uncured compost for lawn?

musicalgardenerMarch 24, 2009

I purchased bags today of Back to Earth compost (composted cotton burrs with no manure added). I make my own compost, but did not have enough after using it on flower beds.

I was planning on putting this purchased compost on my bermuda lawn which is just starting to green up.

My concern is that it still has an odor, and I am worried that it is not yet "finished." Will this harm my lawn?

Do I need to open the bags and let it cure more until there is no more odor before using?

(I tried doing a "search" for my question, but was unable to find the answer I needed).

Thanks!

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

We never talk about uncured compost so I'm not surprised you couldn't find an answer.

The problem with uncured compost is more a problem with pathogens that might make you sick, not the lawn. You can use the compost on the lawn with no problems. The smell you smell is that of escaping ammonia (i.e. nitrogen). I'd go ahead and use it.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 10:06PM
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musicalgardener

dchall_ : Thank you for your reassurance. I was worried that I might harm the lawn, as this is the first time I have ever applied compost to it.

I have heard horror stories of uncured manure, and made the leap from that to uncured compost!

I plan to follow your advice. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Very often compost packaged in well sealed plastic bags with just a bit of moisture still in the mix will go into anaerbic (in the absence of air) digestion and will develop putrid odors. That does not mean you have "uncured" compost, just that this compost has gone anaerobic. Opening the bags and introducing air into the mix and allowing it to straighten out is most likely al lthat is needed. Compost is a living material with active bacteria working away, but if there is a lack of oxygen then the anaerobic bacteria take over and they produce off odors.
There is no such thing as "uncured" compost. Once the base materials that made that compost are digested and the compost smells like good, rich earth that compost is ready to use and does not need to be left sitting around being even more digested which causes a loss of nutrients that were in that compost.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 8:01AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

kimmsr makes a couple good points:
When manure "cures" it becomes compost. Uncured manure, then, would be uncured compost. But once it is compost it is cured, so I think I know what you are talking about.

But his better point is about the bag being sealed. You can put excellent, finished, cured, compost in to a sealed bag and it will start to stink soon enough. That's probably what happened with yours.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 12:14PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

When manure "cures" it becomes compost. Uncured manure, then, would be uncured compost. But once it is compost it is cured, so I think I know what you are talking about.

Jeeze! Another great moment in American literature!!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Lloyd

I have done the bag test, my cured compost doesn't smell. I won't make comments on lawn application, I don't know.

Bag test

Stability to Maturity

Simple test

Many more links, just google "compost test sealed bag".

Lloyd

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 8:59PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Just plain manure will always be just plain manure no matter how long it sits around. To become compost you need to mix it with other materials.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 9:22AM
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