How to Compost

Compost safely

Your compost ingredients

Empty your compost bin

To turn or not to turn?

How long to compost?

Worms & Wormeries

Topical Composting

Compost kitchen waste

Prickly prunings

Weeds and weeds

Too much grass

Leaves for Leafmould


Unwelcome Guests


Composting demonstrated


Originally used as a stock proof barrier while a live or quick hedge was growing up, a Dead Hedge can be a really useful way of disposing of awkward garden rubbish.

Make a Dead HedgeSome woody prunings can be hard to compost.

Large branches will take years to rot down.
Prickly gooseberry, rose or holly stems are painful to handle and you donít want prickly remains in your compost.
Large knarly root balls of dead plants compost very slowly.

Shredding smaller woody stems lets them break down in your compost bin at the same rate as softer material.
But ivy, clematis, honeysuckle and wisteria are so stringy that they wind round the blades of a shredder.

What to do with all these awkward customers?
Build a Dead Hedge Ė fill it with the prickly, the stringy and the large and leave it to quietly rot down over the years.

Choose a secluded part of the garden to construct your dead hedge, because while itís neat, it canít be described as pretty!
You can make it any size and shape that suits you: rectangular along a fence or behind a shed; triangular in a corner or an irregular shape for an awkward space.
For the upright poles you can use small tree trunks, about 7 or 8 cm diameter, or you can buy stobs (fence posts).

For a 2-metre hedge, knock 5 poles into the ground, in a line with 1/2m between each pole, and leave a 1/2m gap between this and a second line of poles.
Place the prickly prunings, over large branches and ivy in the gap, filling it up as the materials come to hand.
The upright poles will stop the problem material falling around and you can make a more elaborate Dead Hedge by weaving the stringy stems or willow branches between the upright posts to make an attractive windbreak or barrier to conceal any untidiness. This will keep all the material together, last longer and the nasties will be hidden between the woven walls.
A Dead Hedge is an organised heap!

A Dead Hedge makes a wonderful wildlife habitat.
Your Dead Hedge may be filled with dead material but it will soon be colonised by lots of life

Insects will shelter in the hedge and this will attract lots of birds, particularly wrens and dunnocks, who are the first to appreciate the shelter while dining on the insects.

As the material gradually rots down over the years, it provides a habitat for beetles and all the creatures that need soft, rotting wood for a home.
Because you never empty a Dead Hedge it is undisturbed, giving succour to your wild visitors and residents, while solving a waste disposal headache.
For more ideas on how to create wildlife habitats from garden waste see Composting for Wildlife

Other seasonal tips you might find useful:
Recycle your Christmas decorations and use them in the garden.
Composting in the snow
Warm up your compost in the spring
Using your compost - make the most of your composting efforts
Use your compost in spring
Making your own compost mixes
Dealing with the Autumn Clearing - shredding and more
Is your compost slimy and smelly? - solve the problem.
Restarting your home compost bin in the spring.
Making the most of your compost bin in summer.
Composting in autumn means dealing with heaps of leaves and piles of prunings
Winter Composting - What to do when your home compost bin is working too slowly
Solve the problem of a cold, stuck compost bin.
Make your own liquid feeds from comfrey and nettles
Composting lawn clippings that have been treated with herbicide
Composting in a Bag - how to get rid of kitchen waste and revive spent compost
How to compost sawdust, wood shavings and bark
Composting for Wildlife
If you produce too much to compost Minimise your garden waste
Take care when composting toxic plants

Composting problem?
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More information about recycling can be found on :
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IAlso try Zero Waste Scotland