Compost or "Black Gold" is the single best amendment to add to any soil to increase its fertility. It feeds the soil food web and increases many desired soil properties. The heat of composting kills most weed seeds and pathogens allowing beneficial microbes to grow and dominate.
We use and recommend Leaf Mold Compost. This product is produced from recycled leaves, grass, and other organic material which is slowly composted to ensure quality. It is screened after composting to ensure consistency and size. This product is rich in beneficial bacteria and used on lawns, vegetable gardens, annuals, and in flower beds. Leaf Mold Compost is available in different screened sizes. The 1" size is ideal for use as a soil amendment, under turf grass before installation or as a mulch. The 3/8" size is excellent for potting mixes to top dressing lawns to help save water and to prevent brown patch and other problems. Our compost is produced by Natures Way Resources located in Conroe, which uses a two-year composting process to ensure the breakdown of all feedstock’s into a humus rich material.
Mulch can be categorized into three basic types based on its quality and usage. These are Biological, Commercial, and Industrial. Unfortunately, it is not possible to just read the label on the bag to determine the quality. However, knowing the differences and what to look for will allow a consumer to identify the actual quality and grade.
Biological - This is the highest quality mulch and therefore the most beneficial in improving soils, preventing disease, protecting plants, etc. It has a low carbon to nitrogen ratio so it does not steal nitrogen from the soil and weaken or stress plants. It has been composted to kill weed seeds and pathogens. Composted “native mulch” and coarse screened compost are examples of this class of mulches. The bag will have holes in it so that air can enter and the beneficial microbes can breath and be kept alive. This mulch will typically sell retail for $8-15 per bag (2 cubic foot).
Commercial - This is a middle grade of mulch made from tree barks (pine, hardwood, etc.) and is the most common. It will be in a sealed bag and may have a sour, stale or strong odor. It has a high carbon to nitrogen ratio and robs soil of nitrogen and other nutrients. Tends to float off in a heavy rain or develop unsightly molds and fungal mats and may attract fire ants. This mulch will typically sell retail for $3-5 per bag (2 cubic foot).
Industrial - This is the lowest grade of products called mulch. It is made from industrial wastes like old pallets, construction wood, etc. It is often chemically burned black with industrial waste and sometimes will rub off in your hand and it is often dyed various colors. It often contains arsenic from CCA treated waste wood. It has a very high carbon to nitrogen ratio and robs nitrogen and other nutrients from the soil for a long time. It may be extremely alkaline and high in toxic salts. This product will typically sell retail for $1-3 per bag (2 cubic foot).