Can you compost weeds? Yes, you can compost weeds. The reason why some compost enthusiasts are avoiding weeds in their compost is that weeds such as perennials and those that start producing seeds can sometimes regrow either in the compost or when the compost is applied to the garden.
However, that can only occur if the compost bin or pile is not properly setup. This is because a well-maintained compost bin or pile that generates sufficient heat can kill perennial weeds and weed seeds alongside other diseased pathogens.
Therefore, you can put weeds into your compost pile or bin without any issue if you can follow the basic composting maintenance and preparation.
Read on for details on how to compost weeds efficiently and other composting tips.
Types of Weeds
Before I start explaining how to compost weeds, it is important to understand the different types of weeds so that will help you know the type of weeds you have beforehand or dealing with. Weeds are generally classified into Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials.
Perennial weeds: perennial weeds are weeds that take a long period of time before they die up. Common examples of perennial weeds include bramble, creeping buttercup, couch grass, dandelion, ground elder, dock leaves, and creeping thistle.
Biennial weeds: biennials are weeds that take two years before they die up. Examples of biennial weeds include Queen Anne’s lace, evening primrose, burdock, and common mullein.
Annual weeds: annual weeds are weeds that take one year before they die up. Common examples of annual weeds include bindweeds, chickweed, crabgrass, knotweed, mallow weed, pigweed, and groundsel.
How do you turn weeds into Compost?
Weeds Composting usually makes compost enthusiasts think twice. This is because maybe from experience they found out that the weeds compost can spread and fill up their garden whenever the weeds compost is added or applied on the garden soil.
However, this is not always the case. Because, if you follow some good weeds composting maintenance and preparation, you can conveniently and efficiently compost the high nutrients weeds such as couch grass, buttercup, and nettles that are otherwise regarded as hard to decompose.
Here are few effective methods to compost all kind of weeds:
- Drying up or baking with sun
- Composting weeds in water
- Hot composting
Drying up or baking weeds: this method involves drying the weeds under the sun or baking them in an oven until all the weed seeds and viable roots are killed by heat. This method helps prevent the weed seeds and roots from regrowing when the weeds are buried in the compost heap, pile, or compost bin. To speed up the process, you can put them in a bag to increase heat, which will help kill the weed seeds.
Composting weeds in water: another method to extract the nutrients from weeds is to soak them in water and allow them to ferment for at least three weeks. After 21 to 30 days, all the necessary nutrients present in weeds would be released into the water. Then, the water will be used as a liquid fertilizer to feed plants while the remaining residue will be added to the compost.
To make a liquid compost using weeds, just fill half of any container with weeds. Make sure the container has a lid. Then, fill up the remaining space with water. Cover the container with its lid and leave the mixture to ferment for at least three weeks.
After three weeks, bring out the container and strain the weeds tea into another container. You can use this tea to feed your garden plants. But, make sure before you apply the weeds to your garden you dilute or add water to the weeds tea to reduce the concentration. While the remaining residue from the rotten or steeped weeds can be added to the compost bin and composted.
Hot composting of weeds: hot composting of weeds involves adding weeds to a very hot compost bin or pile. This type of compost bin or pile is properly maintained with regular turning so that high heat will be generated to weed seeds, weed roots, and pathogens.
How to Hot Compost Weeds
Hot composting is the best composting method to compost perennial weeds that developed a large root system. The method involves adding weeds and other compostable materials to a compost pile or bin with high temperatures.
Hot compost can be done in automated composers or a local compost bin that is made from a plastic dustbin. Don’t how to make a local compost bin? Learn how to make one from our guide to making compost bin from the plastic dustbin.
Here is a step by step guide on how to hot compost weeds:
Dry up the weeds under the sun: if you are composting perennial weeds, you need to dry up the roots under the sun. This is because perennial weeds’ roots can regrow in your compost if the conditions in the compost are favorable. But, when you dry up the weeds under the sun, the roots would die up and so when the weeds are added to the compost, they won’t regrow.
