Oak leaves are famous for their slow decay time.  Although these leaves are tough they can be converted into wonderful compost.  They’ll compost just as fast as anything else if you give them a little extra attention.

The most important thing to do with oak leaves is to shred them.  You can shred them using a lawn mower, a chipper shredder, or a leaf blower/mulcher vac.  Shredding the leaves means that the bacteria and other creepy crawlies that turn the leaves into compost have an easier time digesting the tough leaves.  Now you don’t have to shred but if you don’t expect to wait a year, at minimum, before you get finished oak leaf compost.

The next thing you need is some juicy greens to add to your oak leaves.  The easiest and most convenient thing to use is your grass clippings.  If you don’t have grass you can substitute manure, kitchen waste, and anything that you weed from the garden.  When you add the greens to the browns (oak leaves) the mixture heats up and becomes compost quite fast.  Once your pile cools down re-mix it and let it heat up again.  Turning your compost pile is another way to get your compost make fast.

How often you choose to turn your pile depends on how much time and energy you have.  If you do it about once a week you can get finished compost in a couple of months.  The less often you turn it the slower the process is.  Some people can produce finished compost in as little as 3 weeks.  To do this you need a very specific ratio of greens and browns.  I’m not that scientific of particular about it so my compost takes a little longer especially when I toss large logs and sticks into the pile.

Oak leaf compost or mulch is a great and cheap way to enrich your soil.  You can a pile going all the time for compost and if you have some to spare use some for mulch.  You’ll spend much less at the store on mulch and compost if you make your own.