Does Compost Help Grass Grow? (Want a Greener Lawn?)

does compost help grass grow

Ah, the pleasure of a lush lawn! The way it feels under your bare feet. Its fresh smell after being mowed. How it invites you to sprawl out and cloud watch. 

But keeping your lawn green and growing takes work. So on top of mowing, watering, and protecting it from extreme weather, you also need to nourish it. 

Adding compost to your lawn care routine can make a big difference to your grass’s health. 

Here are a few must-know composting tips if you dream of having a flourishing lawn in your garden. 

Can Compost Help Grass Grow?

Compost’s organic matter, microorganisms, and insects improve soil quality by encouraging airflow, boosting moisture-holding potential, allowing proper drainage, and adding nutrients. All these factors help the grass grow. 

Compost is a lawn care essential because it creates soil that helps grass thrive. 

Adding compost to your lawn can also make your grass more robust, giving it a better chance to fight off diseases and peaky insects. 

And compost can help even out a lawn with worm castings or bumps here and there. 

(Worm castings are what pass through worms’ bodies. Unlike dog poop, you want these nutrient-rich droppings on your lawn!) 

Ways to add compost to your lawn

You can add compost to your grass as a top dressing once a year. This will nourish the lawn and promote new growth. Make sure you use fine compost that has been sifted to remove large particles. You can use a handy compost sifter like this one to make the job easier. (Amazon)

  • Begin by mowing your lawn to a short length.
  • Remove any debris like clippings or leaves using a rake.
  • If you have bare patches, add grass seed before spreading compost.
  • Spread the compost over the lawn. Begin by adding shovels of compost, then use a rake to even out the surface. Try to get a uniform covering of ¼ to ½ inch.

Does Compost Help Grass Seed Grow?

Compost gives the grass a strong start by protecting its seeds and creating an environment for healthy growth. 

You can prep your planting area by adding compost, and you’ll set the scene for a thriving lawn. 

Here’s how to get your soil ready to grow grass:

  • Till the top layers of soil.
  • Spread a 1/2- to 1-inch layer of compost all over the area (check that the compost has no particles bigger than 1/2 an inch).
  • Rake the compost into the soil.
  • Scatter the grass seeds evenly across the area.
  • Lightly water the seeds.
  • Finish off with a thin layer of compost as mulch to keep the seeds moist and protect them from the wind and hungry birds. 

Essential tip: Be sure your compost is free of weed seeds before you spread it around – otherwise, the lawn that sprouts might not be the one you wanted! Also, make sure the compost is finished (dark brown, crumbly, smells earthy, contains nothing you can recognize). Unfinished compost will not only stop grass seeds from thriving; it might prevent them from sprouting at all. 

Does Mushroom Compost Help Grass Grow?

You can use mushroom compost in three ways to help the grass grow:

1: Mix mushroom compost with the topsoil layers before sprinkling your grass seeds. 

2: Spread mushroom compost on bare spots in your lawn, then pop seeds directly into the compost. 

3: Add a thin layer of mushroom compost over the seeds as mulch. 

Compost Vs. Fertilizer For Lawn

Compost and fertilizer work in different ways to help grass grow. 

Compost improves soil quality over time to create the conditions grass needs to be healthy. It also gives grass small amounts of nutrients. Suppose you want a grass that’s so green and lush that it almost looks fake. In this case, you’ll probably need fertilizer. Fertilizer gives grass concentrated nutrients for a quick boost. 

Here are more differences between compost and fertilizer for lawn care:




Chemical or organic

Usually, make your own

Usually buy

Good for the environment

Can be bad for the environment

Makes grass healthier

Makes grass vividly green (though too much will turn it blackish-green) and stronger

Tricky to control what nutrients reach grass and how much

Can control which nutrients reach grass and how much

Should I Use Topsoil Or Compost For Grass Seed?

Topsoil and compost are both important for helping seeds germinate, sprout, and grow. So, don’t pick between them; mix them. 

Topsoil has valuable qualities, like providing good support for plants’ roots, but add compost to topsoil, and it comes out tops! 

One job compost does better than topsoil is mulching, so spread a thin layer of compost over your grass seeds to keep them safe and moist. 

Too Much Compost On Lawn

There are a multitude of different ways to use compost. But you can enhance your lawn by feeding it compost every year – so long as you don’t overfeed it. 

Your lawn needs just a 1/4-inch layer all over. A thicker layer could suffocate your grass and interfere with vital functions like photosynthesis and transpiration.

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