By ____________________ (Board President’s Name Here)
President, _________________ Board/Association of REALTORS
Summertime’s warm weather and sunshine bring another season of mowing and maintaining your lawn. The ____________________(Name of Board/Association here) would like to share some tips on the use of grass and other yard clippings as a source of nutrients for gardening and landscaping around your home.
“Mowing, bagging and disposing of lawn clippings have been a recurring cycle for years in this community and our landfills cannot continue to absorb the waste,” says _____________ (Name of Board President here), president of the ____________________ (Name of Board/Association here).
During the summer, yard waste can amount to 50 percent or more of residential trash. Recycling yard clippings are good for both your lawn and the environment. Creating a compost pile is an ideal way to recycle your lawn wastes, while simultaneously providing a source of nutrients for gardening and landscaping. Anything growing in your yard is potential compost material.
Ideally you should begin your compost pile in late spring for use in the fall and in the fall for use in the spring. However, it’s never too late to begin the process.
To begin, remove any grass and sod cover from the area where you plan to construct a compost pile. Create a bin to enclose the compost. Prefabricated snow fencing, woven wire, wood pallets or bricks can serve as inexpensive compost bins. Be sure to allow for easy access through the top or sides for turning the compost.
For best results, the ___________________ (Name of Board/Association here) recommends the following recipe:
1st layer: 3 to 4 inches of chopped brush or other coarse material.
2nd layer: 6 to 8 inches of leaves, grass clippings, sawdust, etc. Materials should be “sponge
damp.” You may want to sprinkle sulphur over the heap to increase its acidity.
3rd layer: 1 inch of soil (to speed up the process).
4th layer: 2 to 3 inches of manure or a handful of commercial fertilizer to provide the nitrogen
needed. Add water if the manure is dry.
5th layer: Repeat steps 1-4 until the bin is almost full. Top off heap with a 4 to 6 inch layer of straw and scoop out a “basin” at the top to catch the rain.
A properly made heap will reach a temperature of 140 to 160 degrees in four to five days. At this time, you’ll notice a settling, a good sign that your heap is working properly. After five to six weeks, fork the material into a pile, turning the outside of the old heap into the center of the new pile. Add water if necessary. It shouldn’t be necessary to turn your heap a second time. The compost should be ready to use within three to four months.
Compost is ready when it is dark brown, crumbly and earthy smelling. For best results when using, turn your soil, apply 1 to 3 inches layers of compost and work in well.
Fertilizing your garden and lawn with compost can improve the overall landscape and beauty of your home. Additionally, it can save landfill space, reduce your water usage and the need to purchase soil conditioners and trash bags. That’s good for your and good for the environment.
You can find out more about caring for your lawn and about composts by contacting your local nursery.