Is It Better to Bury Brush or Burn It?

After you’ve spent the day clearing brush and dead branches around your premises, you need to understand what to do with the waste. Many communities prohibit open burning because it pollutes the atmosphere and can result in wildfires. Burying it’s a good deal of work, could involve leasing expensive equipment and might even be illegal, depending upon where you live. Many cities have plans to collect, mulch and compost garden waste, along with food scraps, and in a number of areas that the programs are required.

It is the Law

In a bid to decrease air pollution, many cities and towns have outlawed any open burning of trash or yard waste. Burning leaves, branches, paper, cardboard or brush creates airborne contaminants, like particulates, composed of ashes and small carbon particles and gases, like carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hexachlorobenzene. Before you burn, carefully check the laws in your town.

Risky Business

It’s possible to soften brush, but it is not recommended. It’s a good deal of work and you run the risk of spreading nonnative, invasive species whenever they’re found in your brush pile. To bury garden waste, you would need to dig a trench large enough to bury the stuff three or more feet deep. Cover the bottom of the pit with plastic and place the chopped-up plant materials to the hole. Cover with another layer of plastic and then fill the trench with dirt. It’s important to make the pit as airtight as possible to avoid the plants from invading. There’s not any reason to soften brush once a recycling and composting program will collect it.

Mandatory Composting

Many places have mandatory composting programs that require you to place food scraps, yard waste and other natural materials in bins provided for that purpose. The waste is picked up with other recyclables. The materials are mailed to composting centers where they’re shredded, composted and made accessible to residents for use in their yards.

Let It Rot

In case you’ve got the space, then you can build your own compost pile. Start with a layer of thick brush over the underside along with alternate “brown” and “green” layers on top — carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich yard wastes, respectively. The brush creates air spaces so that oxygen can get into the pile. This allows the contents of this stack to heat up to break down the plant matter and eliminate weed seeds. You might also stick sections horizontally to your stack to add more air space and permit water to infiltrate the mix.

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