How to Use Cedar for Compost


Cedar chips often are used as mulch at the base of plants where they slowly break down into the soil and nourish it over time. To speed cedar on its journey from wood to nutrient, it can be added to a compost pile. Like most plant material, cedar is an ideal source of the brown carbon that is essential for compost decomposition. Cedar alone should not make up the contents of a compost pile. Not only because cedar is naturally resistant to decomposition and takes a while to break down, but also because a compost pile needs equal amounts of green and brown material to make nutritious humus.

Step 1

Break cedar chips into the smallest pieces possible with a shredder to accelerate the decomposing process.

Step 2

Add cedar chips to an existing pile along with half the amount by volume of shredded green material, such as plants trimmings or vegan kitchen waste.

Step 3

Moisten the top layer of the compost pile with a garden hose.

Step 4

Turn the compost pile with a shovel to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

Step 5

Touch the compost pile in 24 hours to test its moisture level, which should feel like a wrung-out sponge. Add more moist green material or a 2 to 3 cups of water daily if it is to dry. Turn the pile after each addition until the moisture level is satisfactory. Add more dry material if the pile is too moist and turn after each application.

Step 6

Insert a compost thermometer into the center of the pile daily. Turn the pile when the internal temperature drops below roughly 130 degrees F, which usually is one week after the last time the compost pile was turned.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden soil
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Shredder
  • Green material
  • Brown material
  • Compost bin
  • Hose
  • Shovel


  • Demesne: Soil 101
  • "Times Record News": Let Cedar Chips Further Decay in Compost before Adding to Soil
  • Compost Council of Canada: At Home with Composting
Keywords: compost cedar, compost cedar chips, cedar humus

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.