The fertilizing value of street sweepings


Material Information

The fertilizing value of street sweepings
Series Title:
Bulletin / U. S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Chemistry ;
Physical Description:
19 p. : ; 23 cm.
Ewell, Ervin Edgar, 1867-1904
United States -- Division of Chemistry
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Fertilizers   ( lcsh )
Manures   ( lcsh )
Salvage (Waste, etc.)   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
by Ervin E. Ewell.
General Note:
Includes tables.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 029684645
oclc - 27282429
lccn - agr09001091
lcc - S584 .A3 no.55
System ID:

Full Text


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Washington, D. C., June 21, 1897.
SIm: I have the honor to submit for your inspection and approval the accompanying manuscript of the report of the investigation of the fertilizing value of street sweepings, which you authorized to be undertaken by this division on May 26, 1897. It is believed that the information resulting from this investigation will be of assistance to city officials who are seeking to extend the use of street sweepings in agriculture, and also be of benefit to farmers and gardeners to whom such materials may be available. I recommend that this report be published as a bulletin of this division, and that it be circulated as an aid in improving the methods employed fQr the collection of street sweepings and in extending their use for the maintenance of the productiveness of American farms and gardens.
Respectfully, ERVIN E. EWELL,
Acting Chief of division.


Data in regard to the quantity and methods of disposition of street sweepings in the United States------------------------------------------------.... 7
Circumstances which determine the fertilizing value of street sweepings..... 9 Analyses of street and alley sweepings----------------------------------... 10
Field tests of the fertilizingr value of street sweepings----------------------.. 12
Extracts from letters from farmers and gardeners who have used street
sweepings for the fertilization of field and garden crops---------------- 12
Further cooperation with the division in the study of the fertiliziug value of street sweepings invited--------------------------------------------..... 17
Money value of street sweepings---------------------------------------.... 17
Miscellaneous waste products-----------------------------------------.... 18



In accordauce with all authorization of the Secretarv of Arrviculttirc dated May 26, 1897, the DIvisiou of Cheini trv sent circular lettei-s ()f it)(luiry to the of.cials ill charge of street-cleatihirr (tel)artine-fits ill the 354 cities and toNviis of the United States havMg 10,000 or inore ilihabitauts. More or le.,-s coniplete data iii, rell",ird to the disposal ot, the street sweepings of 201 cities and town-i were thus obtaille(I. E S t I mates ol' the ininflier of tons of sweepims collected aiintiAly if) I of' these cities Avel-C received. lit cotnpiIiii(,,,- the data ill regard to (Iisposltloll the inetho(l.- of di:, po- A have becii divided into three clas ;Cs 'Utilization for fertilization, utilization foi- filliiir low laiid, awl dunip';i1l,"r wherever most colivellicilt Without qiiy rcrriird to the possible value of the materials.
lit the fil-St CIISS 111-0 illCILIdCd 111 cities which Ileceed ill disposing
soniv portion of' their street s\j-eepijj(,-s t'(_)I, I(Irl iCtljttiral ptirpwsel- IIIL*111(1ill w1lich, oilly a N-eiy sill,,111 pel-Celltil(re ()f tile totill .,ijll()Illlt of is ;() us( d. The secolld class illclude-s; 111
ill which no "Ittellipt is Ilia(le to till-n to account the fertill/in', vallw (0, tile Inateriall but ill which SoIlle PAI't Of' the Illaterial is Ils(A 1,01 filling ill low 1,111d, for r ,,Clailllltig nuinsh Luid, etc. Tile thinI class HwhnI(-s those cities where the Illaterial is, (111111ped in streanis or Whei, water or on 1,111d, without ally systi2illatic attellipt at t&II/miml.


A summary of the data obtained is presented in the following table,
in which the figures for population are taken from the reports of the
Eleventh Census:

Data in regard to the amotiunt of street sweepings collected in the cities of the United States, and the methods in use for their disposition.

Cities reportingi Total for
Use of Use of Cities all cities
st reet steet No sys- which fur- to which
sweep s e tern of Total. nished no inquirings for inwePr utiliza- report. ies were
for iliza filling. tion. sent.

