Different Types of Compost for Lawn Care

different types of compost

What is compost? Compost is decayed or decaying organic materials like sticks, leaves, manure, or food scraps used to fertilize plants and help them grow.

There are many different types of compost which can be used and they each have benefits and drawbacks.

This article will discuss mushroom composting and vermicomposting as well as the use of yard waste, food waste, and manure.

Not to be confused with mulch. If you are not sure which to use, here is the difference between compost and mulch.

Mushroom Compost

Mushroom compost, unlike the name suggests, does not actually use mushrooms in the compost.

Instead, mushroom compost gets its name from the fact it is a by-product of a mixture of materials such as hay, straw, and manure used to grow mushrooms for about a month and then the soil is no longer useful for growing mushrooms so it’s sold as fertilizer.

Since the compost has internal temperatures exceeding 140 degrees fahrenheit any weed seeds or harmful bugs will die. 

There are several advantages to mushroom compost. It is relatively cheap as it’s a recycled product from the mushroom growing industry.

Also, it helps the soil to retain water so plants do not need to be watered as frequently and it improves the drainage of clay or compacted soils.

Finally, it provides valuable nutrients to a wide variety of plants making it useful throughout any landscape.

A major drawback is the potential high levels of salts, nutrients, and calcium can make the soil alkaline and also burn the plants.

Therefore, it should be mixed with other compost or soil so it’s not as concentrated.

Vermicomposting or Using Worms

Vermicomposting, also known as worm composting, is the introduction of specific species of worms to organic materials which the worms consume.

Worm composting provides important nutrients for plants, especially nitrogen.

It’s also popular because it can be done indoors and requires minimal space. This is, however, also a potential drawback as it is difficult to produce larger quantities of compost.

A few other things to keep in mind are that the worms will need to be bought to make sure they are the correct ones and they will need special care and attention.

They cannot handle temperatures that are too cold or too hot. And they cannot process any type of citrus because it will kill them. In addition, the worms will need to be sifted out of the compost before use.

Vermicomposting can be a great choice of compost, but it is more involved and intense than many of the other options.

Leaves and Yard Trimmings

Using leaves and yard trimmings is probably the simplest types of compost. It is taking the fallen leaves, sticks, branches, and grass that accumulate in the landscape and putting it into a designated compost area.

This is a very cheap option as well as it uses only what is in your yard or what you can collect. It also reduces waste and doesn’t take long to become fertilizer.

However, if you don’t have a large yard then it can be difficult to sustain or get a larger amount of compost. Second, weeds have the potential to grow in it and harmful pests could also be present.

Leaves and yard trimmings are a great way to begin composting and also helpful to use in conjunction with some of the other methods mentioned in this article.

Food Waste

Food waste is another simple and common method of composting and often the one a majority of people think of when composting is mentioned.

It is easy and relatively inexpensive as it uses leftover food that can no longer be eaten. You still need a bin or an outdoor area to place the food waste while it decomposes, but there is nothing else necessary.

Food waste compost provides valuable nutrients to a wide array of plants. A drawback is it can smell fairly strong while composting and there is the potential to attract wild animals if it’s placed outdoors without a fence and cover.

Food waste compost is a good choice to combine with leaves and yard trimmings along with another compost like manure.


Manure, especially horse, cow, and chicken manure, is a very common compost and one widely used to help fertilize and grow plants.

Unlike a few of the other composts on this list, manure is available in large quantities almost everywhere, therefore it’s a relatively cheap option. Manure also has high internal temperatures so it doesn’t allow parasites or weeds to stay alive.

It not only provides necessary nitrogen to the plants, but also helps soil drain better and have more air circulation. However, there are a few drawbacks.

The most obvious is that manure can smell very strong and unpleasant. Manure doesn’t store well so it’s best to only buy what you can use immediately on your landscape.

The quality of the manure compost can also vary depending on the diet of the animals producing it. Overall, manure is the most common compost and easily available.

Composting is Beneficial

Composting is a great way to help plants thrive and many people use multiple ones from the list above.

If you are wondering what compost may be the best option for your lawn or landscape, call the lawn experts at Gecko Green to help get your lawn as healthy as can be!

With a free lawn care quote and 50% off your first treatment, you’ll be on your way to a green and lush lawn in no time.

Call for a free quote today!