How to Grow a Lush Lawn Using Only Compost Tea
Having a lush, green lawn is the dream for many homeowners. But keeping grass healthy often requires using synthetic fertilizers and chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. The good news is, you can grow a beautiful lawn using only compost tea – a natural, organic solution made from compost.
As a devoted gardener and lawn care enthusiast, I’ve been using compost tea as my secret weapon for years. Compost tea is easy to make at home, costs a fraction of store-bought fertilizers, and works wonders to strengthen grass roots, prevent disease, and boost soil health.
In this article, I’ll share my tips for making and using compost tea to grow the lawn of your dreams, using only natural ingredients. Let’s get started!
What is Compost Tea?
Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer made by steeping compost in water. It’s filled with beneficial microbes and nutrients that feed grass roots and soil life.
There are two main methods for brewing compost tea:
Aerobic tea – Compost is steeped in water using constant aeration. This promotes the growth of aerobic microbes which suppress disease.
Anaerobic tea – Compost steeps without aeration. Anaerobic bacteria dominate, which are excellent for building soil fertility.
I make both teas depending on the needs of my lawn. Aerobic tea prevents fungal issues while anaerobic tea provides a nourishing fertilizer.
Compost Tea Benefits
Here are some of the main benefits of using compost tea:
Encourages dense, extensive root systems – The microbes condition the soil and allow grass roots to grow deeper and multiply.
Improves soil structure and nutrient availability – Microbial activity releases nutrients in a form easily absorbed by plants.
Suppresses fungal diseases like brown patch – Beneficial bacteria crowd out disease-causing fungi.
Enhances drought tolerance – Deep roots make grass more resilient to drought and heat stress.
Reduces need for chemical fertilizers – Regular teas provide a slow, steady supply of nutrients.
Brewing Your Own Compost Tea
Ready to make some “black gold” for your lawn? Here is my simple process:
- 5 gallon bucket
- Compost (well-finished)
- Burlap sack or compost tea bag
- Molasses (unsulphured)
- Air pump + air stone (for aerobic tea only)
Brewing the Tea
Fill bucket with water, leaving 1 foot at top. Add a few tablespoons of molasses – this feeds the microbes.
Place compost in a burlap sack or compost tea bag. Use 1 cup of compost per gallon of water.
Submerge sack and let compost steep for 24-48 hours.
For aerobic tea – keep water circulating with an air pump/air stone.
When done, remove sack and compost. The finished tea should smell earthy.
Use tea within a few hours, before beneficial bacteria die off.
That’s all there is to it! Now let’s look at how to apply your homemade compost tea.
Applying Compost Tea to Your Lawn
Compost tea is alive with microbes so it’s important to use it right away. Here are some tips:
Water lawn first – This allows the tea to absorb into the soil and prevents burning.
Use a sprayer – Spray evenly across the lawn. Avoid excessive runoff.
Best times to apply – Early morning or at dusk. Avoid extreme heat.
Apply every 2-4 weeks during growing season for maintenance.
Water lightly after applying to wash microbes into soil.
Apply extra doses to repair damaged areas or before peak stress seasons.
Signs Your Lawn Needs Compost Tea
Watch for these signs that your grass could use a nourishing compost tea treatment:
Poor root development – Grass pulls up easily from soil.
Mushrooms or fungal growth – Indicators of disease.
Discoloration or die-off – Patches of yellowing or dead grass.
Slow growth – Lawn grows slowly and needs frequent mowing.
Poor drainage – Standing water or muddy areas after rain.
Compost tea is a gentle solution but occasionally issues can pop up. Here’s how to troubleshoot:
Tea smells rotten – The anaerobic tea has gone septic. Discard and start over.
Grass burns after application – Likely too high of a compost ratio. Dilute tea further before spraying.
No improvement in lawn – May need higher compost ratio or more frequent applications. Ensure compost finished fully.
Severe discoloration – Damage from disease or heat stress. Apply an aerobic tea to restore microbial balance.
Weeds take over – Normal with reduced chemicals. Manually remove weeds and overseed lawn.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with different compost ratios and brew times to get the right balance for your lawn. The microbes will do the rest of the work!
Going Natural For a Healthy Lawn
I hope these tips give you the confidence to grow a lush lawn using only compost tea. Ditching synthetic chemicals has done wonders for my grass, soil, and the environment.
It may take some trial and error to tweak your compost tea recipe perfectly. But the investment of time pays off tenfold with vibrant grass that can withstand whatever weather comes its way.
The best part is realizing that a healthy lawn is so much more than just green grass. It’s an entire living ecosystem – billions of microbes working together to nourish the soil beneath your feet. Understanding this connection has made me love my lawn more than ever before!
So get brewing your own compost tea. I think your grass will thank you! Let me know if you have any other questions – I’m always excited to chat lawn care. Happy gardening!