Compost is a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning soil. Compost is 100% natural organic material and it can include yard clippings, leaves, yard trimmings, and kitchen vegetative waste. It can be purchased or made at home by recycling yard prunings and clippings. Compost promotes microbiological activity in soils necessary for plant growth. Here is some more information on how to start composting.
Organic matter in soil is important for a number of reasons, including retention of water. Soil amended with compost requires less water (as much as 30% less). When you properly prepare your soil, it will retain water while diminishing runoff from the lawn and onto paved surfaces. Once water is stored, it's slowly released back into the soil for sustained plant growth. The result is healthier plants and the need to water less.
Poor or sparse vegetation cover, weeds, and the constant need for water are signs that your soil is low in organic matter. Compost (which is high in organic matter) is easily added to the soil and is an excellent storage system for moisture. Lack of initial soil preparation is a major reason for subsequent lawn failure.
Compost is an effective and economical method of holding water in the root zone - where it is most needed. The chart shows the relationship between the amount of compost (organic matter) and the amount of water retained. Compost helps break up compacted clay soils to reduce runoff. In sand, compost slows down percolation.
Adding compost considerably increases its ability to hold water. The best time to use compost is when preparing new lawns, flowerbeds, planting trees and shrubs. You can even add compost on existing lawns or flowerbeds as a top dressing to increase water efficiency. It saves money and conserves water. It helps make your lawn, flowers, trees, shrubs, and garden look great while remaining efficient.