They say that a dog is a man’s best friend… but I believe that good quality compost is the gardener’s best friend! It’s organic magic! That fine, brown, crumbly, dirt-like substance is teeming with micro-organisms and bacteria. They breathe life into the soil and nourish the food chain from the bottom up. And as greater numbers of Australians recognize the need for organic lawn care, top-dressing our turf with compost is becoming more popular. After all, it’s our responsibility to provide a clean, green and environmentally safe place for ourselves and our children.
You might tend to think of your compost heap as a convenient place to dump potato peelings, grass clippings, and dead leaves. Indeed, it is, but for your garden, it’s much more than that. That decomposed, organic matter is an amazing and totally natural fertilizer. It is easily absorbed boosting the quality of the soil and adding millions of healthy micro-nutrients, fungi, and insects to your lawn.
Good quality compost for use in the domestic garden can be either made at home or bought from your local garden supply store. It is typically made up of two parts. Dry material (leaves, bark etc.) to one part wet material (e.g. green grass clippings). Other things that are beneficial to the compost pile are straw, kitchen scraps, animal manure, fish gurry, twigs and even crushed seashells! The decomposing process may take anywhere between 3 or 4 months and one year to complete. This will depend on the type of composting system used.
It’s very important that your rotting compost pile has plenty of fresh air. It should remain moist but not wet, and be turned periodically. ‘Cooking’ compost reaches very high temperatures, which are necessary to kill off weeds and harmful bacteria and produce that garden ‘superfood’.
For the average sized home lawn, a top-dressing of compost can easily be applied using a shovel and a rake. ‘Throw’ the compost out onto the lawn with your shovel, aiming to achieve an all-over thickness of about 1/4” or so. Use your rake to smooth it out and blend it in better. It might look a bit average today but believe me after a few days that compost will hardly be noticeable on your lawn.
There are no set rules around how often you should apply compost to your turf. It depends largely on the quality of your soil and the condition of your lawn. A healthy lawn should only need a topdressing of compost twice each year to maintain beautiful, lush grass and nutrient-rich soil.
The team at River’s Edge Turf love healthy grass. And we love maintaining lawns the natural way. For more information on organic lawn care, call us today on (02) 4579 9009 and chat with one of our staff.