Find Posts By Topic

FAQ: How can I speed up my yard waste composting process?

Yard CompostA: The secret to faster yard waste composting is to maintain your pile’s moisture level.

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and keep your soil healthy! Adding organic matter to your soil helps balance pH levels (finished yard waste compost is neutral which helps improve our naturally acidic NW soil) and provides plants with nutrients. Below are some tips for successful yard composting.

First, keep in mind that it takes 6 to 12 months for most yard waste to change to compost. If your pile seems to be taking longer to turn to finished compost, it might have too little or too much moisture.

If your compost pile looks wet or has a bad odor:

  • Turn the pile, add dry stalks or leaves, and remove food waste.

If your compost pile is too dry:

  • Turn the pile and add water. Your pile should be as moist as a sponge—damp but not dripping. Put your pile in a shady location and cover with a lid or a scrap of carpet to hold moisture.

Second, you can add “greens” like grass, plants, fresh weeds, and flowers to your pile to encourage faster composting.

For more information about yard composting click here and check out this helpful Q&A for answers to questions like composting fireplace ash and diseased plants (spoiler alert: do not compost either of those things). You can also call the experts at the Garden Hotline (206) 633-0224 or email them at

Thinking about food waste composting instead? Click here.