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A Better Lawn: The Dirt on Adding Compost in Fall

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Skip the fertilizer. The addition of compost to your soil in the fall will help your lawn be healthy and green next year. Credit: bluedogroom
Skip the fertilizer. The addition of compost to your soil in the fall will help your lawn be healthy and green next year. Credit: bluedogroom
 By John MichaelsonContact
October 12, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa – Winter may be the next season on the horizon in Iowa, but now is the time for action for those already looking ahead to having a healthier and greener lawn next spring and summer.

Rhonda O'Connor, project/strategy manager with the Metro Waste Authority, says fall is a great time to add compost to one's gardens, flowerbeds and topsoil.

"It improves the soil's ability to absorb water,” she explains. “It's basically feeding it nutrients and it kind of creates this great habitat for grass and plants to thrive."

O'Conner says compost also helps retain water, making lawns more resilient to dry spells, and helps keep nutrients around the root zone, helping to control weeds.

O'Connor notes that using compost to naturally improve your lawn is a better option in many ways over turning to the use of chemical fertilizers.

"The thing about fertilizer is that it requires multiple applications in one season and it's really just a temporary solution,” she points out. “It's not adding nutrients to that soil like compost is.

“And also fertilizer does pollute storm water. Every time it rains, all the fertilizer that you put on your lawn runs off and into the storm drain."

While there are some in Iowa who do their own backyard composting, O'Connor says for those who don't, there are many places to find compost, including local landfills and area stores.

More details on locations with compost are available online at the websites of Metro Waste Authority and the U.S. Composting Council.

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