Over the next few posts, we will share a report on composting yard waste. This report was written back in October 1997 by C.R. Wilson is a Colorado State University Extension horticulture agent, Denver County; and J.R. Feucht was an Extension landscape plant specialist and professor (retired), horticulture. They revised this report in April 2004 and all this information remains true today.
- Composting yard waste recycles nutrients back into the yard and saves landfill space.
- Composting reduces yard waste volume by 50 to 75 percent.
- Compost made with manure is questionable for use in food Gardens due to newer strains of bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses.
- The microorganisms that break down plant wastes require favorable temperatures, moisture and oxygen.
- Compost can be used as a soil amendment and a mulch.
All yards produce waste from pruning, lawn mowing and other routine plant care activities. Composting is a way to reduce the volume of organic wastes and return them to the soil to benefit growing plants.
Organic matter improves the drainage and aeration of clay soil. Compost can be thought of as a separator that "shoulders apart" tightly packed clay particles to allow water and air to enter. Composting helps sandy soil hold water and nutrients. Compost holds moisture "like a sponge" and releases fertilizer nutrients slowly. It also increases the activity of earthworms and other natural soil organisms that are beneficial to plant growth. Note: Compost is a soil amendment, not a fertilizer. It contains limited plant nutrients.