How to Compost Lawn Sod


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Hello,

I'm getting ready to dig up our front lawn and I'd like to use the sod in a compost pile. I've followed Charles Dowding for a while now, and from what I understand you want a compost pile to be a certain temperature in order to kill grass and weed seeds, yet not so hot that it kills the good bacteria.

My question is, should I start a separate compost pile with this sod in an effort to keep my "clean" compost pile free of grass?

Thanks for any advice!
 
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I wouldn't worry so much about residual grass seeds in lifted sod, but I do think it would be hard to hot compost due to the amount of soil and difficulty in effectively turning it. However, cold composting or mulching are other options to consider.
If I had some layers of lifted sod, I would put them on a garden path, root side up, and cover them with a layer of wood chips. I basically treat all my garden paths like cold compost that I can walk on.
 

NigelJ

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Remove turf in manageable sections, stack turf side down in a quiet corner, water them then cover over with old compost sacks or similar. Leave for 12 months uncover and use the nice crumbly loam.
 
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I did basically what NigelJ suggests, except I rolled the turfs grass side in, no odds really. Those old compost sacks have the make and logo printed on the outside, turn them inside out and they are usually black. Stacked where they catch a bit of sun they will warm up what's under them nicely black side out. The odd turf inside them will stop them blowing about.
 
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Thanks for the tips!

Is this what you call a compost sack?

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The idea that heat kills desirable bacteria is out of context some how. It is in fact several waves of bacteria that exist at different temperature ranges causing the heat.

Compost may seem to change slowly but the truth is both dynamic and at a very small level kind of dramatic. Wave after wave of different bacteria arrive and conquer a pile, each requiring conditions that are left behind by the previous dominant bacteria. This link contains general explanations and search terms. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/basics/compost-bacteria-information.htm

When I hear a political speech about how we stand on the shoulders of giants, I get a small giggle from knowing we first stood on wave after wave of bacteria. This always leads my next mental image which is a politician standing on a pile of poo.

As to composting sod, the topsoil is valuable and if it were at all practical I would try to wash the dirt out (in place hopefully) resulting in a wetted mass which will enhance speed of composting. Were the piles to have enough weight to compress themselves I would attempt an aeration pipe at the bottom and middle for the oxygen necessary to drive the process at maximum ocidation rates without turning.
 
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I don't deny the importance of bacterial decay, but i read somewhere that most of a fully rotted compost heap is slug excrement. It is certainly true that it is worth putting the compost heap separate, anything within eight to twelve feet of it is going to get slug damage. Possibly not so true of stacked turf. Wet certainly helps, I'll water a heap that has dry stuff in it or looks a bit dry.
 
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I don't deny the importance of bacterial decay, but i read somewhere that most of a fully rotted compost heap is slug excrement. It is certainly true that it is worth putting the compost heap separate, anything within eight to twelve feet of it is going to get slug damage. Possibly not so true of stacked turf. Wet certainly helps, I'll water a heap that has dry stuff in it or looks a bit dry.
I would agree, but since mankind invented beer, we also (fraternally speaking) have discovered that small and frequent applications of nitrogen work wonderfully to speed decay along in compost piles. My fear is that I might hurt myself attempting to apply such a natural helper to the top of a 12 ft tall pile. Or hurt myself falling backwards due to the elevation challenges. It sounds risky. Perhaps I could get a ladder and find a perch atop the shed roof from which to fertilize, but then I fear the comments of my neighbors and a lack of sustenance from my wife. Maybe 2 piles is a lower note, but as effective?
 
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Hello,

I'm getting ready to dig up our front lawn and I'd like to use the sod in a compost pile. I've followed Charles Dowding for a while now, and from what I understand you want a compost pile to be a certain temperature in order to kill grass and weed seeds, yet not so hot that it kills the good bacteria.

My question is, should I start a separate compost pile with this sod in an effort to keep my "clean" compost pile free of grass?

Thanks for any advice!
My advice is to relax and not be so empirical and scientific and measurement-oriented towards it. Just pile a bunch of stuff that plants like to eat together and let it rot for awhile with things that promote that rot. Best soil I ever made was basically composed of some garden soil from my old house, a lot of coco coir, a lot of table scraps rotted about six months, a lot of coffee grounds, generous handfuls of perlite, several inoculations with real growers recharge and hydroguard, about 200 red wigglers, and random drenches with silicon solution and/or hydroponic solution (usually Gen Hydro's MaxiGro, but I use various). Plants grow in that like they're over a septic tank.
 

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