After reading a wonderful article in Lawn & Landscape Magazine about the value of soil amendments, I decided to spread the word.
We as landscape professionals tend to do and not teach. Although constantly educating ourselves through articles, books and seminars, we don’t pass that information along to our customers as much as we should.
Many years ago we began using leaf compost for the following:
- To amend beds where perennials, groundcovers or annuals were to be planted
- Topdressing lawns before core aerating and/or overseeding
- Topdressing of perennial and/or groundcover beds
These practices made notable differences in our customer’s landscapes overall heath. For those customers with struggling lawns or lawns with a considerable amount of shade, we have found that performing core aeration, overseeding and topdressing with compost annually makes a huge difference in a lawn’s appearance. Introducing that organic matter greatly improves turf root health.
At Virginia Tech University they are doing some very interesting testing comparing plots of turf. One is treated only with synthetic fertilizers and lime, and the other is also amended with compost. In the short term, the plot treated with simply synthetics thrived. Over time however, it began to decline and the one treated with compost greatly surpassed it in quality and health.
In terms of perennials, annuals and groundcovers, they are tender in nature and our frigid Chicago winters and clay soils take a toll. Utilizing compost as an amendment and topdressing those beds annually helps break up soils, introduces more nutrients, and gives those plants a happier medium to grow in.