General Discussion:

Composting Sunflower Seed shells?

Messages posted to thread:

Nancy08-Mar-04 12:59 PM EST 5   
Pata10-Mar-04 08:17 AM EST 3   
Nancy10-Mar-04 02:52 PM EST 5   
Ann10-Mar-04 04:37 PM EST 5b   
Nancy12-Mar-04 02:23 PM EST 5   
PatA13-Mar-04 07:44 PM EST 3   

Subject: Composting Sunflower Seed Shells?
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 08-Mar-04 12:59 PM EST

With the snow almost all gone now, the lawn under my feeders is about an inch thick with empty sunflower seed shells, mixed with lots and lots of squirrel/rabbit dung.

Can I rake this all up and toss in the composter? I've heard that sunflower seed shells will inhibit growth, but I'd hate to pass up on all the free manure.

Subject: RE: Composting Sunflower Seed shells?
From: Pata
Zone: 3
Date: 10-Mar-04 08:17 AM EST

I'd pass up on the free manure. Sunflower shells and most parts of the plant are phytotoxic or a real problem for other plants. That's why your lawn will die out beneath a feeder. Other parts of the plant will compost down and lose toxicity in a couple of months but the shells persist for a long period sometimes several years. Next year place a tarp under your feeder and every now and then lift it to remove excess seeds to the garbage. or another alternative is to use sunflower meats(no shell). The animals/birds love this and you have no mess. Bonus the meats are not toxic to plants!

Subject: RE: Composting Sunflower Seed shells?
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 10-Mar-04 02:52 PM EST

Thanks for the advice. I've been feeding the birds for years, but this is the first time I've had such a population explosion of the furry type of clientele. In the past I've found that if I get the shells raked up fairly early in the spring, then the lawn recovers pretty well. With the volume I go through each year, the cost of the de-shelled variety is somewhat prohibitive.

Subject: RE: Composting Sunflower Seed shells?
From: Ann
Zone: 5b
Date: 10-Mar-04 04:37 PM EST

Are you in Ontario Nancy? We too have had an invasion of bunnies, we usually have a few snowshoe hares but this year we had a lot of rabbits and they have nipped off a lot of my shrub tops. I heard recently this is due to the Coyote population being hunted out....see, we shouldn't mess with the balance !!!

Subject: RE: Composting Sunflower Seed shells?
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 12-Mar-04 02:23 PM EST

Hi Ann,

I'm 30 minutes east of Toronto, just north of Ajax.

The rabbit have been just amazing this year, haven't they. We're blaming it mostly on the loss of 3 neighbourhood cats that were pretty good hunters. The coyote population seems to be pretty healthy in our area, judging from the howls we hear at night, but the local dogs have been keeping them away from the houses. The brush piles I've been leaving have probably contributed to the bunny welcome mat as well.

The little beggers (I'll be polite) have so far eaten my yuccas down to the crowns, all the bark off my purple smoke bush, all the leaves and buds of 3 rhododendrons, a small pagoda dogwood and (get this) the bottom 2 feet of branches off the bottom of a 12 foot columner juniper. Last year they virtually cleaned me out of crocuses, half my tulips and all of my beans. Think I'll be investing in a case of Critter Ridder this year! .....Or get a dog.

Subject: RE: Composting Sunflower Seed shells?
From: PatA
Zone: 3
Date: 13-Mar-04 07:44 PM EST

Nancy try SKOOT or PLANT SKYD for all you woody trees and shrubs. The trick is to do it early enough in the fall so they don't sample and know it's good to eat because come this time of year taste vile or not they will eat anything they remeber as edible. Unfortunately tulips, crocus and lots of soft early spring growing perennials can't be sprayed with the stuff so it's a bunny feast. I'll put my bets on a big old tom barn cat for the pest control atleast they don't bark all night like the dogs.Ha ha Good luck!

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