Data in regard to methods of disposition.
Number of cities having10,000 to 14,999 inhabitants ....... 15 21 32 71 67 138
15,000 to 24,999 inhabitants ....... 17 20 19 50 36 92
25,000 to 49,999 inhabitants ...... 13 16 5 34 32 66
50,000 to 99,999inhabitants ....... 10 4 8 22 8 30
100,000 or more .................... 5 10 6 21 7 28
Total number of cities...... 60 74 70 204 150 354

Per cent of total number of cities to
which inquiries were sent.......... 16.95 20.90 19.77 57.62 42.38 100
Urban population represented:
Number of inhabitants...........2,949,569 5,157,764 3,887, 182 11, 994, 515 5,44 2,882 17,437,-97
Per cent of total population of the
354cities................. ...... 16.92 29.58 22.29 68;.79 31.21 100
Average population of the cities of
the different groups ................. 49,160 69, 700 53, 531 58, 796 36, 28 49,25
Data in regard to the quantity of street
sweepings collected annually.
Number of cities reporting tonnage,
divided according to method of disposition:
Number of cities having10,000 to 14,999inhabitants... 7 0 8 21 117 138
15,000 to 24,909 inhabit.ant... 11 7 4 22 70 2
25,000 to 49,999 inhabitants... 6 9 1 16 50 66
50,000 to 9,999 inhabitantss. 4 3 2 9 21 30
100,000 or more ............... 3 0 4 13 15
Totalnumber of cities ..... 31 31 19 81 273 354
Per cent of the total number of cities
to which inquiries were sent........ 8.76 8.70 5.36 22.88 77.12 100
Urban population represented:
iNumber of inhabitants........... 1,672,750 3,459, 028 1,173,542 6, 305, 320 11, 132, 077 17, 4X7, 397
Per cent of the total population
of the 3~1 cities .................. 9.59 19.84 6.73 36.16 63. 84 100
Average population of the cities of
theditrent groups................ 53, 9060 111,581 61, 765 77, 843 40,777 49, 258
Total number of tona collected annually..................-........... 174,931 673, 791 210,235 1,064, 957 .................
Number of tons collected annually, I
per 1,000 inhabitants ..........10. .8 18.3 18. .......10...1. 191.8 18.3 1 8.9

From an examination of these data it appears that 68.79 per cent of
the people in the United States living in urban communities having
10,000 or more inhliabitants were represented in the reports in regard to
the disposal of street sweepings, while no reports were received from
cities rel)resenlting 31.21 per cent of our urban population. Of the 354
cities to whom Itnquiries were sent 57.62 per cent reported methods of
disposition, showing that among tile cities reporting there was a preponderanice of those above the average size. This is also apparent

from the figures given in the table for the average population of the cities in the different groups.
By the reports received it is shown that the cities containing 16.92 per cent of our urban population make more or less effort to utilize the fertilizing value of their sweepings. If the same proportion prevails in the case of the cities from which no reports were received this figure should be increased to 24.6 per cent. In general terms it may be stated that the cities representing one-fourth of the urban population of the country make an effort to utilize the fertilizing value of some portion of their street sweepings.
The data reported in regard to the quantity of street sweepings collected annually were still less complete than the data in regard to methods of disposition; only 36.16 per cent of our urban population was represented in the reports in regard to the quantity of street sweepings collected annually. For the cities reporting, the average quantity collected annually is 1-68.9 tons per 1,000 inhabitants. Assuming this to be a true average for all of the cities of the United States, the total quantity of street sweepings annually collected may be estimated at not far from 3,000,000 tons.
The data contained in the reports relating to the cost of street cleaning in the various cities of the country were not sufficiently complete and satisfactory to justify their tabulation. In many cities the amount of money used for this purpo-se can not be separated from amounts used for other purposes. In other cases mere estimates were given for the cost per ton. The dearth of records of this sort in many cities renders the compiling of data impossible, and in many other cases it is extremely difficult to obtain complete statistical data without sending an agent to each city. While this would be very expensive in connection with an investigation of this kind, it might be very economically and satisfactorily done in connection with our regular census enumeration. It was necessary to send a second request to many of the cities before some of the data which we have presented were obtained. As appears from the table nearly one third of the cities did not respond to either inquiry.

