City going green with compost

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The city introduced the county’s first compost topdressing program on Thursday. It involves using compost instead of synthetic fertilizers for grass.

The city joined the Midwest Goes Green program to develop ways to manage the city’s turf grass without synthetic chemicals, and they’re doing that with the help of something in the community’s own backyard.

“We’re very fortunate in Urbana-Champaign we have the Landscape Recycling Center and that’s operated by the City of Urbana,” said Scott Tess, Sustainability and Resilience Officer for the City of Urbana. “That facility takes in landscape trimmings, and turns it into organic, natural compost. So we buy the compost from our community owned facility, and then we’re using it on our turf grasses as fertilizer instead of synthetic chemicals.”

The city gave a demonstration on the city building’s organic south lawn. They used the a newly purchased spreader to incorporate the compost on it. Tess said it’s a better alternative to grow healthy grass.

“It produces a really strong turf for a number of reasons,” said Tess. “Synthetic chemical fertilizers have nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but they don’t have the soil structure that improves the soil and helps it retain water. So the natural compost has some advantages.”

The city will continue to add topdressing next spring and summer.

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