Can I speed up the decomposition of my leaves?

Can I speed up the decomposition of the autumn leaves from my yard so the compost will be ready in spring?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

You have several factors working against you to create quick compost from the mountains of fall leaves in your yard. Fallen tree leaves are high in carbon. They need to be mixed with high-nitrogen materials to break down quickly. Grass clippings or other green debris mixed in will help, but these are usually in short supply in autumn. You can add a nitrogen fertilizer or manure if you don't have enough "greens" on hand. Compost needs warmth to break down yard waste. As temperatures cool off in fall, the heat will have to be generated from within the compost pile. That means active management of the pile on your part. Turn the pile weekly to mix the browns and the greens, and to move the colder outer layers to the warmer interior of the pile. Keep the pile moist but not wet. With these steps you can have usable compost by spring. If it sounds like more work than you've bargained for, be patient. The leaves will compost if left alone. It just takes longer.


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