Anaerobic Compost

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Snapper12, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Snapper12

    Snapper12 LawnSite Senior Member
    from CE MO
    Posts: 259

    What are the effects of using anaerobic compost on turf and beds?

    Is there any information regarding health issues in humans using Anaerobic Compost.

    Can compost that has become anaerobic still be usable?

    Thank you!!
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    I pulled some anaerobic compost out of a pond and put it in a large pot and planted a bunch of carrots in it the first year and a broccoli in it the second year, w/out ever using any kind of fertilizer just to see what it would do...

    Unless yoour anaerobic compost come from a sewer, I wouldn't worry about it too much... composted leaves and twigs don't become monsters just because they breakdown in the water... :)
     
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    anaerobic compost is used allllll the time as fertilizer for crops. Don't let the aact hype about oxygen fool you. It is simply broken down by different organisms.
     
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    actually anaerobic compost (the same with putrefied material) has very little nutrient value, it is basically fluff it has been all used up and mostly gassed off.

    whether it has bad guys in it depends on the parent material and the environment it was in

    Just because people use it in ag doesn't mean it is a good choice or that they are doing themselves any favors, just making more work for themselves in my opinion

    a good finished compost should not have recognizable parent material in it and have an earthy smell, if it smells like ammonia or rotten eggs leave it, it should not be warm or hot either. finished compost is cool and earthy smelling
     
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    Our discussion abut 'Black Gold' a few years ago brought up the same issues. Once the black gold was out of the water and decomp continued or changed gears, whatever the stuff was 'earthy' smelling and like I stated, was fertile enough to grow 2 crops w/out extra fert...

    So whatever explanations there are, they must meet with reality... and remember, compost isn't very good fertilizer as far as NPK are concerned, but it is very valuable in soil fertility... :)
     
  6. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    What exactly has been 'gassed off'? What nutrient values specifically are lower than aerobic compost? Please expand as I surely do not believe this claim.
     
  7. Snapper12

    Snapper12 LawnSite Senior Member
    from CE MO
    Posts: 259

    ICT Bill, what is warm or hot compost? What temp are you talking about.
     
  8. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    JD give me a break, you and I both know the answer

    do you want me to site 50 different peer reviewed paper? probably not

    if you do not believe it then take 2 plants and put one in a pot with anaerobic and another with aerobic, send us the photos
    keep one aerobic and the other anaerobic
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    How do you keep soil/compost anaerobic, as you try to grow a plant in it?

    N can be volitized or gassed off, but wouldn't minerals that are part of the original plant material still be in the compost whether aerobic or anaeroobic?
     
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Yes Smallaxe, the gas losses besides carbon dioxide and methane (which have little to do with soil plant nutrition) include hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. No other nutrients are lost through gassing (leaching is another story, but that holds true for both types of compost).

    However, if using a pile with proper proportion of feedstock (C to N ratio) you don't have to worry about gassing off to much regardless if it is aerobic or anaerobic. And even if you do get the losses, they are relatively minimal.

    No other nutrients are lost! The claim that "[anaerobic compost] is basically fluff it has been all used up and mostly gassed off" is exaggerated. Only two plant nutrients are potentially lost as gas and this loss is minimal.

    Besides, you aren't applying compost for it's nutrient value anyway! You are applying it for its "fluffy", "nutrient sticky", and relatively stable organic compounds.

    Now, growing a plant in media that is anaerobic is a completely different story. Don't confuse the guy by combining the two issues please (anaerobic digestion in compost, and anaerobic soil conditions). If you are going to apply anaerobic compost it is best to let it dry then turn it. This will allow the phytotoxic gasses to escape. Once incorporated into your soil you do not really need to worry about it returning to anaerobic conditions.

    So again... YES use that compost! Just air it out before you do and you will be fine!
     

Share This Page