FAQ: About Compost Tea

Q:  What is compost tea?

A:  Compost tea is a compost extract brewed with a microbial food source such as molasses, kelp, rock dust, humic-fulvic acids.  The compost-tea brewing process extracts and grows populations of beneficial microorganisms.


Q:  Why use compost tea?

A:  Compost tea is used for two reasons:  To include microbial life into the soil or onto the foliage of plants, and to add soluble nutrients to the foliage or to the soil to feed the organisms and the plants present.  The use of compost tea is suggested any time that the organisms in the soil or on the plants are not at optimum numbers.  Chemical based pesticides, fumigants, herbicides, and some synthetic fertilizers kill a wide range of beneficial microorganisms that encourage plant growth, while compost teas improve the overall life in the soil and the surface of plants.  High quality compost tea will inoculate the leaf surface and soil with beneficial microorganisms, instead of killing them. 


Q:  When is the best time of year to apply compost tea?

A: It is beneficial to apply compost tea from spring through fall when the nighttime temperature is consistently above 40 degrees F. The fall season is the most important time to apply compost tea. Supplying nutrients and giving plants a healthy boost helps them survive the winter and emerge even stronger and healthier in the spring.


Q: How often should compost tea be applied?

A: Ideally, compost tea should be applied to lawns, gardens, shrubs, and trees five times per year: twice in spring, once in summer, and twice in the fall. Fewer applications can be applied based on needs and budgets. You can’t over-apply compost tea.

Q: Is it safe for kids and pets when they play on a lawn treated with compost tea?

A: Absolutely! Compost tea is made from all-natural, organic ingredients. There are no harmful chemicals or additives. There are no pesticides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers used. Your kids and pets are completely safe when they play on a lawn treated with compost tea.


Q: Will my lawn look greener?

A: Be careful comparing compost tea to services which use synthetic ingredients to boost the green color of your lawn. It is much better to have a healthier lawn, not necessarily one that looks like it was spray-painted green. You can have a healthy green color with compost tea though.


Q: Will compost tea function like a pesticide or herbicide?

A: Strictly speaking, compost tea is not a pesticide or herbicide. Compost tea will make your lawn and plants unattractive to pests and the application process will wash them off. It will then leave your plants healthier, better able to fend off attacks from pathogens and pests. Compost tea does not kill anything! Rather, your lawn will have fewer weeds when the grass is healthier. Healthy, hearty grass will "crowd out" weeds, leaving you with a more beautiful lawn.


Q: What about "run off"? What will happen if compost tea finds its way into storm drains and local streams?+

A: Compost tea absorbs into the soil and the plant tissues so it's less likely to run off in the first place. And if any of it does find its way into the local water system, that's perfectly fine. In fact, compost tea is good for the environment

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