Use compost as mulch?

karenfharr(z9B/FL)August 20, 2008


Dumb question from a brand-new organic lawn and gardener, planning to start making compost.

I've seen mention of using compost to mulch plant beds, but wouldn't it grow weeds like crazy unless it had mulch on top of it to suppress weed growth?


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Compost, used as mulch, would be no more apt to grow "weeds" than any other material. If your mulch did not grow "weeds" you would not want to use that material because it would be dead and would not feed yor soil with anything. Most often the "weeds" that do appear in any mulch, whether compost or not, will come from seeds from outside, blown in by the wind, dropped by birds, carried on some animals fur, from the soil below, but seldom from the mulch material itself.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 8:00AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day karen,

can't see weeds being any sort of issue, but for me compost comes under the food for the garden aspect so yes spread it around on top of the bed, in prefference to digging it in then cover it with some sort of mulch, my prefferences are the green type spoilt hay mulches can be lucern or pasture grass's, and sugar cane mulch.


Here is a link that might be useful: len's garden page

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 2:30PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Hi - not a dumb question @ all = )

I think it depends very much on what kind of compost we're talking here - if it's the bagged stuff from the store, then the weed problem is practically nil - I spread composted bagged cow manure w/ nothing on top & it's fine. But if I use my home-made stuff, weeds(& volunteers) will be EVERYWHERE!

That's not always a big problem, tho - if I pull or hoe the sprouts while they're small.

Hay, straw, grass mulches are my preference for veggies - leaves, wood, bark mulches for fruits, most ornamentals & flowers.In our relentless FL sun, I find compost alone can dry out quickly - sometimes forming a hard crust & a thick layer of organic mulch will keep things more moist & friable.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 12:04PM
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If you have a good hot compost then that should kill any seeds that may be in it. Or if you are very particular about what you put in your compost and make sure no seeds from weed get thrown in there then you shouldn't have a problem with weeds. But even if you do get weed seeds in your compost that don't get cooked when you use it as mulch the weeds can be pulled very easily with little to no effort.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 10:38AM
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