couple of sawdust questions

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redcoat
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couple of sawdust questions

Postby redcoat » May 18th, 2017, 1:28 pm

Hi,

I have a local cabinet shop that will give me their sawdust as it becomes available, guessing around 40 gallon bag per week. I just picked up 2 1/2 bags that they had accumulated.

1. Is this very fine sawdust better than some from a local sawmill - I am thinking it will decompose quicker?

2. How thick should I spread it as it becomes available? Do I need to just toss it out there?

Anything else to be aware of?!

cheers!
bpgreen
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Re: couple of sawdust questions

Postby bpgreen » May 18th, 2017, 2:30 pm

I don't know if fine sawdust is any better than coarse sawdust. One possible drawback to finer sawdust is that it may be more prone to caking, but I'm just guessing at that.

I wouldn't spread it more than about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick unless you're spreading it on a garden or someplace where you want it to choke out weeds.
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andy10917
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Re: couple of sawdust questions

Postby andy10917 » May 18th, 2017, 10:42 pm

Sawdust requires more fungal members of the microherd, and those take longer to develop than bacterial components - so put away any ideas of fast decomposition. Start off light and and keep applying at 1/8" until you notice it's disappearing quicker.

PS: sawdust can be explosive in the air, and finer sawdust hangs in the air longer. Don't stockpile large quantities in the garage unless you are trying to airmail the car to the repair shop.
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MorpheusPA
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Re: couple of sawdust questions

Postby MorpheusPA » May 19th, 2017, 9:57 am

As a very general rule, finer sawdust (finer anything) will decompose or dissolve faster than coarse stuff, just because the surface area to volume ratio is much greater.

However, in this case, Andy's got a point. If the microherd isn't up to this, it's not going anywhere fast. If it is, it's still a fairly slow decomposer due to the near total lack of nitrogen.

Two things: One, make sure the wood is untreated. Treated wood shouldn't be used on the lawn or gardens. Two, if you notice the decay is taking forever on that initial 1/8" (maximum!), you can try applying some organic nitrogen in the form of Milorganite or soybean meal--or anything, really. That should help accelerate things a little bit.
redcoat
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Location: Knightdale, NC
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Re: couple of sawdust questions

Postby redcoat » May 19th, 2017, 12:40 pm

Thanks all! I'll start off with just 1/8". I'm using milorganite so hopefully that will help kicks things off.

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Dchall_San_Antonio
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Re: couple of sawdust questions

Postby Dchall_San_Antonio » June 12th, 2017, 12:55 pm

About 10 or more years ago there was a discussion on the GardenWeb soils forum about sawdust. The OP was a wood worker and had lots of it. He wanted to share his experience with sawdust in the garden. His claim was that he started out with ceramic quality clay soil and had turned it into something soft enough to stick his hand into simply by years of spreading sawdust on top. It was hard to argue against him, since he had the experience and did not appear to be a crackpot or troll. He did allow as to the softening process taking years to achieve. He also said that the decomposition process had sped up considerably over the years of weekly applications. It started out sitting on the soil for months, but at the time of his writing he said it would disappear within a few weeks.

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