There is some basic math that will help you determine, quite accurately, the quantity
of compost needed (in cubic yards) for soil amending, top dressing or mulching projects. Follow these simple steps and you won’t go wrong:
Determine the area or areas to be covered in approximate square feet (width x length). For irregular or curved garden borders break those areas up into 2 or more smaller areas and estimate their widths and lengths and add the multiple areas together.
Determine the thickness that you want to apply the compost. Examples Include:
For perennial beds already planted roughly estimate the area that the plants take up. If you have 500 sq. ft. of perennial beds, for instance, and they are 50% covered with plants, you will only need to mulch 250 sq. ft.
Multiply the areas to be covered by the thickness that the compost will be applied. In the example above for mulch for a perennial bed, 250 sq. ft. x 2” equals the equivalent of 500 sq. ft. 1” thick.
One cubic yard of compost covers 324 sq. ft. 1” thick. By dividing this number into the total sq. ft. to be covered x the thickness of the compost will yield the cubic yards of compost required. Example: 875 sq. ft. of perennial gardens x 2” of compost mulch divided by 324 equals 5.4 cubic yards.
Please note that you should never use 100 % compost instead of soil
for growing plants, trees, shrubs or grass. Soil amended with up to
25% compost is recommemded for most growing needs. Compost
should only be used as a soil amendment, light top dressing or mulch.
Ideally a professional soil test (See The Importance Of Soil Tests)
will be used as a reference to determine the quantity of compost needed.
For raised beds three parts topsoil to one part compost is a good blend.
• One cubic yard cubic yard of compost covers 324 sq. ft. 1” thick •
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