Tag Archives: composting

Composting Branches for Fence Material

OK, so we are not talking a permanent fence, but one that is original with tons of personality. Have the neighborhood kids collect branches and twigs that have fallen from high winds or ice storms. When pruning trees and shrubs, save them for your new compost fence.

First, select a location where this type of fencing will not look out-of-place. We have chosen a spot by the water outlet, where the landscaping is more informal.

Decide how long and tall you would like the fence to be. You could work in reverse by accessing the sizes of existing branches and limbs on your property. Tamp in metal or wooden stakes to hold your material in place.

Have the kids start gathering all the branches and limbs from your landscape.

Start laying the material.

This is also an affordable idea for those who have a small rodent problem, perfect for a garden area.

Don’t waste time bundling up for curbside pick up when you can easily create a functional compost fence.

I know the green metal stakes stand out a bit. I will eventually cover them with bark from a tree. You can also use rusty re-bar or actual branches.

This type of fence is nice to hide garbage cans too.

Children can erect their own forts in no time by creating 3 sides and draping a tarp on top.

To dress the fence up……

install small plants at the bottom and

potted plants

This project really excites the children

The compost fence above has been planted with morning glory vine and black eyed susan vine. These vines completely hide the fence during the growing season.

Over time your fence will decompose and add wonderful black soil beneath. Just add more branches on top of the pile as this occurs.

Send me pictures of your fences……


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Greensboro Landscaping Tips-February 09

Roses, dividing/transplanting perennials, composting, edging, and weeding. See, there are so many things we could be working on before spring. Just think of all the free time you will have if you get started with  landscaping tasks now.

This is the time to order roses from your favorite catalogs. Dormant roses will be shipped ASAP, usually between now and mid-April. Make sure you have a location for your rose plants before purchasing.  When the rose arrives, it needs to be planted within 3 days. In North Carolina we have a serious Japanese beetle problem and they love roses. When selecting roses look at the bloom times. Japanese beetles are only present from June to July, so choose roses that DO NOT bloom at this time. Roses need 6-8 hours of sunlight, great soil, and water. A good rose for our region is the knockout rose, blooming from May until the first frost. Knock roses put on a really good show.


Dig up some of your perennials and divide to install in other parts of your garden. Some perennial plants I will be dividing are: coreopsis, iris, soapwort, garden phlox, black-eyed susan, hosta, plumbago, aster, creeping sedum and salvia. You may even swap some perennials with your friends at this time.

Composting is an affordable way to create soil your plants will flourish in. Check out the link on how to do this.

If your bed lines are no longer crisp, get out your spade and start edging. Here is a link to help you.


Weeding plant beds can also be completed or started now. Many winter perennial weeds are showing their nasty faces and we don’t have to look at them. After removing weeds a weed program can be set up to eliminate these problems by applying a pre-emergent herbicide, like Preen.

Have fun or hire someone:)

Happy Planting!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

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Posted by on February 22, 2009 in Greensboro Gardens


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How to Make Composted Soil?

Here is a fantastic recipe to make composted soil. Your trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables and annuals will love you tremendously for providing rich composted soil for their root systems. If you think composting is a waste of time, look at the 2 trees below.


The maple tree to the left of the gentleman and to the right (on the slope) are the same age. The maple to the right has been planted in composted soil that was tilled into the existing soil. This tree has clearly grown 400% faster than the maple tree planted without composted soil to the left. This significant difference is worth giving compost a shot.


In Greensboro, North Carolina many homeowners have plenty of space to designate to a compost area. The dimensions to think about

  • never exceed 4 to 6 feet in height
  • it should measure at least 3 feet in height, 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep

Location of bin or pile

  • close to a water source
  • part shade here in the southeast (needs to stay moist)
  • close to a road if moving compost by vehicle

Ingredients of compost pile or bin

  • vegetable and fruit waste
  • coffee grounds
  • egg shells
  • leaves
  • grass clippings
  • straw and hay
  • sawdust (thin layers)
  • animal waste
  • newspapers (shredded)
  • grill residues
  • old annuals and vegetable plants
  • fish tank sludge

Ingredients never to use

  • dog and cat waste (parasites)
  • meat, grease and fat
  • weeds with seeds
  • large branches
  • colored or coated paper
  • charcoal or coal

Composting means to speed up the decomposition process to weeks instead of months. In order to move things along at a faster pace

  • keep the compost pile moist
  • combining different types of organic matter (green, brown, manure) by layering
  • ventilating your compost pile adding needed oxygen (turning pile) when the thermometer placed in center reaches 150 degrees F

Arrangement of layers for composting

  • 8-12 inches of your garbage, lawn trimmings or green organic matter is the first layer on the soil
  • 2 inches of materials high in nitrogen like manure, coffee grounds, blood meal, urea, fertilizer 10-6-4 or alfalfa
  • 2-3 inches of calcium rich matter like wood ashes from your fireplace or chiminea, egg shells, soil or finished compost
  • then water and keep moist

Repeat these layers until desired height and remember the finer the materials are shredded or mulched, the quicker the decomposition. Plus, if you see earthworms in your pile, you are on the right track.

Good luck and happy composting!!

Diana Gardner-Williams

Landscape Design and Installation

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Posted by on December 3, 2008 in Greensboro Gardens


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