How Compost Helps Your Garden Grow
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. For thousands of years, ecosystems have survived and thrived by self-producing compost from spent plant material. Our professional staff is trained to produce high-quality compost from your plant materials and yard trimmings. Compost contains essential nutrients and moisture that help plants grow by:
- improving the structure, drainage and water-holding capacity of soil
- encouraging deep-rooting
- helping to suppress plant disease, and
- reducing erosion
An application of compost to freshly-turned earth and last year's landscaping and flower beds in early spring infuses soil with nutrients and microbes that promote plant growth. According to a study by the U.S. Composting Council, existing soils around homes and commercial sites are typically of poor quality due to the practice of soil stripping before construction. The addition of compost improves the physical structure of the soil, which in turn, promotes root development and heightens a plant's resistance to stress. Compost also adds organic matter, beneficial microbes, and vital nutrients, all of which store and maintain soil fertility.
A summer gardener's greatest foes are drought and disease. Re-apply a layer
of mulch or compost to garden beds to ward off pests and reduce water consumption.
A report by the U.S. Composting Council notes that disease incidence on many plants
is influenced by the level and type of organic matter and microorganisms present in soils.
Research has shown that increased population of microorganisms found in compost may suppress
specific plant diseases such as pythium and fusarium as well as nematodes. The same report
also states that adding compost to untreated soil provides greater drought resistance and
more efficient water utilization - effectively reducing the frequency and intensity of
irrigation necessary to help plants survive and thrive under the hot summer sun.
Top dressing - long a secret of golf course grounds crews - is the process of
applying compost over the surface of a lawn. This annual application of
nutrient-rich organic material promotes healthy root structure by:
- infusing soil with beneficial microbes and essential minerals
- increasing soil aeration
- improving drought resistance, and
- lessening soil compaction.
For weekend lawn warriors looking to achieve country-club quality growth,
here's a step-by-step guide to top dressing this fall.
- Core aerate the lawn, concentrating on the most heavily trafficked sections.
- Apply a 1/2-inch layer of compost, using a top dressing unit or manurespreader.
- Smooth the surface using a rake or a weighted drag mat to break down thesoil plugs and backfill holes.
- Spread grass seed, lightly rake, and water - making sure all seeds arecovered with the soil/compost layer to guard against winter damage.
- Water as needed, keeping the soil moist until seeds germinate.
When winter's bitter chill sets in, consider creating a garden plan for next spring.
The "January Thaw" is perfect for pruning over grown shrubs and trees. Stop by
St. Louis Composting to dispose of yard trimmings and pick up a bag or two of
compost any time of year.