Why do we compost (a.k.a. top dressing)?
Tree Shepherds believes that most trees would happily survive without humans, if left to nature. This is evident in the large forests we see across the nation. However, our desire to have beautiful landscapes and manicured lawns negatively impacts urban trees in ways we don’t often think about.
When it comes to lawns everybody wants a green one, and usually one type of grass. Unfortunately, an extremely green lawn usually means way too much water for the trees. In fact, a perfectly manicured green lawn is one of the first things our arborists notice when asked to diagnose a sick tree and is evidence that the sick tree is drowning.
So how can I have a green lawn and healthy trees?
The reason lawns require so much water to be green is nutrient depletion in the soil. The process often looks like this: Grass is planted in nice soil when a house is built. Grass grows by taking nutrients from the soil. Grass is mowed and the clippings (or soil nutrients) are collected and removed. It’s the same process for leaves from a tree. The tree collects nutrients from the soil, puts it in the leaves, the leaves fall and are collected and removed.
The reason grass stays green if watered, while trees suffer from this process is that all the nutrients water and ecology provide are collected by the grass and can’t sink into the soil.
This is where composting comes in.
Benefits of composting
Compost is rich in nutrients that both trees and grass sorely need. We believe it is a better solution than traditional lawn or tree fertilizer because it will have all the micro and macro nutrients that can’t be synthesized by people. Just like people can’t survive solely on vitamin pills, grass and trees can’t survive solely on fertilizer.
With more nutrients, both grass and trees require less watering because they are receiving more nutrients from the soil and less nutrients from the water. As rain comes and irrigation systems rain down on the lawn, the nutrients from the compost are washed deeper into the ground for the root systems to receive.
Our ISA board certified master arborist uses this method, and his lawn and trees have significant growth since he began a couple years ago while only watering deeply once per week.
Downsides of composting
The only downside to composting is that clients may not see immediate results. Traditional fertilizer is often picked up by the tree faster, especially with deep root fertilization. Compost takes time to break down into the elements and sink down into the soil. While we highly recommend composting, we recommend it as a long-term solution and as part of a long-term tree care plan for your trees.
How often should I compost my lawn?
While Tree Shepherds does not provide composting (also known as top dressing) we have a partnership with earth kind services to provide our composting services. We highly recommend Beau Propes and his team as they provide quality top dressing services at reasonable prices. Please give us a call for his information, visit his website https://www.earthkindservices.com/ or call him directly at 469-744-0281. Don’t forget to mention Tree Shepherds!
We are based in Highland Village, Texas and primarily serve Denton County and the North DFW areas: Argyle, Bartonville, Carrollton, Copper Canyon, Corinth, Denton, Double Oak, Farmers Branch, Flower Mound, Frisco, Justin, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Ponder, Roanoke, Sanger, Shady Shores, and The Colony