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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
do any lco's provide compost service for any of there customers? i for one do and charge 60 bucks a yard to put it down and spread it. i usually do this late september early october after i have aerated the lawn, i also tell the customers that it is a great time to overseed. i am curious how many of you guys do this, my customers love the results (green all winter with a quick green up in the spring) the smell is definately worth the results.
 

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top dressing the beds we only use mulch.

Compost we use for our plantings.

Our prices are relative to what you charge. More for the back. Less for quantity.


Some years back, we had an estate with horses. We had to get rid of the manure once a year in October. They paid me to take it away, they even had someone with a farm near bye that we took it to. I took most of it and sold it. Best damn stuff we ever used and was a great deal, get paid to take it, then sell it :D
 

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I don't but have some questions. What kind of compost do you use and how do you spread it? We do some lawns that the ground is like concrete. A one day workshop I took at Rutgers last winter suggested this to put organic matter in the soil. Is there a special spreader or can you use a rotary spreader? How big of a lawn can various spreaders be used on? Thanks for the help. Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
matt,

i go down to our local compost facility and pick up my compost which consists of all kinds of different matter, leaves, mulch and i couldnt even tell you the rest but i get a yard for like 8 bucks,

you can spread it using a couple of different methods which the facility will rent to you for a minimal fee,

1. is a walk behind spreader different from a regular fert. spreader becouse the compost will not go throu a reg drop spreader.

2. and this is what i use is a trailor that you can attach to your lawn tractor or z and it work like any other manure spreader beings it has a conveyer belt that is driven by the wheels. i usually put down anywhere from a quarter inch to half inch of compost and yes it does soften the ground a great deal not to mention your customers grass will stay relatively green all winter.

hope this helps ya
 

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Originally posted by GLAN
Some years back, we had an estate with horses. We had to get rid of the manure once a year in October. They paid me to take it away, they even had someone with a farm near bye that we took it to. I took most of it and sold it. Best damn stuff we ever used and was a great deal, get paid to take it, then sell it :D
same here. that manure will grow the most amazing annuals and perennials you have ever seen in this area.
 

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I try to use 1/2-3/4" of compost when I seed especially if the yard is being renovated. Results are top notch providing proper watering, A local materials provider also blows compost ansd seed sown on the larger jobs 8 CY or larger. Right now we shovel spread it once aerated and seeded. No fertilizer necessary. Looking at tow and self propelled top dressers this year from Turfco and Gearmore. So far both manufacturers representatives stink.
 

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I topdressed 18 tons of compost last year. Spread it on two big commercial accounts. It covered 195,000 sq ft.
They were rather poor lawns and I'd say it nearly doubled the number and size of grass plants.
I used this little spreader. I think it's half a cubic yard capacity.
This year I'd like to mix compost with river sand to help soften the soil a little. There's not much sand in the soil around here and it develops a crust on top.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Sky
 

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Originally posted by mikeshere89
matt,

i go down to our local compost facility and pick up my compost which consists of all kinds of different matter, leaves, mulch and i couldnt even tell you the rest but i get a yard for like 8 bucks,

Wow, they charge for that stuff. I guess I am lucky because the city has it available for free to whoever can shovel the most when the truck tips it. I have used this stuff for years and it is great, all the weed seeds have been cooked out so it makes a great base for seed as well as planting beds. There are no sticks stones leaves ect, it looks like black dirt but it is composted organic matter. 8 bucks a yard, mayby I'll load a semi up and come your way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
dave,

that is the exact same spreader i used last year worked out really well for me, i have about 15 contracts this year for compost and thats after i aerate, good money and its not that bad of a job with that spreader, dam the whole neighborhood is going to stink like ---- for awhile thou.
 

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Local egg producer here composts the chicken waste mixed with fine grind wood chips. Works well for gardens and beds. A little woody for turf as their regular mix, but they have a finer grade that they sell to golf courses.

links http://www.poultrycompost.com/default.asp

Chicken compost is a little higher in nutrient value and doesn't contain the salt content many dairy composts do.
 

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manure
Nitrogen (20-25:1) when rotted. Higher in nitrogen when fresh. Pig (5:1). Poultry (10:1). Horse (25:1). Cow (20:1) Other farm animals (14:1). Compost in pile. (Does not apply to cat, dog or bird feces.)
http://www.mastercomposter.com

I have always been told that there are a lot of grubs in horse manure. I guess that would be more of a problem in a garden than a yard that is treated for insects.
This is a good site for info on composting.
 

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Leadarrows, You quoted the Carbon:Nitrogen ratios. That doesn't show nutrient value. For someone who doesn't understand basic composting, that probably just confuses them.

But it is important in knowing the compost C/N ratio because a bad ratio compost will actually steal N from the soil to affect further composting of the material, rather than providing N for the plants. " I don't understand why those plants are turning yellow... I just added some compost last month.."

