Study Considers Compost as Nutrient Source for Apple Orchards

Research published in Soil Science Society of America Journal shows that applying compost in apple orchards could reduce the need for synthetic fertilizer. A research team led by Gregory Peck at Cornell University applied composts—such as chicken litter and yard waste—to apple orchards. Researchers found that adding compost increased the number of soil bacteria associated with recycling nutrients. The compost provides additional food for the bacteria to help them thrive. This larger microbial community means more nutrients are available to the apple trees, so less fertilizer is needed. Furthermore, using compost in apple orchards helps provides a sustainable use for waste materials.