Composting Ivy

Community Community Garden Problems Weeds Composting Ivy

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Julia 5 years, 8 months ago.

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    We are clearing a patch which has been growing ivy around a concrete coal bunker for years. My question is on whether or not the ivy should be added to the compost heap. I usually only exclude really prickly stuff like brambles and roses and anything with thorns. I think I manage my compost heaps quite well. I usually use the Berkeley hot composting method which means turning the compost every couple of days for about a 3-4 weeks. I know you don’t have to do this to get good compost, but I enjoy the exercise and this method seems to work for the ingredients I have. It usually reaches a temp of 60-65c after a couple of days. A search on google seems to suggest not, but I don’t believe it!



    I have composted ivy Macson and it all disappeared in the heap.
    A heap of decent warmth and many microbes, like yours, will digest it.
    Maybe keep it below say 10% by volume of all ingredients.



    I sort my prickly stuff into two piles when I am clearing areas.
    One heap is brambles and pieces of thorn bushes (hawthorn, blackthorn etc) which are an odd shape so are awkward to feed into my big domestic wood chipper. This gets burnt and the ash and charcoal used.

    The other pile is straighter branches of thorn trees and roses and the rest of the hedge branches. This all goes through the chipper, nasty thorns and all.
    This goes in the compost or just as a mulch. The thorns are not a problem.



    Thanks Charles, I thought that would be the answer.

    Hi Wellies, Do you find that the thorns disappear in the compost? My spiky brambles are often dead wild blackberries that I have cut down where they have grown into trees. They are very spiky. Perhaps I’ll start a separate heap with mostly brambles with a good lot of grass and cardboard and see what happens. I hate taking any garden waste to the local dump. Seems such a waste (pun intended). Hawthorn, maybe I will feed into my incinerator. We also have wood ash from our open fire. Still burning pine from trees chopped down 12 years ago. Nowadays, also I shred occasional pine branches (thin ones) and this also goes into the compost.

    Another myth for Charles, “You shouldn’t burn pine in an open fire or wood burner”.



    Thank you for your post Macson & Charles. I have a plot on a council run allotment site and occasionally we receive a small pile of wood chip from the Borough. Today, I thought I would add some ‘brown’ to my compost bins but didn’t know if it was a good thing to acquire new wood chip that had (shredded) ivy leaves in it. Definitely less than 10% in the overall scheme of things. It will be towards the end of 2019 when this pile of compost is ready for testing for readiness (things move slowly on Plot 14 :-)) However, I am still nervous about adding ivy to anything that will come into contact with edible plants.I’ve believed that, in general, evergreen plants have a thicker cuticle and epidermis and therefore should not be composted plus I have always thought that ivy contained poisonous alkaloids. Any thoughts or observations would be welcomed before I add any more of the ‘new’ wood chip to the engine house of plot 14.

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