The fertilizing value of street sweepings varies greatly with the nature of the pavements, being practically nothing in the case of material taken from macadamized roads, and approaching that of good stable manure in the case of that collected on the h'mnd-swept and wellpaved streets of crowded cities. The regulations in diffrent cities governing the nature of substances which may be thrown into the alleys and streets, and thus find their way into the material collected by the sweepers, vary so greatly that there is consequently a corresponding difference in the cost of sorting aml preparing the matesinal


for spreading on the land. It is believed that the rapidly increasing sentiment in favor of the careful separation and systematic utilization of all forms of city wastes will tend to remove this difficulty and thus increase the value of sweepings, particularly of those collected in alleys, where the percentage of miscellaneous rubbish is now often very great.
In autumn the quantity and, in many cases, the quality of the street cleaner's product is greatly increased by the falling leaves.


The range of composition of the sweepings collected by various
methods on well-paved streets and alleys at different seasons of the year is quite well exhibited in the following table of analyses of typical samples of sweepings collected on the streets of Washington, 1). C. The analyses were made in the laboratory of this Division; the nitrogen determinations, by Mr. T. C. Trescot; the potash determinations, by Mr. George E. Patrick; and the determinations of moisture, ash, and phosphoric acid, by Mr. C. C. Moore. The determination of the phosphoric acid and potash contained in the organic part of street sweepings, without including that contained in the soil which is mixed with them, is not a simple problem. For the determination of phosphoric acid the method of the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists was used the solution being prepared according to method A2 (see p. 12 of Bulletin 46 of this Division); for the potash determinations the official method was followed, with the exception of the omission of the sulphuric acid used in burning off the organic matter; the official Kjeldahl method was used for the determination of nitrogen.

Analyses of street and alley sweepings, etc., collected in Washington, D. C.
(Analytical data are stated in percentages of the original material in its moist condition.)

Dates on '
Serialwhich 0 *
Isan ples Description of samples.
o. were c t
taken. <

1898. P. et. IP. et. P. ct 1. Ct. P. t. 1P. ta.
17014 Feb. 8 Sweeping collected by hand on Pennsylvaniia avenueII (asphalt pavement) and sold to a Virginia farmer for 25 cents per 2-horse load. The sample was taken from a pile which had lain on the dump at Twenty-first and B streets SW. for not
more than 2 days .......................... ...... ...... 0.3 ...... ......
17015 Feb. 8 Machine llectedl sweeping, which were practically all leaves, taken front the strOets in various parts of the city in the autumn of 1897. The sample was taken from the undecayed, dry leaves on the sturface of a pile on the dump at Twenty-first and B strcts SW. The analysis was n:mo
of the air-dry material ............... ...... ..... ...... ... 1.18 ..........
17010 Feb. 8 The ane as No. 17015, except bIt the sample was taken from the wet, interior, decayed
part of the pile ........................ ..... ...... 32 ...... .....
17010 Feb. 11 Street sweepings taken from stoneblock pIavem&n1lt on Foirteenth strce t, btwee i i and C streets SW. First cleaning after the nmelting of the snow. Street was very
dirty ............... .............. ...... ...... ...... .27 ...... .....

Analyse of street and alley sweepings, etc., collected in Washington, D. C.-Continued.

Dates on 0. T
Sra which t 0
samples Description of samples.
N.-4 .4 ;4
were 4
taken. 4 1 4

