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when to spread compost over yard

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by cpt87gn, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. FYS777

    FYS777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,305

    i am starting to move into top-dressing lawns more every year, it is like a miracle drug for lawns. like some have said fall or spring.
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Compost has many minerals, and organic compounds, that are soluble and thus mobile in the soil. The benefits of these can be seen within a couple weeks.

    The insoluble compounds make their way down in the soil via a diversity of mechanisms, or should I say organisms...

    Plus a 1/4" topdressing puts down a TON more plant available NPK and micros than the save the planet peeps like to admit....
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    JD, you are a very smart guy and know better
    I need to give you a call next week, you know well they are not in the same forms, not even in the same galaxy
  4. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    A finished compost is one that you literally walk up to & grab a random handful, put up to your nostrils & suck into your lungs, and no longer be able to differentiate between potential components like manure, leaves, wood chips. (Obviously, these components shouldn't be seen in any way, either! )

    Essentially, a good finished compost should smell sweet! :)
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720



    I'm all for compost whenever & wherever compost makes sense and cost-efficient for the customer, believe me.
    But you say what you're saying here, you're sort of throwing a curve ball.

    Finished compost & processed high protein meals share some things in common. They both provide X amount of protein for soil microbes to feed off of for an indeterminate period of time depending upon the rate of application and other factors, including climate factors & porosity of soil.
    Generally, the overall release of "NPK & micros" from either one of these two sources hinge upon the appetites of the little creatures down below.
    If for some reason they ain't hungry, it ain't gonna 'green up' very fast!
    On the other hand, when microbes do gain their appetites back (meaning that, all environmental factors are properly in-sync as well), then the property owner can begin to look forward to that sustained, long-lasting green without nerve-racking top-growth, that only comes from the repeated use of organic materials!!

    I think you may be getting that extra long release period confused with extra nutients.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is very well stated. Being in sync with the weather and soil temp are the main ingredients of its effectiveness, IMO.
    The grass and the microbes grow at the same pace. Too cold for microbes, too cold for turf. When the grass is growing it is calling for microbes to give it what it needs at the pace that it needs it. Normal healthy grass, growing at a normal healthy pace. :)

    It's a whole different concept, than force feeding NPK, as if we are harvesting forage.
  7. GreenerGrassMan

    GreenerGrassMan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Has anyone used coffee grounds in their compost? How beneficial or detrimental are they to keeping a lawn green?
  8. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    A neighbor of mine has a small coffee shop and gives us buckets & buckets of grounds.
    They're loaded with nutrients but extremely acidic.

    If the soil in your lawn & garden is generally alkaline (high pH), go for it.
    Compost them well to get rid of any junky additives.
    If the soil's acid already, I'd probably steer clear of it unless you have acid lovers in the landscape like azelea, rhododendron, boxwood, dogwood, magnolia, & most evergreens, etc.
    Then you could compost it in a separate small bin or barrel for exclusive use only around them.

    BTW....welcome to Lawnsite!
  9. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    Okay - we all agree that compost is good (my favorite is horse manure, but that's another story). My concern is that compost may "smother" the turf cuz it doesn't decompose quickly (like grass clippings). You mentioned aeration & power seeding (ways to "incorporate it into the soil profile" like I thought was best). That's what I was getting at. Lastly was "topdressing": All goff courses I know aerate first before topdressing with organic matter & sand -- thus incorporating it into the soil profile where the roots feed.

    I still say spreading compost on top of turfgrass can smother lawns, and I have never seen any natural method that incorporates compost into the soil profile where the grass ROOTS are. Far as I know, the "roots" absorb nutrients unless you're talkin' foliar sprays.

    Am I all wet here or what?

    p.s. phasthound sells a wide variety of organic products, and he's a swell guy. We buy stuff from him too. :usflag:

  10. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Red wigglers LOVE coffee grounds, among other things. If you have access to a large supply, think about starting a worm bin.

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