LinGRO compost is produced primarily from grass clippings, leaves and woodchips. Compost is a humus-like material that looks like dark topsoil and is free of debris. It has an earthy aroma and is high in organic matter and other nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium. LinGRO compost is screened to produce a product of uniform particle size. It generally has the following characteristics on a dry weight basis:
- Total Nitrogen (N):
- 1.2 - 3.3%
- Phosphorus (P):
- 0.2 - 0.4%
- Potassium (K):
- 1.0 - 2.1%
- 7.5 - 8.4
The composting process is managed to ensure that the end product is of the highest quality. The monitoring process uses current technology. Temperature, oxygen and moisture levels are monitored weekly to make informed decisions on managing the organic material.
When the compost has completed the composting process, a field test is conducted on each windrow of compost. If the compost passes this test, samples are sent to an independent lab that analyzes nutrient and heavy metal content of the compost as well as its biological and physical properties. A city lab conducts a seed germination test and the UNL Horticulture Department conducts bioassays on the compost to insure that no chemical damage occurs using the compost. LinGRO compost must pass these tests prior to public distribution of the material.
How can I obtain LinGRO compost?
LinGRO compost may be obtained at no cost at the North 48th Street Transfer Station by individuals with small vehicles and/or small trailers. The material is available on a first come, first served basis, and individuals must self-load the compost by hand. (Tools are not provided; please bring a shovel.)
LinGRO compost may be purchased at the Bluff Road Solid Waste Management Facility. The current price is $15 per cubic yard (plus sales tax), and the price includes loading a vehicle. Vehicles larger than a pickup or trailer with larger than 60 square feet (length x width) of cargo dimensions (i.e., trailer tongue isn’t included), is required. Small vehicles and trailers cannot be loaded due to the possibility of damage.
Note on weekend compost loading hours – Loading is only available on Saturday with an appointment, which must be scheduled through the gatehouse (402-441-8102) by 4 p.m. on the preceding Thursday. Please be ready to provide the quantity of compost needed and the number of trucks being routed for loading. No loading is available on Sunday.
Why use LinGRO compost?
LinGRO compost will improve the health of the soil and its structure. Beneficial microbes in compost feed off nutrients and hold back soil diseases. Compost decreases the bulk density of the topsoil and increases moisture retention in soil. Using LinGRO compost as a top dressing for lawns will improve soil fertility and water infiltration. LinGRO compost can help save money by reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and it helps prevent the erosion of valuable nutrient-rich topsoil.
Plants will benefit from healthy soils. LinGRO compost promotes increased root and leaf development and flower, fruit or vegetable production.
Know your landscape needs
When designing or installing a landscape plan, it is important to determine the health of the soil and identify the need for any soil amendments. Soil tests are a useful tool to understanding the best application rate and characteristics of the soil. The application rates outlined may need to be adjusted based on the characteristics of your soil. Lancaster County Extension will provide a soil testing kit and analysis for a small fee. This test will determine the levels of pH, lime, phosphorous, potassium and organic matter in your soil. Call the Lancaster County Extension office at 402-441-7180 for more information on soil tests.
Blending topsoil/establishing new lawns
When making blended topsoil, the recommended mixture is one part compost mixed with four parts soil. To establish a new lawn, apply one inch of LinGRO compost to the topsoil, and mix thoroughly within the subsoil. It is recommended that clay soils be rototilled prior to adding LinGRO compost. One cubic yard of compost will cover a 325 square foot area at a depth of one inch.
For athletic fields and large open spaces, apply compost at a rate of 135 cubic yards per acre for a one-inch layer of compost.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research shows that compost can suppress common turf diseases and reduce the need for fungicides. Aerate the lawn and spread LinGRO compost about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch deep, and water thoroughly. One cubic yard of LinGRO compost will cover a 1,296 square foot area at a depth of 1/4 inch (2,592 square feet @ 1/8 inch).
Improving clay soil
Lincoln and Lancaster County have a high percentage of clay soils. Applying LinGRO compost to clay soils will improve the porosity, water holding capacity, and nutrient content, and add beneficial microorganisms to the soil. LinGRO compost will improve the structure of clay soils to encourage plant growth. Application rates depend on the amount of clay in the soil and the soil’s characteristics.
LinGRO compost may be used to improve water retention in new sod. Compost will also decrease the bulk density of the underlying soil, which helps establish plant growth. According to the EPA, using compost should reduce the need for fertilizers. However, nutrients may need to be applied depending on the characteristics of your soil.
Tree and shrub planting
Apply one to two inches of LinGRO compost on the surface of the ground in a radius not to exceed the drip line of the plant. For best results, aerate prior to application, or mix in with soil from the hole for planting the tree or shrub.
Flower and vegetable gardens
LinGRO compost may be used to enrich the soil in flower and vegetable gardens. Apply a one-inch layer of LinGRO compost over the entire garden area and till into six inches of soil. LinGRO compost may also be used to amend the soil and increase infiltration rates in rain gardens. Application rates depend on infiltration rate and the soil's characteristics. An infiltration test can help determine what amendments are needed.
Using compost in tree nurseries can enhance tree growth. According to the U.S. Composting Council, nursery fields amended with compost can produce a higher quality plant in a shorter amount of time. LinGRO compost will reduce soil erosion, add organic matter and nutrients to soil, and retain more water in the soil. Add fertilizers and make pH adjustments as necessary when applying LinGRO compost. The application rate will vary depending on your soil characteristics. The U.S. Composting Council says successful application rates for nurseries may range from one-half to four inches. Disking the field or tillage is recommended prior to application.
Till LinGRO compost into the soil at a rate of six to ten inches for a one- to two-inch application (12 to 14 inches for thicker layers).
LinGRO compost promotes the establishment of vegetation through the work of added nutrients and microorganisms. The woodchips in LinGRO compost help to stabilize slopes and improve soil structure more effectively than other forms of mulch. LinGRO compost will promote the development of plant growth, which enhances bank stabilization.
Apply a two-inch layer of LinGRO compost directly on the soil of the slope. For steeper slopes, a small berm or mound of wood chips at the top and bottom of the slope may help to slow quick moving water and prevent the runoff of nutrient-rich soil.
Calculate the amount of compost needed for application:
The City of Lincoln does not warrant, expressly or implied, the final quality of LinGRO Compost, its merchantability, or its fitness for any particular purpose.
- NebGuide – Garden Compost Nebraska Extension Publications (G2222)
- Innovative Uses of Compost: Erosion Control, Turf Remediation, and Landscaping United States Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. EPA 530-F-043