Daily gardening tips: Use compost as a top dressing to provide nutrients to established plants

Gardening enthusiasts understand the importance of providing adequate nutrients to plants for optimal growth and development

Daily gardening tips: Use compost as a top dressing to provide nutrients to established plants

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Gardening enthusiasts understand the importance of providing adequate nutrients to plants for optimal growth and development. One effective way to ensure your plants get the nutrients they need is by using compost as a top dressing. This method offers several benefits, from enriching the soil to improving plant health and overall productivity. In this article, we will explore the various advantages of using compost as a top dressing on your established plants.

What is Compost?

Compost is a nutrient-rich substance made from decomposed organic matter. It is created through a natural process known as composting, where organic materials such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and plant matter break down over time, resulting in dark, crumbly compost that is filled with essential nutrients.

Why Use Compost as a Top Dressing?

Top dressing with compost is an excellent way to provide a slow-release source of nutrients to your established plants. Instead of incorporating compost into the soil during planting, you simply spread a layer of compost on top of the soil around the base of the plants. This method offers a range of benefits:

Enriches the Soil

Compost improves soil structure and promotes better drainage and moisture retention, resulting in a healthier growing environment for your plants. As the compost breaks down gradually, it releases essential nutrients into the soil, enhancing the overall fertility and nourishing the root systems.

Enhances Plant Health

By providing a steady supply of nutrients, compost as a top dressing helps boost plant immunity and resilience to diseases and pests. Plants growing in nutrient-rich soil are generally more vigorous, have better filtration of water and nutrients, and are less prone to stress and other environmental factors.

Reduces Weed Competition

A thick layer of compost acts as a natural weed barrier, preventing weed seeds from germinating and competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight with your established plants. This reduces the need for frequent weeding and saves both time and effort in maintaining your garden.

Encourages Beneficial Microorganisms

Compost is teeming with beneficial microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and earthworms. These organisms help break down organic matter further, releasing additional nutrients, and improving soil structure. When you use compost as a top dressing, you create an environment that encourages these microorganisms to thrive, contributing to a balanced and robust soil ecosystem.

How to Apply Compost as a Top Dressing?

Using compost as a top dressing is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:


Before applying the compost, ensure your established plants are well-watered to prevent root damage. It is advisable to remove any weeds or debris from the base of the plants before applying the top dressing.


Spread a layer of compost around the plants, making sure to avoid direct contact with the stems. A thickness of around ½ to 1 inch is usually sufficient. You can manually spread the compost or use a garden rake or shovel to distribute it evenly.


After applying the top dressing, water your plants gently to help settle the compost into the soil. Over time, the compost will break down, so periodically replenish the layer to maintain the benefits.


Using compost as a top dressing can significantly benefit your established plants and contribute to overall gardening success. Not only does it provide a steady supply of nutrients, but it also enriches the soil, enhances plant health, reduces weed competition, and encourages beneficial microorganisms. By following the simple steps for application and maintenance, you can easily incorporate this effective gardening tip into your routine and enjoy the beautiful results. Happy gardening!

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