looseends)

lawnmower in a yard

Recycle grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn. Mulching lawn mowers or mulching blades are not necessary.

brown paper yard waste bags

Use appropriate bags to contribute lawn clippings to community composting efforts. Place bags away from storm drains.

Composting FAQ

Will rodents get into my compost pile?

Where should my compost bin be located in my yard?

Will it smell?

What kind of worms do I put in my compost pile?


Will rodents get into my compost pile?

If your pile is managed properly, you shouldn’t have any problem with rodents getting into your compost pile. Meat, dairy, or food prepared with oil can attract rodents to your compost pile. If you add kitchen scraps to your pile, be sure not to add meat and fatty foods. It’s helpful to dig a hole into the pile for kitchen scraps and then cover them to keep rodents away (HGIC 1600 Composting). [back to top]

Where should my compost bin be located in my yard?

Remember that composting takes months, so be sure you can get to your compost pile all year round. The site should be level, have good drainage, and be in a sunny or partly sunny spot. Ideally, the storage container you use for your compost pile should be over bare soil that has been turned to a depth of 6 inches or so to make access easy for worms and other organisms that do the work (HGIC 1600 Composting). [back to top]

Will it smell?

Compost piles will remain relatively odor- and ruminant-free if they are turned, watered, and aerated regularly. If you detect an odor, the compost may be compressed and should be turned to provide more oxygen. Also, add some relatively chunky materials such as twigs or wood chips to provide air spaces. If the compost smells of ammonia, you have too many green materials and need to add more brown materials (HGIC 1600 Composting). [back to top]

What kind of worms do I put in my compost pile?

Worm composting, or vermicomposting, uses the digestive power of red wigglers (Eisenia fetida). These are small red worms that live in the uppermost layer of organic matter on top of the soil. They are often chosen for worm composting because it is easy to replicate their preferred environment in a worm bin. They are also ideal because they have short life spans, reproduce quickly and tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions (HGIC 1607 Worm Composting). [back to top]

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Did you know?

Grass clippings do not contribute to lawn thatch! Thatch is a dense, spongy collection of living and dead grass stems and roots lying between the soil surface and green grass leaves. Too much water and fertilizer produce excessive growth, which can lead to thatch. A shallow thatch layer up to 1/2 inch thick actually benefits the lawn by helping to retain moisture and stabilize soil temperature.

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Tip:

A good rule of thumb is to remove no more than 1/3 of the lawn height at any one mowing. However, if you know the type of turfgrass growing in your yard, check the resources to see which mow height is recommended for the turfgrass species growing in your yard. Mowing, and especially mowing height, directly affects the health and quality of lawn.

Additional Resources:

HGIC 1600 Composting

HGIC 1607 Worm Composting

HGIC 1205 Mowing Lawns

HGIC 2360: Controlling Thatch in Lawns

Lawn type and mowing height: ”Green with Envy” (Lowe’s)

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