Growing Medium

Compost

Compost is an extremely versatile organic matter with some incredible advantages. Although most people associate the use of compost with lush, healthy growth, compost provides an array of additional benefits, from reducing plant disease to restoring wetlands. (And it isn’t just the plants and soil that benefit—compost can also help you achieve LEED and Sustainable Site credits.) Explore some of the ways compost impacts the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and growing media:

  • Improves soil structure – Bulk density is reduced while porosity and workability is increased
  • Modifies and stabilizes pH – Lowers/raises soil pH and also makes soil more resistant to pH fluctuation 
  • Increases cation exchange capacity – Improved CEC allows soil media to hold nutrients longer
  • Provides nutrients and soil biota – Essential macro and micronutrients are provided in slow-release form and may even reduce soil-borne pathogens 
  • Improves moisture retention – Water-holding capabilities are increased for greater drought resistance and irrigation efficiency
  • Degrades pollutants and compounds – Contaminants bind with soil for reduced leaching and plant absorption; compost microbes can even degrade some toxic compounds such as petroleum
  • Reduces erosion and runoff – Soil-binding properties increase infiltration and permeability 

LEED and Sustainable Sites Credits

Compost is a 100% recycled, renewable resource that decreases landscaping water demands, provides habitat protection and much more—so it’s no wonder that compost can help you achieve credits in categories that include Sustainable Sites; Water Efficiency; Materials and Resources; and Innovation in Design.