1 P. et. P. ct. P. Ct. P. ct. P. Ct. P. ct.
17020 Feb. 11 Street sweepings taken from asphalt pavement on B street SW., between Thirteenand-a-half and Fourteenth streets SW.
First cleaning after the melting of the
snow. Street was very dirty ..... ......... ...... . .25 ............
17034 Feb. 23 Taken from stone-block pavement on B
street NW., between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets NW., where snow, taken from other parts of the city, had been
dumped and allowed to melt.................... ............ .17 ............
17214 May 13 Street sweepings from the dump at Fifteenth and C streets SW. The sample was a composite one, made from several
piles, which were 6 to 8 months old........ 45.7 38.0 16.3 .39 0.08 0.09
17215 May :3 Street sweepings from the dump at Fifteenth and C streets SW. The sample was taken from a pile which was largely composed of leaves, which had lain on the
dump for 6 to 8 months ................... 37.5 49.3 13.2 .25 .01 .09
17210 May 13 Street sweepings from the dump at Fifteenth and C streets SW. The sample was taken from a pile which was mostly manure, and which had lain on the dump
for 6 to 8 months.......................... 28.7 56.8 14.5 .32 .08 .11
17218 May 14 Machine-collected sweepings, taken from the dump at Twenty-first and B streets SW. The material had lain on the dump but a few days. It contained a very large
proportion of sand ........................ 6.2 76.4 17.4 .32 .04 .18
17219 May 14 The same as No. 17218, except that the material appeared to consist principally of
manure................................... 16.4 48.1 35.5 .73 .16 .31
17220 May 14 Fresh, hand-swept sweepings (from asphalt"
pavement) taken from the dump at Twenty-tirst and B streets SW. The material was largely composed of manure .... 39.5 31.6 28.9 .55 .10 .37 17221 May 14 Material from "sewer drops," taken from thedumpatTwenty-firstandBstreetsSW. 40.5 36.2 23.3 .56 .08 .16
17222 May 14 Of the same origin as No. 17221, but the material had a decidedly different appear.ance (nearly all sand)..................... 29.5 54.0 16.5 .31 .10 .08
17223 May 14 Alley sweepings, 3 to 4 weeks old, taken at the dump at Half street SE., between N and O streets. A large percentage of coarse rubbish was separated front the
samplebefore it was prepared for analysis.. 10.4 660.6 17.0 .47 .02 .12 17224 May 14 Decayed street sweepings, taken from the face of the blud' at the dump at Twenty.
fourth and N streets INW. A composite earmple made up of portions taken from
several parts of the dump ............... 36.6 49. 6 13.8 .41 .08 .13
17225 May 14 The same as No. 17224, except t hat the sampie was taken from a single place, which
appeared to be especially ich ............ 30.0 59.7 10.2 .39 .06 .17
17226 May 14 The same as No. 17220. except that the material had lain on the dump for 2 to 4
weeks ..................................... 52.3 18.0 29.7 .65 .10 .50
17227 May 14 A sample of fish refuse, taken from thedump atHalfstrcetSE.,betweenNandustrets.. 28.1 18.6 53:. 3 9. 15 6. 79 .05

There seems to be a dearth of recent literature on the subject of the
fertilizing value of street sweepings. J. II. Vogel published two short
papers' on this subject, in which he included an analysis of sweepings

IMitteilungen der deutschen Laudwirtschafts-Gesellschaft, 1802, 7, 89-K), and
Deutsche laudwirtschaftliche Presse, 1892, 19, 10563; Experinment Station Record, 4.
222 and 518.


taken from the asphalt-paved streets of Berlin. This material had the
following composition:
Per cent.
M oisture ................................................................... 39.89
Ash ....................................................................... 37.67
Organic matter ............................................................ 22.44
Total nitrogen ........................................................... .479
Ammoniacal nitrogen ...................................................... 004
Total phosphoric acid (P205) ............................................... .452
Potash (K20) -------------.................--------------------------------------------............................................. .370
Lie (GaO)---------------------------1.891
Lime (CaO) ............................................................... 1.891
Magnesia ........................................................ ........ 347
A sample representing the accumulation for four weeks of the sweepings from one of the streets of Trenton, N. J., was analyzed in the laboratory of the Agricultural Experiment Station of that State, with the following results:1
Per cent.
Nitrogen .................................................................... 0.18
Phosphoric acid (P2Os) .................................. ......... ............ .30
Potash (K20) ................................................................ 19
The station valued this material at 90 cents per ton.


We have endeavored to supplement the analytical data just presented with the results of practical tests made by farmers to determine the value of street sweepings as a source of plant food for field and garden crops, and as a source of the humus which is so necessary to a good mechanical condition of many soils. Inquiries sent to farmers and gardeners, whose addresses were furnished by the officials in charge of the street-cleaning departments in various parts of the country, brought a number of letters containing much information on the subject, and, as the following quotations will show, convincing evidence that wellselected and judiciously used street sweepings possess considerable manurial value. The letters describe some of the more successful methods in use for the treatment of street sweepings and for applying them to the soil. It will be noted that of sixteen letters only four report unfavorable results.

