Friday, January 30, 2009

Landscape and Turf - Compost Benefits

Composts is a great soil amendment because it improves soils resulting in better plant growth and performance. The following are some of the benefits of compost:

Compost Improves Soils Leading to Improved Plant Growth and Performance

Physical Soil Improvements
  • Builds soil structure
    + Improves pore space distribution
  • Improves moisture management
    + Improved water holding capacity
    + Improved drainage
  • Improves aeration
    + Improves root function by increasing aeration
  • Reduces bulk density
    + Reduced compaction, better rooting
Chemical soil improvements
  • Modifies and stabilizes pH
  • Increases cation exchange capacity (mineral nutrient holding capacity)
  • Complexes with mineral nutrients (natural chelation of micronutrients)
  • Supplies nutrients, slow release N source
  • Binds/degrades soil contaminants

Biological soil improvements

  • Supplies soil biota with food source, promotes growth of beneficial soil organisms (plant roots, soil animals, soil microbes)
  • Suppresses plant diseases

Gordon Johnson, Extension Agriculture Agent, UD, Kent County

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