Benefits & Application Tips

Benefits of Compost

High quality soils create successful farms, gardens, turf and landscape developments. Compost, a soil conditioner, is made up of highly organic matter and is used as mulch or to improve soil. Compost helps:

  • Increase your soil’s ability to absorb water
  • Improve your soil quality by feeding it nutrients, creating a habitat for grass and plants to thrive
  • Requires less watering (and no need for a costly irrigation system)
  • Reduces reliance on fertilizer (less fertilizer means fewer harmful chemicals running off into your storm sewer)
  • Holds nutrients in root zone
  • Controls weeds
  • Improve drainage and reduce erosion

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Want a Lush Lawn? 

Metro Waste Authority has partnered with local landscape companies committed to promoting compost lawn application.

According to, one study demonstrated in over five years, a natural (compost) turf program resulted in 25% savings when compared to a chemical one.

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How Much Do You Need?

It's easy to determine how much compost your project requires. Simply measure and multiply the length (feet), width (feet) and depth (inches), then divide the total by 324. Your answer is the total cubic yards your project requires.

Applications Tips

The U.S. Composting Council provides specific application steps for establishment and maintenance for Trees & Shrubs, Flowers & Vegetable Gardens and for Lawn projects. You can also follow these guidelines:

  • Flowers & Vegetable Gardens - Incorporate 1-2 inches of compost in the top 3-5 inches of soil a few weeks prior to planting. Reapply compost to soil every two years.
  • Turf Establishment - Incorporate 1-2 inches of compost with 3-5 inches of soil one week prior to planting or combine seed and compost and apply 1/2-inch mixture to surface of area being seeded.
  • Turf Maintenance - Aerate lawn thoroughly in spring and/or fall. Top dress with 1/4-inch of compost.
  • Weed Control - Spread a 1-2 inch layer along garden paths and around vegetables for weed control and moisture retention.
  • Mulch - Spread a 1-2 inch layer on perennial beds in the spring to add organic material and micronutrients.
  • With Potting Soil - Blend one part compost with one part sand and one part garden soil.
  • Around Trees & Shrubs - Dig a hole 2/3 the depth of the root ball and at least twice as wide. Mix one part compost with two parts soil from the planting hole. Place the tree or shrub in the planting soil and apply amended soil around the root ball.