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Wood content in compost...?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Exact Rototilling, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    In commercially available compost....for lawn topdressing how much wood chip or wood content is optimal?

    This also begs the question for leaf clean ups. Why not just continually mulch mow at least some of the leaf debris into the turf?

    Seems pretty silly for clients to want grass clippings hauled off or aeration plugs raked up but would welcome wood content if they want top dressing...?

    I still see an alarming amount of clippings bagging in my area along with scalp mowing. :rolleyes:

    Still my question is...is it not better to have little to NO WOOD PRODUCT in a lawn topdressing compost?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    IMO,,, compost is just broken down OM,,, no matter what it is made of... Compost means that you can't tell what the original products were, becuz it is broken down beyond recognition...
    Most compost I'm aware of comes from branches, twigs and leaves... I can still see some inch long twigs in mine but they are fragile and the cooking is done so it hasn't been a problem...

    I absolutely agree with you that the cultural habits of lawn care have devolved into counterproductive chaos in the minds of so many traditions... stripping OM and hauling it away is one of the most obvious, yet one of the most deeply entrenched...
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    BTW,,, I don't think it matters if it comes from wood, leaves or grass clippings as long as it is broken down completely...
    I could be wrong... :)
  4. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    I do not think it is better to have 'little to no wood content' in your compost. Broken down wood mulch is a rich compost IMO. What seems to be important is the carbon:nitrogen ratio. I plan to use 35-40 yards of compost soon to topdress a football field as part of an overseeding project. It will be made from leaves (50%) and horse manure combined with sawdust (50% total, not sure about each component).

    Last week I did a lot of reading of old threads here on LS while trying to fine tune my topdressing plan. There is a lot of good information about composts in this thread.

    I agree with mulching leaves in grass. In my own yard, which is 1.2 acres with a woods along and behind its longest edge I have not raked or picked up a leaf in 21 years. Sometimes when I start the leaves are more than a foot deep across the entire back yard, 18" in some corners. In fact, I sometimes blow them out of the first few feet of the woods into my grass and mulch everything in. I do that so that a wind from the west does not load up my yard again 30 minutes after I finish. My rationale is that very leaf I destroy (mulch with mower) is one that is not coming back.
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,362

    Slight topic drift...is in uncomposted saw dust good or bad for lawns...?

    Also I contacted EKO to try to track down their lawn top dressing formula in bulk. Also would like to demo their lawn compost specific product in the small bags.

    I'm trying to track down any reasonably priced premium bagged compost for spot repairs in my local area.
    Zip 83814/83854
  6. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 826

    On your sawdust comment, I can add my experience. During the winter time, I do a lot of woodworking projects and I typically blow the sawdust onto my lawn on the right side of the driveway when I clean up. The turf on that side of my driveway is the best stand of turf on my property in the summer time when the bermuda is out of dormancy. I'd imagine that the sawdust does have time to break down during the dormant season.

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