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Washington State University - Puyallup Organic Farming Systems and Nutrient Management

Beneficial Use of Yard Trimmings in Agriculture


Composters of yard trimmings (yard waste, yard debris) sometimes have flow-management problems when seasonal flows in the spring or fall stretch the capacity of their facilities. This can cause serious odor problems. Land application of partially composted material could reduce flow problems, while providing nutrients and organic matter for local farmers. We have done field experiments and demonstrations to identify rates of yard trimmings applications that could meet crop nutritional needs and improve soil quality. Based on our research and demonstration plots and field days, conventional and organic farmers have rapidly taken interest in yard trimmings, with commercial applications to corn, rhubarb, and bulbs.

Photo of rhubarb fertilized with yard trimmings.
Rhubarb fertilized with yard trimmings.



♣ Characterization of Fresh Yard Trimmings for Agricultural Use (Request pdf e-copy). Bary, A.I., C.G. Cogger, D.M. Sullivan, and E.A. Myhre. 2005. Bioresource Technol. 96:1499-1504.

♣ Yard Trimmings as a Source of Nitrogen for Crop Production (Request pdf e-copy). Bary, A.I., C.G. Cogger, and E.A. Myhre. 2004. Compost Sci. Utiliz. 12:11-17.

♣ Nitrogen Availability and Decomposition of Urban Yard Trimmings in Soil (Request pdf e-copy). Sullivan, D.M., T.J. Nartea, A.I. Bary, C.G. Cogger, and E.A. Myhre. 2004. Soil Sci. 169:697-707.

♣ Fertilizing Farmland with Yard Trimmings from Landscape Maintenance (PDF-Online). Bary, A.I., C.G. Cogger, and D.M. Sullivan. 2016. FS222E. Washington State University Extension.

♣ Predicting Nitrogen Availability from Yard Debris (PDF-Online). Sullivan, D.M., C.G. Cogger, A.I. Bary, E.A. Myhre, and J. Choate. 2001. Western Nutrient Management Conference. 4:210-218. Conference proceeding.

♣ Yard Trimmings Effect on Corn Production and Nutrient Availability (PDF-Online). Bary, A.I., C.G. Cogger, S.C. Fransen, and E.A. Myhre. 1999. In T.A. Tindall and D. Westerman (ed.) Proc. Western Nutrient Management Conference 3:128-133. Salt Lake City, UT. 4-5 Mar. 1999. Phosphate and Potash Institute, Manhattan, KS. Conference proceeding.