01 June 2012

Garden resource not garden waste

Recently we pruned our eucalypt to allow a bit more winter sun into the front courtyard. We remain hopeful that vegies will grow this winter. A little less tree also means a little more winter sun through the window onto our loungeroom floor, one of Eva's favourite play areas.


We missed the Council's bulk green waste collection by about two weeks. Initially we looked at the pile of pruned tree and saw a waste problem - how could we get rid of it? Options included adding it to our general rubbish bin over several weeks, or borrowing a trailer and paying $40 to take it to the nearest Council green waste receiving depot.

Then we did a re-think: what if this was not a waste problem, but a resource boon? Potentially we had a whole lot of timber suitable, once dry, for stoking up my sister's wood-fired pizza oven. Potentially we had a whole lot of weed-retardant eucalyptus mulch.

We borrowed a garden shredder from a friend and turned our garden waste into two excellent garden resources. I confess my contribution to this project was ideas, and Tyson's contribution was the hours of manual labour to saw and shred the eucalyptus off-cuts.

Initial Time: About 4 hours. However, either cutting it small enough to get into our household rubbish bin or taking it to the Council depot would have also involved an hour or so of work.

Initial Cost: Zero (we did consider hiring a shredder/ mulcher but remembered our friend's one before we checked the price on that)

Ongoing time or cost commitment: zero

Impact: A couple of cubic metres of 'green waste' that has not gone into landfill. Either the Council bulk pick-up or their depot drop-off would, I understand, have also turned our green material into garden products, but we wouldn't have got the benefits of this resource.

At least one or two pizza nights at my sister's catered for on the wood front. A free supply of mulch for a portion of our front courtyard.

Again the more important impact was really on our thinking: shifting us from seeing a pile of rubbish to a potential resource.


  1. I love turning prunings into mulch. Sadly, the electric mulchers I've borrowed from neighbours and family aren't anything like as effective as the petrol one I've helped use down on the farm. Hardly surprising, but still a reality when it regularly clogs up on certain leaves or viny branches or whatnot. I reckon you've hit a winner tho - tree branches would be good.

  2. Hi Clare, I work for the Conservation Council of WA and we'd love to feature you as a guest blogger, or at least re-post some of the great work you've done here. Send me a message at editor@ccwa.org.au


  3. Hi Clare
    Although it will take several months, eucalyptus trees do provide great 'mulch' for your garden and if you have natives they will thank you for it. Leave it until summer and it should be ready to spread. We have no end of supplies of the stuff!