ATLANTA, GA., September 7, 18.97.
have used street sweepings from Atlanta on my little farm with very good results. I find a ton of these sweepings equal to about half ton of housed stable manure of about two-thirds cow and one-third horse manure, provided the sweepings are gathered in the spring, fall, and winter months from cleau pavements. The sweepings gathered in the hot summer months, taken from hot pavements with a hot sun, lose their fertile qualities in a great degree. As to garbage and sewage, I never used any as fertilizer, except when small quantities of garbage would get mixed with the

SIReport of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station for 1895, page 92; Experiment Station Record, 8, 877.


sweepings. I have used the sweepings for three years, for corn, oats, wheat, rye, and potatoes, broadcasting about twenty tons to the acre on semiclay and sandy lands. My lands have been greatly improved, more than doubling their yield. On a large proportion of my land I follow the wheat, rye, and oats with a second crop (of corn) the same season, without additional fertilizer. * The cost will approximate about 75 cents per ton. I have no trouble with tin cans, and not much with paper or other rubbish.

NEW hAVEN, CONN., September 7, 1S97.
Have used street sweepings, with fair results, as a fertilizer.

ATLANTA, GA., Siptember 8, 1897.
I have had experience only with street sweepings which comprise almost exclusively the droppings of horses on the streets of Atlanta paved with asphalt and Belgian blocks. I first used a half carload, or, in other words. twelve 2-horse wagon loads of street sweepings, on about an acre and a third (nine loads per acre), at my place near Marietta, 20 miles above this city. The remainder of the 5-acre tract, with this acre and a third, was planted in corn. In October I gathered four and a half 2-horse loads of corn-in other words, about 45 bushels on the acre and a third; and the other three and two-thirds acres only produced three and a half wagon loads-in other words, the very small yield of 35 bushels. It is fair to state, however, that the acre and a third had been pl:manted in pease the year before, whereas the three and two-thirds acres had been left in Bermuda grass, which had been its condition for some years. There was nothing more than a general lesson taught by that experience.
Last fall, however, I broadcast the street sweepings at the rate of about thirty or more 2-horse wagon loads to the acre and planted the land in winter grazing oats. On a portion of the same tract immediately adjoining this I placed no street sweepings at all, although I had pease planted on the land last year. When I thrashed my oats, early in June, the tract upon which the street sweepings had been broadcast produced within a slight fraction of 50 bushels per acre, whereas on that which had no street sweepings I produced only 7 bushels per acre-an overwhelming proof of the value of street sweepings as a fertilizer.
I also have a lot of corn this year, fertilized with street sweepings, which has been described by a number of competent witnesses as the finest upland corn they have ever seen. It is proper, however, to say that, in addition to broadcasting 50 or more loads of street sweepings per acre on this corn land, I also last December plowed the land with a turning plow, which went down about 11 inchIes, and followed this with a scooter 6 inches broad as a subsoil plow, which went an average of 7 inches deeper, thus making the average depth of the plowing 18 inches. I believe that this very deep plowing helped the corn as much as any other factor by reason of the storing up of moisture during the winter, upon which the corn plant fed during the spring drought of forty-three days, within which period the corn of every neighbor I have turned yellow, while mine maintained a dark, green, healthy color.
I also fertilized a piece of ground liberally with street sweepings and planted it in sorghum millet, and have what is estimated a phenomenal yield.
Furthermore, I broadcast the street sweepings heavily, and after plowing in I broadcast pease, and have the statement of the State commissioner of agriculture, Col. It. T. Nesbitt, that it is the finest crop of peaso he has ever seen in Georgia. They are very thick, and will average 30 inches or more in height.
The fairest test, however, was that of the oats shown in the early part of this letter.
These materials cost me no more than 40 cents per ton.


I have had but little trouble with tin cans and other rubbish mixed with the material. Paper I regard as an advantage, because, like oak leaves, it serves to retain the moisture in the ground. I have never used garbage ashes or garbage tankage.
Jos. M. BROWN.

