Benefits of Using Compost

Compost is best known for its soil enrichment value.

The addition of compost improves the physical, chemical and biological properties of soils and potting mixes. The use of compost for plant growth purposes requires consideration of factors such as the crop or plant to be grown, type of soil at the site, and specific compost characteristics. Mature, properly produced compost has also been gaining recognition for its ability to bind contaminants from polluted water and soil, control erosion, and degrade toxic chemicals. Between increased research on the benefits of compost as a growth media and interest in its use in bioremediation, the future for compost markets is promising.

Examples of the benefits of compost use:

Benefits of compost as a growing media are included in the table below.

Decreases bulk density,
reduces compaction,
allows better root
Slowly releases nutrientsIncreases microbial activity in soil, releasing nutrients from organic matter
Improves soil structure
and increases water
holding capacity
Reduces fertilizer needs
Darkens soil and increases
heat absorption
Good source of micronutrientsIncreases plant survival rate and growth
Improves drought
Increases cation exchange
capacity which enables soil to hold nutrients more strongly and resist leaching
Strengthens plant resistance to parasites; Can reduce soil borne plant diseases
Reduces soil erosionBuffers soil pHProduces higher crop yields; Plants develop thicker and more active root systems in a short period of time

Yale University Sustainability:

USDA Climate Smart Hubs: Compost Amendments (Farms)

Compost Impacts More Than You Think (Posters)

A User’s Guide to Compost:

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