Compost, a mixture of decayed organic materials such as plant waste, manure, and food waste, is an often overlooked but highly valuable resource to be used to grow plants and trees of all types.
It’s easy to almost reflexively assume exotic, laboratory-designed, and created chemical mixes are “the way to go” when it comes to fertilizing and/or providing a nutritionally rich growing environment for everything ranging from grass to large trees. But old-fashioned compost – perhaps with some modern technological tweaks – is an excellent and effective alternative.
While most people have a vague idea as to what compost is, too many don’t fully understand its value, flexibility, or natural benefits.
Hansen’s Tree Service is a longtime advocate for the use of compost, so with the goal of increasing awareness of its value, we’ve compiled a list of the top seven things you need to know about compost:
- Compost restores the natural structure of the soil. The soil in much of the Midwest – and especially in the St. Louis area – is plagued by a great deal of clay. Clay is extremely dense, which prevents roots and root systems from growing at a normal pace and from developing fully. This inhibits the ability of young trees and other plants to develop widespread root systems that efficiently absorb moisture and nutrients. This slows the growth of plants greatly.
- Compost can counter the mineral-rich nature of clay soil. An important trait of clay in the soil is that clay is extremely rich and minerals and very low in organic matter, which contains the vital nutrients all plant life – including trees – needs to thrive and grow. Mixing compost with clay soil introduces valuable organic nutrients to the soil.
- Compost can help water reach the roots of your trees and plants. Soil that is heavy in clay does not absorb water well. Water does more than hydrate your flora; it also carries important nutrients to the root systems of plants. Compost mixed with high clay-content soil enables water to sink into the ground, delivering valuable nutrients to your trees and other plant life.
- Compost can establish a tree-friendly pH balance in soil (usually around 6.5). Compost loosens dense soil and improves the penetration of water through the soil. This can prevent soil from becoming too acidic or excessively alkaline. While many species of trees can live in soil that is either too acidic or too alkaline, most trees prefer a mid-range balance.
- Compost mimics the forest floor in nature. In forests, dead leaves, branches, animal droppings, dead animals, and other organic material fall to the ground. Over time, these forms of organic matter decay and work their way into the soil, eventually resulting in soil that is loamy, absorbs water well and resistant to mold and fungus.
- Compost can benefit trees, shrubs, plants of all types and lawns. Good soil that “breathes” and is structurally loamy helps virtually all living flora.
- Compost is especially helpful to young trees. A mixture of soil and compost not only includes important minerals, nutrients and organic compounds that are keys to growth in young trees, it also is “loose” enough to allow the developing root system of a sapling to easily penetrate soil and establish a strong, deep, wide and effective network. This in turn helps trees grow quickly and gives them stability. And for lawns, deep and dense root networks can fight invasive weeds.
Bringing Magic To Compost
At Hansen’s Tree Service, we place great value on the use of compost and have invested in developing new forms of compost that enhance its benefits to trees, shrubs, gardens and lawns. While our compost consists of decayed organic material, we go an extra step and expose our compost to high temperatures and a low oxygen environment, which combines to kill viruses and bacteria.
This product, which we call “the Magic Bean” can give your lawn, trees and other plants a valuable nutritional boost, one that’s especially desirable during the spring and summer growing seasons. The Magic Bean acts as a highly effective, natural fertilizer that can have an immediate impact on your lawn, garden, trees or shrubs.
We’re Ready To Help You!
The certified arborists of Hansen’s Tree Service have exceptional knowledge and experience in assessing the needs of your lawn, trees, shrubs and garden. They have years of experience, extensive training and a deep knowledge of the products and services you need to create a healthy environment for your trees and plants. We understand the creating natural beauty for your home or business is an investment, and we take every step to ensure that investment grows over time.
We’ll start by listening to you and understanding your objectives. Then we’ll assess the environment and make thoughtful, expert recommendations that we know will best meet your needs and objectives.