MIUNCIE, IND, September 10, 1897.
I have used the street scrapings from the paved streets of Muncie for two years. There are 47 squares, or about 15,000 feet (linear), of paved (sheet asphalt) streets, and we collected from 1 to 2 tons per day of scrapings. About one-half of the scrapings was scattered direct upon the land; the other dumped off in a large pile-it does not heat or fire-fang. Most of that scattered direct was upon an old timothy sod, thin clay land, and shows no decided results on the present crop of corn, owing to the extremely dry season. That portion that was dumped into a heap I found rotted much quicker and more thoroughly than stable manure with bedding in it. I have used the rotted sweepings upon clay ground for late cabbage and sweet corn, and upon black loam (no sand) for onions and melons. We put on a heavy coat (3 to 6 inches) before plowing, then thoroughly worked it through with a spring-tooth harrow.
The result was a rank growth of both cabbage and corn. Many a head of cabbage was as large as a half-bushel measure, but soft. None of the cabbage hardened up as it should. The corn did not ear well. For onions and melons it did better than for the other crops.
I used no other fertilizer.
The cost of the manure was the expense of keeping the team and wagons. The city paid for driver. Paper and anything that would rot we put on the ground. Tin cans, stones, brickbats, wire, and barrel staves were our worst nuisances, and were separated as loaded and unloaded.

SEDALIA, Mo., September 9, 1897.
I have had some experience in regard to the value of the various kinds of offal that accumulate anl have to be taken from cities. I have been in the business for about fourteen years, and own a small piece of ground about 4 miles from the city. Street sweepings I regard as worth nothing, from the fact that it is tramped and ground until it is lifeless before it is put upon the ground where it can be plowed under. It will do to fill holes or ditches, the same as straw, and that is all. The garbage from alleys is worth a great deal more, such as falls behind restaurants, hotels, saloons, stables; all are good fertilizers. Tin cans or old bone are good for orchards or grapevines or other fruits, such as berries. Dead animals, no matter what kind, should be buried just a few inches deep, so they do not dry up too quickly and give the earth a chance to absorb the fertilizing substances of the carcase. Horses, mules, cows, or any large animal should be cut in pieces and not placed in one pit. These are good for land that is not yet worn out. But if I wanted to redeem a piece of ground that is considered worn entirely out and make a garden of it, give me that which comes from cleaning privies. Cover the ground with the material and then subsoil it; then repeat the same next year. By the third year your ground will raise potatoes, onions, beets, radishes, beaus of any kind, tomatoes, corn, and such, as any huckster or farmer would wish to raise. It should be renimembered that subsoiling is one of the main things in all cases where fertilizers of this kind are used. The offal from chicken houses where chickens are dresed or from slaughterhouses is excellent, but the ground must be subsoiled.


BIDDEFORD, ME., September 29, 1897.
As to the fertilizing value of street sweepings, I have to say that I have used such materials but one season on old ground, with small results. Cost of material, that of hauling and applying, as the city has furnished same free to all who wish.

AnoiNOLs MILLS, R. I., Septembcr 1, 1397. I am at the Diamond Hill Reservoir farm of the Pawtucket Waterworks, consisting of about 500 acres of land. I have used street sweepings for four years and find them better than stable or horse manure, for the reason that they contain no straw and are ready for use at any time. The sweepings I get cost nothing except cartage from Pawtukect. When the city sells any the price is $2 per cord. I have used sweepings for corn and raised 90 bushels per acre. The first year I put on 8 cords to the acre, scattered broadcast and plowed in. The yield was 60 bushels per acre. The season was not a good one for corn. I have used sweepings for oats for fodder and obtained 4 tons per acre.
I use 20 cords a year for grass. The material should be plowed in, as it dries when spread on the surface. The yield of grass was 2 to 3 tons per acre. This manure is swept up with a hand broom, so there are no tin cans or rubbish in it. I do not use any other fertilizer besides the sweepings, and have no trouble in raising any crop I wish.

620 N STREET, SACRAMENTO, CAL., October 1, 1897. I am now putting on my land the sweepings of the asphalt streets of Sacramento, which gives me about three large 2-horse loads per day. The contractor dumps it in a certain place, and I give him $5 per month for it. There is no straw in it, very little paper, and no tin cans or rubbish, as another contractor picks up the rubbish, ashes, cans, straw, weeds, bottles, shoes, etc., and deposits them in another place. I have a good deal of faith in sweepings, as they seem to be in a proper condition for the roots to take hold of. I put the sweepings direct on the hop hills, without further pulverizing or working over. Some tell me I should compost then by working over and wetting them, as we have no sumnmer showers in this section, our rainy season beginning in October. As we have, off and on, four or five lmoths of rainy weather, and in January and February I begin to plow the hops, I thought it would get in good condition for plant use without working and vetting.
Our white labor costs about $1 a day and board. Japanese or Chinese, 80 or 90 cents, without board. I put 4 and 5 large shov\elfls to each hill, and after going over all the hills, ift' there is a surlplus, I shall puit ome between the hills. As this is my first year with the sweepings, I can not report any results.

