Compost vs Compost tea, and store bought compost question

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by ChiTownAmateur, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    My limited understanding is that compost tea is derived directly from compost and contains most of the nutrients and other benefits of the compost itself. It can then be sprayed onto the site and the nutrients go into the soil.

    What then is the difference between applying compost itself vs the tea?

    Is store bought mushroom compost typically a quality product with some or most of the benefits of a "home made" compost or tea?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The Tea is more about maintaining the microbes, moreso than the nutrients... Microbes are important in turning organic matter into NOH4 fo plants, along with other nutrients in the OM in the turf... Then when the food is gone, their dead bodies provide nutrients as well...

    Mushroom fertilizer doesn't seem to popular, but can't remember why exactly... :)
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,584

    Smallaxe is correct, compost tea is used to inoculate soil and foliage with beneficial microbes. Good sight for home & commercial brewers
    Mushroom compost may be high in salt content, usually best to stay away from store bought compost.
  4. ParadiseLS

    ParadiseLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    compost vs. tea.....
    teh difference is OM. when you're applying compost, you're making a direct adjustment to the soil structure by adding organic matter; improving the habitat for microbes, turf, plants and trees. when you're spraying tea, you're indirectly, over a sustained period of time, probably going to improve soil structure as the microbes do there work, but that is really not what CT is doing. if you're spraying the CT and the soil structure sucks, those microbes aren't going to do their best work, and it is more of a treatment like fertilizers where the benefits will be realized in shorter periods of time.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    As was discussed in the soil structure thread, in relation to 'real thatch', it was noted that compost could indeed increase thatch, by enticing roots to continue to grow above the soil... Whereas CT would begin the decomp process more effectively to diminsih the 'real thatch' problem... that is a big difference right there... :)
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,584

    The applications of compost and activated compost tea need not be either/or, they enhance each other when properly used as part of a program.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    You lost me Axe. I don't believe anyone noted that, in fact the opposite was noted.

    Perhaps or not. If you are applying compost with a similar microbial population density at an applied CT, there is no meaningful difference at all other than ease of application. If this is the case (similar population densities), then the compost should achieve better results as one would expect the efficacy to be higher in a compost application vs. a CT application given you are providing protection for your microbes.
  8. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    DING DING DING we have a winner, with some caveats

    Most of the more successful landscapers that have been doing organic turf for a while use extracts or Liquid compost extracts (LCE) it has a shelf life of weeks instead of hours and supplies many of the attributes of straight compost but is easier to apply, the microbes are in dormant and spore form just like when they were in the compost, when the environment is right for them they go do their thing. extracts take minutes or hours to make instead of days. with some of the more expensive machines you can make 3000 gallons in a morning.
    Some folks like myself in my backyard will simply throw worm poop or a good finished compost into a 5 gallon bucket and stir with a stick, the next day after stirring whenever I happen to go by i will dilute 4 or 5 to 1 and water the garden and plants with it, it ain't rocket science. It works for me
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    :laugh: You're a funny guy... :laugh:
  10. ParadiseLS

    ParadiseLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    I honestly believe it better if there were separate threads dealing with external issues. lawn mowing techniques, irrigation, slopes, kids, pets, etc. let's just get all of that stuff out of the way and then when there is a discussion about compost, meals, or whatever else that are internal issues to our treatment programs, we can make simply and concisely state our opinions and put an asterisk at the end "*refer to xyz thread for maintenance issues effecting your lawn care program"

    but then i am a lifelong student of economics, so maybe i am the only one who likes to cut things down to the nitty gritty with basic assumptions.....

    when you make a batch of, say, 250 G, and siphon off 25 G a day over the course of two weeks for application, what are your numbers of the microarthropods going to be after 3 days? 7 days? 10-14 days? will nematodes, ciliates, amoebae, flagellates stick it out that long? i know that if you go to buy nematodes for the lawn at the garden centre, they are sold in bottles that are stored in a fridge and they warn you to store in a fridge until the day of application.

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