Starting a compost pile on top of bermuda grass?
Hello! I'm a novice home gardener who is ready to pull the trigger on a backyard composting system (one of the big black top-fill kinds). My yard is bermuda grass and I don't want to end up with a compost bin full of bermuda! Is it OK to start an open-bottom compost container on bermuda, or is there a better way? Thanks! Daniel NOrber
This question was answered by a Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.
Thank you for your question.
Congratulations on starting composting! It is a wonderful way to dispose of kitchen scraps as well as help improve your garden soil.
You do not need to worry about setting your compost bin on the Bermuda grass – once you have started to fill up the bin, the grass beneath it will die.
A good introduction to composting from NC State University / NC A&T State University / NC Cooperative Extension is called “Backyard Composting of Yard, Garden, and Food Discards” (content.ces.ncsu.edu/backyard-composting-of-yard-garden-and-food-discards).
A more detailed guide to composting from North Carolina Cooperative Extension is called “Composting : A Guide to Managing Organic Yard Wastes” (content.ces.ncsu.edu/composting-a-guide-to-managing-organic-yard-wastes).
I thought you might enjoy reading this Q&A from a website called “Compost Guide: Tips for Home Composting” (compostguide.com/how-to-choose-a-compost-site/):
Ellen Paulson July 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm
Hello. My husband was trying to be helpful and sprayed some Round-Up on the area I am going to put my compositor (open on the bottom) to kill the Bermuda/St. Augustine grass it will sit on. I was horrified and now scared to put my compositor in this spot because I fear contamination from the round-up. Is that a valid concern? If so, what do you recommend I do to clean up the area…if it’s possible! Also, how concerned do I have to be to have it sit on grass–was thinking the grass would grow into the compost.
I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Roundup is designed to become inert after it hits the soil, unless you are using that “extended” formula that has a different herbicide in it. So if you have waited a couple of days, it should be no problem at all, assuming it’s regular Roundup.
Also, compost can actually be used to remediate contaminated soil, as studied by the EPA.
Grass won’t grow into the composter, because it is dark in there and grass likes full sun. You can use a weedeater around the edge of the bin to keep grass from growing tall around it.
Please call or email us if you have other questions.
Phone: (919) 560-0528.
721 Foster Street, Durham, NC 27701
Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer