Compost Use Instructions

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For Trees & Shrubs

Establishment: Excavate a planting hole slightly shallower and 2 to 3
times the width of the root ball or container. Set the root ball on firm soil
so that the top of the root ball sits slightly higher than the final grade.
Uniformly blend compost with the excavated soil at one (1) part by volume compost to 2-3 parts by volume soil. Compost with higher amounts of salts and nutrients should be used at lower rates (e.g. 1:3 or 1:4 parts compost to soil). Backfill and firm the soil blend around the root ball within the planting hole. Always water thoroughly after planting. It should be noted that whenever possible, trees and shrubs should be planted in a mass planting bed, where multiple plants are established in a larger amended bed. This technique allows for greater planting success.

Lower compost application rates should be used for salt sensitive crops (e.g., conifers), or where composts possessing higher salt and nutrient levels are used, while higher application rates may be used for plants that require greater amounts of fertility.

Maintenance: Apply a coarser compost mulch (1” – 2” screened) over the garden bed to conserve moisture, for weed suppression and/or for aesthetic purposes.  Note: The nutrients contained in compost should be considered when applying fertilization. They will typically offset plant nutrient requirements, thereby potentially reducing fertilizer application rates.

For Flower & Vegetable Gardens

Establishment: Compost should be uniformly applied over the entire area at an average depth of 1-2 inches and then incorporated to a depth of 6-8 inches using a rotary tiller or other similar equipment. Higher application rates of compost may be used if the compost is incorporated to a greater depth. Rake the soil surface smooth prior to seeding or planting. The soil surface should be free of large clods, roots, stones, and other material that will interfere with planting. The amended area should be watered thoroughly after planting.

Lower compost application rates may be necessary for salt sensitive crops (e.g., strawberries), or where composts possessing higher salt and nutrient levels are used, while higher application rates may be used for plants that require greater amounts of fertility (e.g., tomatoes).

Maintenance: Apply a coarser compost mulch (1” – 2” screened) over the garden bed to conserve moisture, for weed suppression and/or for aesthetic purposes. Note: The nutrients contained in compost should be considered when applying fertilization. They will typically offset plant nutrient requirements, thereby potentially reducing fertilizer application rates.

For Lawns

Establishment: Compost should be uniformly applied over the entire area at an average depth of 1-2 inches and then incorporated to a depth of 6-8 inches using a rotary tiller or other similar equipment. Higher application rates of compost may be used if the compost is incorporated to a greater depth. Rake the soil surface smooth prior to seeding, planting or sodding. Always seed, plant or sod during the recommended period of time in your region. The soil surface should be free of large clods, roots, stones, and other material that will interfere with planting and maintenance. The amended area should be watered thoroughly after seeding, sodding or planting.

Maintenance: Annual topdressing with a finer grade compost (1/4” – 3/8” screened) is a good maintenance practice on both cool and warm season lawns. This can be done before or after core aeration to reduce compaction and improve moisture holding capacity. Drag or rake compost into the aeration holes. Cool season lawns can be compost topdressed in the early spring or fall. It’s best to apply compost to warm season lawns in the spring just prior to the active growing season. The area should be watered thoroughly after any seeding. Note: The nutrients contained in compost should be considered when applying fertilization. They will typically offset plant nutrient requirements, thereby potentially reducing fertilizer application rates.