A division of Walker Aero Environmental LLC / J-V Dirt + Loam

Using Compost in Your Yard

Typical Compost Application Rates

There are a wide variety of applications for compost on your lawn, garden, trees, and planting beds. The amount of compost you need for a particular use will depend on the quality and condition of the soil, the type(s) of plants to be nourished, and the quality of the compost.  The following application rates are “ballpark” only. For more specialized advice, contact the horticulture specialist at your local Extension office, city compost specialist, compost supplier, or landscaper. The good news is, it’s very hard to go wrong with good compost.

New grass establishment:  1 - 2 inches; till in to a depth of 4 – 6 inches, depending on soil texture.

Lawn maintenance:  1/8 – ½ inch.  Aerate compacted soil before applying.  Apply mid-April and/or mid-October according to need.

Planting bed preparation: 1 - 2 inches.  Till in to a depth of 4 – 6 inches.

Planting trees:  Mix 1/3 compost into backfill soil.  Rough up edges of planting hole before backfilling.

Mulching around trees and shrubs:  1 – 3 inches.  Apply out to drip line. Leave bark and root crowns of trees exposed.


To determine how much compost you will need for a particular application, you can also enter the square footage of the application area  and the application rate in the appropriate spaces in this online calculator: University of Minnesota – Compost Application Calculator.  

See also: San Antonio Water System – Compost Application Rates