I’ve been composting twigs and branches ever since I stepped into the composting world. I got to know about hügelkultur (go find out what it is as I won’t explain it here) recently and while I’m not able to utilize this technique in my garden due to space issues, it somehow sorta encouraged me. It encourages me to encourage you to compost twigs and branches as I think they are rather underutilized in the gardening-composting world.
You might think that branches take a very long time to compost. That is only half true. If you cut ’em up, then surprisingly not. While I don’t have the exact timeline, I can tell you they do compost quite fast, say as fast as 3 weeks (size dependent). The key point is to cut them into smaller sizes to speed up the composting.
Of twigs and branches. No, don’t discard them in the bin. Compost them!
I’m sure the majority of gardening enthusiasts prune plants and trees. Don’t discard all the pruned parts unless there are issues with them (like diseases, bugs, etc). Once the twigs and branches (including leaves) are dried (leave it to nature), simply cut them into smaller sizes of any size with a good garden cutter and either sprinkle them around your plants/trees, straight into your compost bin or bury them.
If the branches are too thick, I just cut them to whichever length depending on the cutter’s capability and my strength. Otherwise, I leave thick branches to compost as is which takes longer of course. Why, you could also use a saw when a garden cutter cannot do its job. I haven’t tried that though.
If you don’t want to wait for the twigs and branches to dry, I think you can still compost them while they are green. Somehow, my intuition tells me it’s better dried. This is because when things are dried, they break down faster. Also, when the branches are green, they may attract molds and whatnot.
Take a handful and like me sprinkle ’em around the plants/trees.
You may think that cutting them up one by one is a waste of your precious time. Not me though. I enjoy cutting pruned materials like leaves, twigs and branches as well as kitchen scraps while basking in the glory of the morning sun. Thanks to the sun for hitting our skin where our cholesterol is and this cholesterol is then converted to vitamin D. This is how you get vitamin D. In other words, you don’t have to fear the sun, cholesterol and animal fats (where you get the cholesterol).
So, I hope you understand that even twigs and branches can be composted and I hope you do give them a go.
My idea about composting is to put the twigs and branches or whatever that came from nature (as is) back to nature and I believe these hard materials like twigs and branches will provide nutrients, beneficial medium for the microorganism in the soils and as well as mulching.
Happy gardening and composting!