Applying compost as a topsoil

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by CJ's Mowing Service, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. CJ's Mowing Service

    CJ's Mowing Service LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 261

    Considering doing this for my personal lawn, but it is popular in my area, so considering for business. I want to add compost to my lawn for the nutrients. The way it’s done here, people make small piles and basically fling it to cover the lawns. My yard is a 1/2 acre, about 18,500 square feet of grass. How much product would I use/need?
     
  2. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 7,071

    If your topdressing a 1/4 inch layer is good. Which equals to about 1200sqft per yard of compost.
     
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  3. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,838

    Depending on what turf grass youve got I might be concerned with the heat produced by the decomp of the compost.
     
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  4. redmax fan

    redmax fan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,993

    has anybody ever flung straw all over a lawn then mowed it a bunch of times then left it . then week after week double / triple cut it until its broke down into the soil ?
     
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  5. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 7,071

    Never heard this as an issue in any part of the USA or Canada. Compost topdressing is pretty standard service in "Organic" programs.
     
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  6. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,838

    Had sod farm, when I asked them, tell me most zoysia cultivars are sensitive to the heat produced by decomp. I used to use a combo of leafmulch and promix (compost + sand) as soil amendments before this info made me second guess... And I stopped. That's what I told them I used and they said I'd be much better served with adding screened top soil maybe plus a little red sand rather than compost... For that reason. Heat of decomposition. I've never done a Riggle study on it though. Maybe he has? Seriously wondering.
     
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  7. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 7,071

    Maybe if you got a hot batch of unfinished compost I can see some burning. Properly finished compost not an issue.
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    CJ's Mowing Service

    CJ's Mowing Service LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 261


    St Augustine
     
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  9. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,930

    The high moisture retention is not good for Zoysia either. Worst Large Patch I had ever seen was on a lawn core aerated then topped with compost.
     
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  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,327

    I have not tested this.
    I think the heat of decomposition-- requires nearly an airtight situation. Heat can probably build up in the center of a deep compost pile. Steam rises when 20 foot high compost piles are turned in the winter.
    I would not expect heat build up where air could circulate. I do not think heat would build up if the compost were less than 12 inches thick.

    Heat damage from high soil temps and tightly rolled sod--that is a different matter. Bad news when it happens.
     
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