Are Nutrients Used Up in Decomposition – & Is Adding Organic Materials to Soil Beneficial?

Because microorganisms use nitrogen  to decompose organic material, such as sawdust, the process of decay can temporarily lower the amount of available nitrogen in the soil.  Remember that the loss is temporary, and that proper application of a balanced natural mineral nutrient mix, like the Mittleider Weekly Feed, will almost always eliminate any deficiency. 
The other potential problem is that sawdust typically has a low pH, and so the addition of calcium is important.  We recomment the use of  the Mittleider Pre-Plant mix to supply ample calcium.  Both Weekly Feed and Pre-Plant formulas are available in the Fertilizer pages of the Learn section on this website.
There can be some benefits to adding organic matter to your soil.  The nutritional value us over-rated, however, and you never know how much of anything you’re getting, so we do not recommend you count on compost for feeding your plants.
Benefits include the fact that it can:
  • Increase the soil’s ability to hold water.
  • Create pores in the soil to improve soil oxygen.
  • Loosen clay soil, making root growth easier.
  • Help moderate soil temperatures.