I just started composting. In addition to putting lawn clippings, kitchen waste and dry leaves what else can I put in? Is it okay to put branches of trees (fruit, olive, etc) in the compost?

  • 1
    If you have a shredder, shred woody branches and the like first, then add to the compost heap, woody twigs and branches take a long, long time to compost down otherwise.
    – Bamboo
    Apr 24, 2016 at 12:08
  • No shredder unfortunately. Hate to put branches in the yard waste bin. Btw are all Soddy branches treated the same from a recycling standpoint? What about think branches that are less than quarter inch?
    – JStorage
    Apr 24, 2016 at 19:59
  • Soddy? Dunno what that means - even twigs the size of your pinky take ages to compost, especially in anaerobic, cool conditions
    – Bamboo
    Apr 24, 2016 at 21:36
  • That's why they suggest putting woody twigs at the base of the compost pile as they provide aeration off the ground, and won't decompose in the time the pile does. Apr 24, 2016 at 23:54

2 Answers 2


Dry leaves should be shredded first as otherwise they might form an impenetrable mat in your compost pile. If you don't have a shredder, it's easiest to just collect a pile of leaves and run the lawn mower over it a few times. This provides the "browns" or high carbon material for your pile.

Composting uses bacteria to break down the organic material. But wood needs fungi, a different microbe that breaks down lignin at a different rate from non-lignaceous products. So, you'll likely end up with all the branches largely intact.

It's better to just bury all your woody material and plant on top of it.


I used to put branches on my compost pile, but it takes years until they decompose.

However it is possible to use them if you reduce them in small pieces with a shredder (if not too many of them). If you usually put your mowed lawn on it, it will be very good to balance between nitrate rich and carbon rich inputs...

The humanure manual provides interesting information about how to handle a composting pile - even if its not to compost humane manure.

About the shredder, which can be expensive depending on the size of the branches you have, you could see with your neighbors if you can borrow one, or by one together with them.

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