compost tea in a bucket illustration
Illustration: Rose Lowry
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Boost Roots: Compost Tea

Spreading garden compost improves soil biology and structure, but top-dressing a lawn with a ½-inch layer twice annually is labor-intensive—and slow to work. Below, two easier methods for getting compost's benefits.

Compost tea makes beneficial bacteria and nutrients immediately available to lawn soil and turf roots. To brew it, put 5 cups of loose compost in a mesh sack and suspend it in a 5-gallon bucket oxygenated by an aquarium pump for about 24 hours. For the simplest delivery system, skip the backpack or pump sprayer. Screw a siphon (we like Hozon's, $32; between an outdoor spigot and a garden hose hooked up to a sprinkler to pull the tea out of the bucket and through the sprinkler nozzles. One quart of compost tea will cover about 1,000 square feet of lawn. Repeat every four to six weeks.
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