Feed your soil what it really wants
Whether your goal is the best lawn on the block, a field of turfgrass that can withstand the punishment of an active playing season or a stand of field corn that will meet or exceed yield expectations, a key element in any planting plan is building soil organic matter. McGill compost products deliver organic matter and so much more.
From our 100% SoilBuilder compost to specialty blends, McGill compost products offer consistent quality, ease of application and a slew of other benefits unmatched by synthetics or low-quality organic soil amendments — all at a competitive price.
McGill SoilBuilder is a premium, 100% compost and the base ingredient of all of our specialty products. Use for lawns, gardens, topsoil manufacture, planting mixes and more. Best choice for plasticulture and horse hay. Learn more about SoilBuilder or view the SoilBuilder InfoSheet.
McGill SportsTurf is a finely-screened version of SoilBuilder, formulated for use on active playing fields. Use pre-, mid-, and post- season to keep turfgrass in peak condition. Improves drainage, too. Learn more about SportsTurf or view the SportsTurf InfoSheet.
McGill LandscapeMix is the newest addition to our product family. Blended with SoilBuilder and quality amendments to provide the ideal media for planting beds and backfill around trees, shrubs and foundations. Learn more about LandscapeMix or view the LandscapeMix rack card.
McGill ErosionControl is blended and formulated to meet DOT specifications for erosion control and other sediment-stormwater management projects calling for the use of compost socks, berms and blankets. Learn more about ErosionControl or view the ErosionControl InfoSheet.
McGill AG is a lightly-cured version of SoilBuilder. Slightly higher NPK. Formulated for use in conventional agriculture only. Not recommended for plasticulture, transplant production or horse hay/pasture. For these types of applications, use SoilBuilder, instead. Learn more about AG or view the AG InfoSheet.
McGill CustomBlends. Have a special blend requirement? Contact a McGill products rep with your specifications.
COMPOST USE FOR PROS
Focus topics for landscaping and turfgrass professionals
McGill compost products offer premium, consistent quality and year-round availability for green industry professionals. All products are available in bulk quantities throughout the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S.
STA-certified McGill SoilBuilder compost is available in the U.S. in 1 cu. ft. bags from landscape supply retailers or by the truckload (1,000 bags) directly from McGill.
Bulk compost is also available from our facilities in Ireland.
COMPOST USE FOR AGRICULTURE
Compost delivers better yields, higher profits
If cutting back on chemicals, reducing irrigation and improving yields are high on the To Do list for this planting season, start with a good foundation — compost-amended soil.
Once the secret of organic growers, compost use has spread to conventional agriculture, delivering a bumper crop of benefits while boosting profits.
Broadcast, till or side-dress to add a full range of macro and micronutrients, improve soil tilth, degrade pollutants, reduce erosion and a whole lot more.
Compost — it’s what your soil really wants.
Plastic mulch and compost — a dynamic duo for commercial produce growers
Plastic mulch and compost is a powerful combination for commercial produce production.
Plasticulture is the general term for the use of plastic materials for agricultural applications. These applications range from tunnel covers to plastic mulch.
Pairing compost with production strategies that include plastic is becoming a common practice for commercial produce growers. The practice is proven as an effective alternative to chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Compost delivers as an alternative to methyl bromide and other fumigants. But it also reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers, improves soil tilth and holds moisture. Professional growers using McGill compost products report higher net profits. Instead of McGill AG, the more stable/mature McGill SoilBuilder is recommended for plasticulture production.
Specialized equipment allows both plastic and compost to be installed in one pass.
Topdressing and banded row
On farm, compost can be applied by the same equipment used to spread manure.
The advantage of compost use over manure, however, is its stability. When used for pasture and hay fields, it also offers the advantage of self-pasteurization, protecting livestock from parasites and other undesirable organisms that may still be alive and active in raw manures.
Compost contains everything needed for healthy soil amendment because it provides essential nutrients. Compost contains many of the micronutrients needed for healthy soil that are absent from most synthetic fertilizers. Amend your soil using McGill’s AG compost:
- Compost releases nutrients slowly over a period of months and reduces the number of applications needed for soil amendment or topdressing
- Incorporate into sandy soils to help with water retention
- Incorporate into heavy soil to help relieve compaction problems
- Topdressing combined with core aeration can place organic material deeper into the soil
“Banding” is the practice of laying down a strip of compost where it’s needed most rather than broadcasting product over open ground.
While most farmers will broadcast compost prior to planting to provide general soil improvement, some will come back later in the growing season with a banded side-dress for an extra boost at critical points in the crop cycle. Banded applications are also ideal for improving soils in established vineyards, orchards, tree farms and similar agricultural areas with tree/crop stands that will span multiple seasons.
The banded row may be used as a topdressing followed by light incorporation or deep tilled, depending on the specific use.
However, McGill AG compost may not be the right choice for general “pop-up”-type banded seeding applications. Please discuss plans with your McGill product representative before direct-seeding into or in conjunction with McGill AG banding, as McGill SoilBuilder may be the better product choice for these applications.
Horse hay and pasture require a mature, stable compost
McGill AG, formulated for conventional agriculture, is recommended for row crops and open ground cultivation where the attributes of a fresh compost are acceptable. It can be used successfully for cattle and other livestock that will tolerate lower-value soil amendments.
But for horse hay and pasture, a more mature, stable product is required. McGill SoilBuilder compost is specifically designed to benefit hay fields and pasture through repeated compost applications.
