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It's a VERY VERY bad idea to burn the leftover grass and leaves during a windy day; however, do you know of any tricks that might solve this problem?

I tried using a small metal bucket except that it's taking forever and ever to burn anything in it.

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Perhaps you should reassess your need to burn things. –  baka Apr 10 '12 at 21:13
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Burning is probably the least good thing you could do. Doing nothing would be better than burning them. Get a shredder and turn them into a fine mulch and or compost it. –  Enigma Oct 28 at 17:28

4 Answers 4

There's no tip or trick to burning grass and leaves on a windy day. You answered the question yourself, it's a VERY VERY bad idea. Fire can spread very rapidly in wind and, depending on conditions, could easily spread a mile in minutes. Not only could your life, and others nearby be in danger...you are also risking your property and other's property.

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If you absolutely need it burnt (don't want to compost it), then it would be best to store the material in a wind-proof spot, or in a container of some kind, and then burn it after the wind is gone. I personally think it is a waste of organic material, just burning it. It would make a wonderful carbon base for a compost pile. Carbonaceous material burned to ashes don't do your land nearly as much good good as the same material would if composted. Anyway, that is an option to consider.

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actually.. ash is considered one of the best fertilizers, as far as I know –  Mihai Oprea Apr 11 '12 at 6:27
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ash is a very specific fertilizer – it does contain lots of potassium, but not much of other elements plants need. Also, it may increase pH more than you want. Using ash as the only fertilizer would only destroy your soil. –  Jacek Konieczny Apr 11 '12 at 10:10
    
@jmusser Yes, you don't gain any minerals when you burn, but you do lose all that humus and other 'mineral' nutrients (eg. nitrates). –  winwaed Apr 12 '12 at 12:14
    
In my experience ash can slow down or stop your compost pile from decomposing if you add ash to your compost. In my opinion putting ash in your compost or soil should be avoided. –  Shane Apr 13 '12 at 20:54

Depending on your local laws it might be forbidden to burn so-called "garden waste".

IMO for good reason: keep in mind, burning any organic material does not only produce CO2. CO2 is invisible, so all the smoke is "something else". There is stream of course, steam is white. The gray/dark part is what should worry people. This is the stuff creating sour rain and that smell. Of course some of the toxic parts are invisible as well.

You should consider every alternative. Composting, Creating leaf-mold in plastic bags, giving it to your neighbors who know of the value of leaves, bringing it to the dump yard/composting yard.

You should never burn grass. Ever. It is even worse than leaves regarding the toxic emissions.

Just don't burn mother nature's fruits. Sorry for getting too romantic.

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Sometimes, as in the case of a highly contagious infectious disease, it's best t burn plant material with a very high temperature fire or incinerator. –  J. Musser Oct 28 at 10:21
    
btw, much of the white smoke from burning quantities of organic matter is not steam, but released gaseous fuel that went unburned due to lack of oxygen in the area. As it heats, it produces some volatiles, but not rapidly enough to actually burn. If it caught at that point, it might sputter out. As the temperature rises, the fuel begins to appear at a faster rate until it supports a full flame and combusts. watch this video for demonstration on how smoke is actually unburned fuel. Of course, there is also water vapor, and some ash particulate too. –  J. Musser Oct 28 at 11:02
    
That's why when you blow out a fire, the smoke level goes way up, and very hot fires are often characterized by low smoke levels. Now this is all talking about organic matter. –  J. Musser Oct 28 at 11:04

The only things you should be burning would be specifically diseased materials where composting them could perpetuate disease. Otherwise, don't burn the materials, period. Grass clippings make a wonderful mulch and compost easily, for instance. Leaves turn into leaf mold, one of the nicest materials you can introduce your garden to.

Using a bucket to burn in does not increase safety significantly on a windy day, as embers and lightweight burning material can be blown out of the bucket by wind passing over the top and start fires. A bucket is also not a particularly effective combustor as there is only one way for oxygen (air) to get into it - through the open top.

If, and only if, you have a mass of diseased plant material to dispose of and for some reason (what, I can't imagine) needed to do so on a windy day without simply waiting for a non-windy day, then you would need a stove or incinerator with screening to contain sparks, (also known as a "spark arrestor" on the exhaust side, but you need to contain sparks from the intake side as well) so the materials could be burned without the possibility of sparks, embers or entire flaming bits of material being picked up by the wind (or sucked/blown out the stove-pipe) and causing a fire elsewhere.

And indeed, in many cases the local authorities will take a dim view of ANY burning on a windy day, and un-needed burning on any day.

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