Monday, February 2, 2009

Lansdscape - Compost Use Recommendations for Landscape Planting Beds

Compost is a very good soil amendment and mineral nutrient source for landscape planting beds - especially where annual displays or perennials are being grown. The following are some recommendations for use:


• Application Rate: Apply a 1 to 3 inch layer of compost (1 to 2 inches is common) prior to planting.
• Application: You can apply the compost by hand or in larger beds using mechanical equipment such as a compost topdresser. You may also use a blower system.
• Incorporation: It is important to till or spade in the compost to a 6-8 inch depth to incorporate into the planting bed. You can add any additional fertilizer at this time, but most commonly with compost you will need no additional nutrients, at least for the first year. You should add lime if needed during the incorporation. Remember that many composts have a near neutral pH so you may need to reduce lime amounts accordingly. Some composts have higher mineral nutrient salt content so full incorporation is necessary to dilute out these salts.
• Finishing the Planting Bed: Smooth the area with rake or or drag.
• Planting: you may plant immediately and then water plants in.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County

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