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Compost and its Myriad Benefits

Feb 04, 2015 04:25PM

Composting involves the recycling of organic material. Compost is the product of the controlled biological decomposition of organic material that has been sanitized through the generation of heat and stabilized to the point that it is beneficial to plant growth. Compost bears little physical resemblance to the raw material from which it originated. This organic matter resource has the unique ability to improve the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of soils or growing media. It contains plant nutrients, but is typically not characterized as fertilizer.

Compost is produced through the activity of microorganisms that require oxygen, moisture and food in order to grow and multiply. When these factors are maintained at optimal levels, the natural decomposition process is accelerated and the microbes generate heat, water vapor and carbon dioxide as they transform raw materials into a stable soil conditioner.

Active composting is characterized by a high-temperature phase that sanitizes the product and allows a high rate of decomposition, followed by a lower-temperature phase that allows the product to stabilize, while still decomposing at a lower rate. Compost can be produced from many raw, organic materials such as leaves, manure or food scraps. State and federal regulations exist to ensure that only safe and environmentally beneficial composts are marketed

Compost is extremely versatile and beneficial in many applications because it has a unique ability to improve the properties of soils and growing media physically, chemically and biologically. Although some equate the benefit of compost use to lush green growth caused by plant-available nitrogen, the real benefits of using compost are long-term and related to its organic matter content.

The addition of compost will yield healthier soil for plants, turf grass, trees and shrubs. It also impacts water quality and quantity, and therefore, the environment and our quality of life. By adding compost, the soil is also protected from wind and water erosion, retains larges volumes of water and filters out contaminants. These benefits are so important that municipal composting plans are beginning to appear around the country. The addition of compost may provide greater drought resistance and so the frequency and intensity of irrigation may be reduced; a significant benefit because North Texas is predicted to continue experiencing drought conditions for the near future.

For more information, call Earth Kind Services at 469-744-0281 or visit EarthkindServices.com. See ad, page 13.

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