- MOISTURE — Compost helps balance moisture levels by holding more water during dry weather. It also helps soil drain faster during wet spells. It can reduce irrigation requirements.
- SOIL MICROBES — Compost use replenishes microbial populations to rebuild depleted soils and repair damaged soil.
- LONG-TERM RESULTS — See benefits of a single application through multiple seasons.
- SOIL ORGANIC MATTER — Compost adds organic matter and builds soil tilth.
A stable, high-quality compost is always preferred, whether composted on-farm or purchased from a reputable compost vendor. Purveyors of quality compost products will also have analytical information available to assist growers in calculating the right application rates for each field. Ask for compost certified under the U.S. Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) program.
COMPOST USE FOR HOMEOWNERS
Landscape and garden – create a better yard with compost
Compost can make all the difference when it comes to creating healthy soil. For landscape and garden, compost contains everything needed in essential plant nutrients and is a more beneficial alternative to synthetic fertilizers.
Unlike synthetic fertilizers, compost contains a full range of macro and micronutrients. It releases nutrients slowly over a period of months, extending benefits over multiple growing seasons. It’s an economical solution, too, saving money by reducing the need for irrigation, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
In areas of human habitation, the natural topsoil layer has been stripped away or dramatically reduced. That which we consider topsoil is often dead subsoil. Building soil organic matter (SOM) through compost use restores soil health. It creates the environment required for the proliferation of soil’s beneficial critters (like earthworms and microbes) and restores functionality to depleted soils.
A healthy soil is the foundation for any good water management program. From retaining water during dry spells to disbursing puddles after a deluge to lightening the pollutant load in stormwater runoff, the use of compost is a core component of modern landscape and turfgrass management programs.
- Acts like a sponge to hold many times its weight in water
- Relieves soil compaction
- Improves pore space and allows excess water to percolate
- Improves field and greenscape recovery after storm events
- Reduces stormwater and pollution runoff
- Controls sediment loss and erosion
Landscape and garden
- Refresh your lawn. Sprinkle 1/8-1/4 inch and rake in for a quick pre-, mid- or post-season boost. Need help with some serious lawn maintenance? Watch this Joe Lamp’l video from the U.S. Composting Council. Feeling adventurous? Embrace the Freedom Lawn.
- Backfill around foundations, trees and shrubs using excavated soil mixed with compost in a 50:50 blend. Use up to 30 percent compost for sensitive plantings.
- Double digging? Add a couple of inches of compost and work into the top 4-6 inches of soil.
- For established beds, sprinkle 1/4 inch or more of compost on top of the soil, then add mulch. Compost can also be used as mulch (try a 1-2-inch layer), but do not pile compost mulch up around the base of woody shrubs and trees. As with many types of mulch, this practice can invite insect damage.
- Blanket beds at the end of the growing season with an inch or two of compost. Over the winter, earthworms will work the compost into the soil for you.
Make your own topsoil
Studies have shown manufacturing quality topsoil on site can be half the cost of “importing” topsoil. This is especially significant when the only topsoil available for purchase is of poor quality and adds little-to-no performance value.
To make topsoil, remove the existing turf layer, then add 1-2 inches of SoilBuilder. Incorporate to a depth of 6-8 inches. Native soil removed during construction projects can be blended at 1 part compost to 2 parts soil to make topsoil for later use in establishing turf and landscaping. Compost can also be substituted 1:1 for peat moss.
Buy McGill SoilBuilder in a bag
What’s the size?
1 cubic foot (weighs about 40 pounds).
How do I use it?
Top dressing, soil amendment and mix ingredient. Read the back of the bag for use instructions and number of bags required for your project.
Can I recycle the bag?
Yes. Our new bags are compostable using a high-rate industrial process like McGill’s. But since many communities are not served by these types of facilities, we manufacture our bags from a special film that will also break down in a landfill or recycle with other plastics.
BUY McGILL COMPOST PRODUCTS
How much compost do you need?
Calculate total cubic feet or cubic yards of compost required using our compost calculator.
To order McGill compost products
McGill compost products are sold in tractor-trailer loads from facilities in the mid-Atlantic, Carolinas, Florida and Ireland. Contact us for pricing and availability.
Don’t need a truckload? Purchase from one of these authorized resellers.
BECOME AN AUTHORIZED RESELLER
If you would like to add McGill compost products to your retail or wholesale offerings — or use as ingredients in blends you offer to these markets — please contact our corporate office at 919-362-1161 or use this contact form.
We offer bagged and bulk delivery by the tractor-trailer load. If you want to pick up product at one of our facilities, you must transport using a commercial vehicle with a CDL-licensed driver behind the wheel wearing a hard hat and safety vest. The vehicle must also be large enough to safely accommodate a wheel loader equipped with a 5 cubic yard bucket. (Pick-up trucks do not fall within this category.)
McGill’s indoor, climate-controlled facilities have been designed for the manufacture of premium compost products. Facility designs, systems and technologies offer scientifically-enhanced composting processes that manufacture products delivering:
- Higher yields with fewer chemicals — Create healthier soil structure and increase organic matter, an essential element to key soil processes and organisms.
- More water where you need it — Improve growing conditions. Boost the water-holding capacity of your soil. Keep more moisture at the root zone.
- Improved drainage — Reduce water-logging after heavy rain or over-watering. Increase pore space to encourage rapid percolation.
- Slow release — Get and hold more nutrients at the root zone. High Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) delivers slow-release performance.
- Dependability — Consistent product quality. Year-round supply you can rely on.
Published: September 7, 2016
Updated: June 26, 2020