FINDI.AY, Oi(010, Oct0be'r 3, I97.
Street sweepings cost ime 15 cents per load. I use them without preliminary treatment for garden crops, and consider them very valuable.
M. M. LOWN T. 1)

SAVANNAH, GA., Norember 9, I.'7.
Street sweepings, if put together and allowed to fermtent and ripen, form a capital top dressing for truck gardens, etc.
J. C. Lm. hARDY.


HIGHLAND PARK, PITTSBURG, PA., Norember 23, 1897. I have been using street sweepings in the park for a period of three years and I find it an excellent fertilizer. It has given good satisfaction so far as we have tried it. The soil in the park is of a clayey nature, and I get the best results from applying about 4 to 6 inches, owing to the quality of the soil, then cultivating, rolling, etc., before sowing the lawn seed. With the above treatment our lawns stand the drought, give a rich, green color, and are very pretty. I have not used the street dirt in connection with any crop other than the making of lawns. As to the cost, the hauling from the freight station is the only expense we have. It costs us about 50 cents per cubic yard.
As to the rubbish, there are some tin cans and other materials mixed through it, but it is a small percentage.

Box 463, PULLMAN, ILL., Xorember 29, 1897. I had some experience thirty-five years since in using street sweepings for a fertilizer from the city of New York, 35 miles distant, brought to the farm by sailboat, but found the material too bulky for the amount of fertilizing matter contained to pay for transportation and handling for use in growing vegetables and the ordinary farm crops and nursery stock.

MARSIIALSEA, PA., December 6, 1897.
We have used street sweepings for four years and find it a fine fertilizer. In fact, we use no other kind. We have one 22-acre field, high ground; this field was only a briar patch; would raise nothing. After giving it a coat of street sweepings it produced a fine crop of oats, 45 bushels per acre, and a very heavy crop of English clover. A part of this field was not fertilized with street sweepings. The part not bfeitilized produced two-thirds less than that part of the field fertilized. Cost of street sweepings, $6 per car freight, the street department of the city loading car and the insane labor at the farm unloading. We find some tin cans and other rubbish, but this is taken out when unloading car, at a trilling cost.

LYNCInURG, VA., Deccmbcr 13, 1897.
I have used street sweepings, and I think they are worth to a farmer about twothirds as nmuch as aIny stable or cow-pen manure where straw bedding is used. The cost of the same depends on how far they are to be hauled. I never investigated the cost, and Iused them in top dressing for grapes, which I think gave fine results.

NORFOLK, VA., December 18, 1897.
I have been using street sweepings for several years with much satisfaction and profit on spinach, cabbage comparee with letter from Mr. Hathaway, of Muncie, id., given abov.-E. E. E.], kale and potatoos. I haul the material on my farm near where I purpose using it, putting 300 or 400 loads in a heap. I then fork or shovel it over, separating the bricks, tin cans, paper, and other rubbish as thoroughly as I can (a coarse screen would be better). For spinach, I use it broadcast at the rate of 700 bushels per acre; for cabbage, I drill it at the rate of 500 bushels per acre, and ridge the lInd; for potatoes, I think it better to broadcast, as for spinach aund kale. I use from 2,500 to 3,500 carloads of 25 bushels each, and have


been using it for the last ten or twelve years. I use, in addition, about 1,000 carloads of stable manure, and as a rule 300 tons of commercial fertilizer. The street sweepings cost me 20 cents a carload at the dump. The effect on the land where street sweepings are used is much more lasting than where stable manure is used. On "gally" places, that will not grow crops, such a dressing as I have named makes them produce good crops.

