Considering skim coat of Mushroom Compost

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by cross1933, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    In September I reseeded my yard, I am now considering a skim cost of mushroom compost. Is it too late this year, if so what would be the best time next year to put the skim coat down?
  2. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Why do you want to do this? And don't say it's just because of the nice name on the bag: 'Mushroom Compost'! What is your general soil make up over there? (clay vs. sand vs. silt)
    If you're set in your plans- Is your lawn relatively flat?
    Because if it's not, after a rain, that stuff will float off of your yard and down the hill and into the street like suds off a stein of Moosehead at a Buffalo Bills game in December! :drinkup:
    And what kind of soil isalready in the areas that you're thinking of doing this? If you have a lot of heavy clay soils there (like around here), you'll find that they'll have trouble 'bonding' with each other in general, mushroom compost being so 'lightweight' as it is.
    You may want to consider a very thorough soil aeration, going multiple directions over the lawn (with the lawn being moist enough to aerate of course) before you try to do any type of topdressing like this if any of these things I type ring true to you.
  3. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    I like the name on the Bag!:laugh:

    The original soil was a clay sand mixture, the builder took the soil from the home foundation dig and spread it across the yard without adding any topsoil.

    When I reseeded the yard there was a area that did not get any new top soil, the area was broken up with a roto tiller. After about two weeks nothing had grown in this area. I went to Menards and purchased some Mushroom Compost in bags, reseeded and fertilized and added a skim coat of compost. In about a week this area started filling in with grass. The are was a darker green and better germination than the rest of the yard. I tried this is some other problematic areas of the yard with similar results. Does the compost have added benefit to existing grass when applied?Is the benefit from the compost worth the cost labor( I will be doing the work)?

    First order of business in the spring is to apply a weed control.
  4. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    In western PA most of the button mushrooms were grown with manure so you get a little green up from the N

    Any time you have the ability to add organic matter after aerating, that is more beneficial than top dressing (skim coat), but adding it is always better than not.
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I remember you!
    Matt, right?
    You sent 'B4 and after' pictures over to me earlier this fall.

    Well, I'm not going to argue with what success you've had thus far with your compost. I just have a couple things I wonder about:
    1) When are you going to stop messing around in your yard for this year and relax! :laugh: , and
    2) I remember your lawn size from your pics. It's flat. If you're buying bagged product and spreading it around you're probably getting a real crappy price on it! (pun intended). Why don't you look up somebody who can sell you some STERILIZED BULK COMPOST and bring it out and dump it for you? Or better yet, have them scoop it in your pickup and save delivery $$. But beware working with horse stables! There's usually nothing sterile about the manure that comes out of them, and you'll have more exotic weeds next year than you could imagine if you mess with them, unless they have a legit sterilization process that they use.

    Otherwise, I say go for it. And is it worth the labor cost that you put in to it?
    Just like the aeration workout you had, just call it a needed cardiovascular workout at the end of the day! It'll make you feel better about yourself. :waving:
  6. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    Close on the name,Mark.

    You must be thinking of someone else, my yards slope is steep. This was another reason for my re seed of the backyard. I did not have the opportunity to aerate my yard, the builders grass produced little and started dying. After all the top soil that I added this year I think I will wait until the fall of 2009 to aerate.I will have the front aerated next year, that was sodded in 2006.

    Here are some before reseeding pictures of my backyard,

    Here are some pictures of my backyard after the reseed,
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Sorry, I do remember you, but somehow got you mixed up with a Hoosier with a similar thread !

    You did a very fine job making a lawn out of the Mojave desert, I'd say!
    And despite the slope you have, I feel that the existing turf that you have established should be MORE THAN adequate to 'lock and hold' the compost from moving downhill from erosion movement, should you still want to take that project on. Of course, just be careful not to smother what you've accomplished by putting on it too thick! I'd recommend that you give the lawn a relatively low cut, with sharp blades, before you top dress. That'll help you not have to 'fight' through the grass so much as you smooth it out, and will help you see what you're doing better.
  8. cross1933

    cross1933 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    What is the best time of year, spring or fall?
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    When things were still growing, like earlier this fall, I would have suggested that you wait until now, or next spring. Now that things have slowed down dramatically and we're headed into dormancy, I think you could do this now without any problem.
    The reason that you wouldn't want to spread compost onto still actively growing turf just before a period of dormancy is that you could artificially extend the season's fall 'growth spurt'. A flush of growth like this would most likely cause a lot of 'tip burn' in the dormant season from the lawn trying to 'turn back on' when it's not supposed to.
  10. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    the best time of the year is almost always fall but circumtances dictate when.

    Fall is definitely the best time for core aeration and over seeding, but you can do it in the spring. When seeding in the spring, if there is a harsh summer you can get a lot of loss because the roots aren't well established.

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