Place your compost bin in a good location: you need to find a good place in your backyard or apartment and place the compost bin. A good place should not be shaded by trees or any structure. Place the compost bin on a well flat surface that is receiving a reasonable amount of sunlight in a day.
Also, make sure that the spot has good ventilation. Locating your compost bin in a such spot can help generate sufficient heat and allow air in your compost, which in turn speeds up the weeds composting process.
Add weeds to the interior of your compost bin: after you added the first layer of brown compostable materials, add your weeds together with other greens to the compost. Continue to add the compostable materials while alternating between layers of browns and greens.
But, make sure you concentrate weeds deep down the compost bin to the center of the compost bin. This area of the compost bin has temperatures. And so when you added weeds to the area of compost, the composting process of weeds will be quicken. Additionally, all the roots that may regrow will also be killed by the heat.
Turn the weed compost: to generate heat and increase airflow in the compost, you need to start turning the compost after weeks. Turn the compost timely at least two times a week.
Note: if you composting weeds, avoid adding new compostable materials to your compost. You need to add all your scraps at once and then cover and give time to your compost to decompose. This can help speed up the weeds composting process and help produce compost that is evenly finished.
Read also: The Detailed Guide To Eggshells Composting
How to Compost Weeds with Seeds
If you want to compost weeds that start producing seeds, you need to first bake the weeds in an oven or under the sun. Baking weeds under the sun can help kill seeds and any other pathogens.
Alternatively, you can soak the weeds in water and leave them to steep for several weeks, then strain the water into another container and add the rotten weeds to your compost bin. At this time, the weeds’ seeds have dried up and they can’t regrow in the compost or on the field even if the compost bin does not generate much heat.
While the tea that you strain from weeds water can be used to feed garden plants as liquid fertilizer. Then, follow the normal composting method to compost the weeds.
How long does it take for Weeds to decompose?
If you follow the right composting preparation and maintenance as I explained above, you can harvest your weeds compost within 6 months to one year. However, adding weeds directly to your compost especially those that started producing seeds can only cause you problems, not benefits.
Can you put garden weeds in a compost bin?
Yes, you can compost garden weeds so far you follow the right composting preparation. But, try to avoid diseased and chemically treated weeds.
Can you put seaweeds in a compost bin?
Yes, seaweeds are also good compostable materials. However, try to dry the seaweed before adding it to your compost so as to prevent excess water in the compost.
Can you put compost over weeds?
You cannot put compost over weeds. Adding compost to weeds can make the weeds grow out of control.
Can you put dead weeds in compost?
Yes, you can’t add dead weeds to your compost. This is the type of weed that is recommended in compost. However, avoid adding dead weeds that are infected with diseases or contaminated with fungi.
Can you put pondweeds in compost?
Yes, you can add pond weeds to your compost so as they are not chemically contaminated.
Can you put perennial weeds in a compost?
Yes, you can compost perennial weeds if you the preparation method I discussed above.
Can I put grass clippings in compost?
Yes, you can put grass clippings in your compost. Grass clippings are a good source of nitrogen and they help add moisture to your compost.
What is the fastest way to compost grass clippings?
The fastest way to compost grass clippings is to generate heat in the compost and compost the grass clippings with good compostable materials.
How long do grass clippings take to compost?
Grass clippings are easy to decompose. Grass clippings if properly added with other compostable materials, grass clippings usually do not take more than 3-6 months to decompose.
Can you compost weeds killed with roundup?
Yes, you can compost weeds killed with round up. The main thing to consider is that the weeds meet to be free of synthetic or toxic chemicals and pathogens. Agoodnd also viable seeds and roots that may regrow in the compost or garden soil when the compost is used on the soil.
Can you compost dandelion?
Yes, you can compost dandelion if you follow the composting method we discussed above.
Can you compost cough grass?
Cough grass is also compostable but avoids adding diseased cough grass.
In this article, I looked at how to compost weeds the right way. I hope you will find the article useful. Let me know if you have a question. (Recommended: Check these best books about composting here)