PITTSBURG, PA., December 18, 1897.
We use street sweepings very largely in our parks and with excellent results. We get the sweepings and dump them in a pile, like a manure heap, 3 to 5 feet deep, driving over it with the wagons, then squaring it up, leaving it sagging a little on top to catch water. It is left in this way for at least a year, or maybe two years, turned once if we have time, and then used as a top dressing on lawns, say one-fourth inch thick, or to mix in with soil in breaking up land, when we use it 1 to 21 inches deep. It is powerful and quick in its action, and gives a capital growth of grass, and its effect is more lasting than that of artificial manures. To use it fresh is dangerous, that is, if a heavy dressing is given, and a thin dressing is of little use. To be of any practical benefit, it should be well rotted and well wetted, either by rain or artificial watering from the first; if stacked dry, it "burns." When well rotted, it forms a black mass of humus. We have 195 carloads of street sweepings in one pile now, all unloaded there this summer; while we were getting them we got in two to three carloads a d(lay. They were emptied and the dumpings piled close by the railroad in a big heap, too big for their good, but we had no time then to take care of them; we left that job till frosty weather, when we could haul them to a more convenient place. In unloading them we throw all big sticks, stones, tin cans, leather straps, iron scrap, etc., aside.


It is hoped that the information contained in the quotations from letters given above will serve as an inducement for the extension of the use of street sweepings for fertilization, and also aid in developingg the best methods for collecting, preparing, and applying the material to the soil. Correspondence is invited with persons interested in the subject, or with farmers or gardeners who have made careful experiments in the use of street sweepings or other forns of city wastes for purposes of fertilization. A knowledge of their methods and results will be of value to others, whether their experiments are successful or unsuccessful. Reports of exl)erimlents of this kind possess their maximum value only when the purchase price and cost of hauling, preparing, and applying the fertilizer to the land are stated; when a part of the land is left unfertilized and the crops on fertilized and unfertilized portions of the field are harvested and measured( separately; and when the net profit per acre in each case is accurately stated.


Without a knowledge of the results of a large number of carefully conducted experiments, it would be hard to determine from the results
4655-No. 55-2


of an analysis just what price per ton farmers can afford to pay for street sweepings in addition to the cost of hauling and spreading them on the land. Using the very conservative estimate of 10 cents per pound for the nitrogen, and disregarding the phosphoric acid and potash, the poorest sample analyzed, Serial No. 17034, would be worth 34 cents per ton; while the richest sample, Serial No. 17219, would be worth $1.46 per ton. Thie material has considerable value for many soils in addition to the value of the plant food it contains. Gardeners declare that it is very usefil for improving the mechanical condition of stiff and badly aerated soils. It would also improve the condition of very light soils which are deficient in moisture-holding capacity because of the low percentage of organic matter which they contain.
The nitrogen of street sweepings is not as readily available as the nitrogen of ordinary stable manure, because of the smaller proportion of urine contained in the sweepings. It is a well established fact that the nitrogen in the urine of animals is much more readily available than that contained in their solid excrement. It is, therefore, very difficult to make an estimate of the money value of street sweepings because of the great variation in their composition, which is dependent upon the nature of the pavements, the season of the year during which they are collected, the manner of collection, etc., and because many accurate field tests must be made before we can determine their exact value as a source of plant food. Sixteen cities reported the prices at which street sweepings are sold to farmers by their street-cleaning departments or contractors. These prices vary from 15 cents to $2 per ton. The city of Atlanta reports a contract for the sale of the sweepings of their streets for $60 per year and an arrangement which gives the street-cleaning department the advantage of a short haul. This seems to be an excellent arrangement t for both parties concorned, as the average quality of the entire product of a city for a whole year ought not to vary greatly from year to year. Moreover, the price can be adjusted equitably from year to year as the true value of the material becomes apparent.
The expense of hauling can be reduced in a measure by spreading the sweepings in thin layers on the dumping grounds and allowing then to dry out for a day or two before hauling them to the farm. The nitrogen of thie material is not of such a form that serious loss would result from this treatment unless it be continued for several days. Long exposure in thin layers during a rainy season would be certaiu to cause a considerable loss of the most valuable plant food, because that which is most easily leached out is the most readily available.


It may often happen that the "dumps" whence the farmer must take his supply of street sweepings, also contain other materials possessing considerable fertilizing value. Any waste animal or vegetable matter,


not contaminated with the germs of diseases of men or animals, may very properly be tested in regard to their value for this purpose. Several hundred pounds of fish refuse, of which the composition is shown in the table of analyses on page 11, were found on one of tihe dumpsp" in Washington, D. C. Its source could not be ascertained. Its fertilizing value, based on data used by the experiment stations for the valuation of fertilizers, would vary from $9 to $32 per ton, according to the degree of fineness of the ground material.


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