There might be a lot of 'things' in fresh horse manure, that's why it gets composted and the proper heat levels kills the 'things'.

That is also noteworthy when you are picking up FREE compost. If it has not been thoroughly and properly composted (temperature, C/N ratio, etc), you may well be spreading problems instead an solution. Seeds and pathogens can come back to haunt you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
now you guys are scaring me, i never had a problem and to be honest i havent asked what is all in the compost i get, maybe i should before i start applying to other customers lawns.
 

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Is there a walking spreader that spreads compost? I would love to push this with my customers, but I don't use rider mowers so the above trailer spreader wouldn't work for me. And I'm not interested in spreading by hand, too much work, too little time. Any other way to spread this stuff?

:D
 

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"Your compost killed my 100 year old tree!"

Whether it is was true or not (not too likely) that situation would still SUCK..... :cry:


Ask for an analysis sheet from them. They should have a certified lab test sheet. You might want one on record, just in case someone tries to make a claim against you. As well as being able to use for marketing/education purposes.

And also take note to see their inputs.

For example at my local county landfill they separate the yard waste. It gets ground, screened, and then is used for various purposes. Would I want to use it? No, because ANYONE can dump a load of greens into the "compost pile". Any load! Maybe a load of grass heavily laced with Roundup. Or maybe there is a container of chemical in the load of leaves that gets scooped out and gets crushed in the pile to spill its contents before it is screened out. Or there might be plastics in it, etc. There is no quality control on the inputs.

Whereas the egg farm is very consistent. It's chicken waste and the input is the same 365/24/7. An occasional dead chicken does meet the pile, but that increase the bone meal & feather meal. So the variance is positive not negative.

In other words, what level of control does your supplier have on the input?

And what is the consistency of the product. If the fall compost is mostly leaves, and the summer compost is mostly grass and branch clippings you will have different results. Not necessarily bad, but different.

The other side is-- compost is relatively neutral. It's not like pouring on liquid urea, so even if you get a bad batch it is not likely to do major damage. Although I am sure there are some 'good' stories out there.
 

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Hey Green, lots of good information that I never knew. Thanks for the input. I have been quite lucky with the compost that the city makes. I have used it in my yard for new grass as well as annual/perennial beds with great luck. I know that lots of things go into it but for the most part it seems that it is working out but your post will make me think.

As far as the chicken stuff goes, if I am not mistaken isn't that stuff you are talking about called Sustane and used as an organic fert?
 

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Sustane is a turkey waster compost. Pretty much the same deal. They are from the Mid-west like MN or somewhere there abouts I think... There are many local compost producers of various inputs. Another favorite of mine for a garden is mushroom compost.

For another organic idea, I know a gardener who puts mint mulch in his garden. Good fert and it repels ground insect. Mint mulch is the plant pulp left after the mill grinds the mint oil out. BTW there is a LOT of peppermint and spearmint grown around here...

Compost happens!
 

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Originally posted by Green in Idaho
"Your compost killed my 100 year old tree!"

Whether it is was true or not (not too likely) that situation would still SUCK..... :cry:
Compost can be contaminated by two different herbicides that persist through the digestion process both inside the animal and the composting process. The herbicides are picloram and clopyralid. A couple years ago this caused a huge stink in the Northwest as half or more of the giant compost manufacturers I(including universities) were found to be contaminated. Those two will kill the tree.

Is there a walking spreader that spreads compost? I would love to push this with my customers, but I don't use rider mowers so the above trailer spreader wouldn't work for me. And I'm not interested in spreading by hand, too much work, too little time. Any other way to spread this stuff?
There is another way to spread it. Find your favorite hydroseeder or hydromulcher, or if you can't find one of them, find someone who blows insulation. They can blow about 5 yards per hour. That will cover 5,000 square feet with 1/3 inch of compost. If you use more you risk smothering the grass. I could be mistaken but I believe the guys around here will do it for $60 per hour with a half hour minimum and that includes pick-up and delivery of the prepaid compost.

dam the whole neighborhood is going to stink like ---- for awhile thou
If your compost stinks, you don't have compost. Likely you have manure. Finished compost smells incredibly fresh and good. The going retail rate for excellent finished compost in my neighborhood is $32 per yard plus delivery.

Compost applied at a rate of one cubic yard per 1,000 square feet has a lot of nitrogen in it - at least in theory. The problem seems to be that that nitrogen is being used by the microbes in the compost. In the end, there is more benefit to getting those microbes into the soil than there is in the actual nitrogen. What this means is that the microbes have to be fed to do any good. Feeding microbes is what organic fertilizers are designed to do.
 

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The composting site my town has is rather fussy. They used to give materials to anybody who wanted them. Then they went to needed either notes from town residents, or residents with valid town addresses. Now it is town residents, or contractors who have to pay several hundreds of dollars per year to pick up limitted quantities of product for in town use only. I believe that if you are taking out, you are only allowed to use a pick-up and they will not load you.
 
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