Adding loose tea to the soil

Asked September 22, 2019, 12:28 PM EDT

Is it beneficial to add the loose tea from used tea bags to the soil. Many of the teas are flavored and/or herbal. Does it help the soil in any way or is it detrimental in the long run. I am aware that tea, in general, is good for the soil but it is the flavored teas that concern me, such as chai and those with added flavors.

Macomb County Michigan

1 Response

Using compost can support your soil biology, add some fertility, and can facilitate availability of nutrients. Adding sugar-rich carbon sources (Browns) and nitrogen sources rich in protein (Greens) provides a combination of material that is good for producing compost. Loose tea as well as the paper teabags are one of these sources that can be added to compost. As long as the tea remains a single addition and not the majority of material in a compost pile, flavor should not matter.

If you do not have a compost pile and are only adding tea leaves directly to the soil, the effect of flavored teas will be negligible unless you add 100s at once. The key benefit to the soil is the addition of organic matter, present in flavored and unflavored tea. Have you had a soil test recently? The only concern from adding tea to soil is the potential to acidify the soil. If your soil is acidic, adding tea leaves may stress plants. If your soil is alkaline, the tea bags will be beneficial

For more information on compost: