Mushroom compost is a nutrient-rich medium that can effectively enhance plant growth in your garden. However, it is not equally beneficial for all fruit plants.
Letâ€™s discover the usability of mushroom compost.
Is Mushroom Compost Good for Fruit Trees?
Yes, mushroom compost is suitable for many fruit trees. However, some fruit trees donâ€™t find it beneficial because of its alkalinity and salinity.
Though mushroom compost is usually considered alkaline as it contains gypsum, it has a fairly neutral pH.
So, mushroom compost wonâ€™t cause much trouble for acid-loving fruit trees. However, it will lower the acidic component in your soil.
If you want to check the pH of your soil before using mushroom compost, try the Luster Leaf Kit. Buy it by clicking on this link.
Because of its saline nature, mushroom compost affects the water availability to plants. They have high salt content, which means they attract water.
So, if you are using them on a plant that requires high water availability, they might affect the plant’s water needs.
How Does Mushroom Compost Work for Fruit Trees?
Mushroom compost works great for fruit trees. It helps in water retention, improving soil structure, and attracting effective insects. Besides, it offers optimal nitrogen content, a high level of calcium, and mulching.
- Soil Water Retention
Mushroom compost is an ideal option for plants whose roots need constant moisture. Mushroom compost has the ability to retain, which means you won’t have to water the plants frequently. It will save you time and energy and wonâ€™t affect your plants.
- Environment Friendly
The main component of mushroom compost is the by-product of mushroom industries, which means it is an eco-friendly choice. Besides, it also helps save water reserves by eliminating the need for frequent watering as it retains water efficiently.
- Contributes to Soil Structure
Mushroom composts help improve the soil structure because they are made up of a straw base. It prevents water logging by dissolving lumps and dense parts of the soil.
It also helps in enhancing the water drainage capacity of the soil. Consequently, it improves plant health and prevents diseases such as root rot.
- Optimal Nitrogen Content
Mushroom compost has a low nitrogen level, and it is an ideal option for many fruit trees as high nitrogen content can be dangerous for them.
Fertilizers with high nitrogen content usually lead to the excessive growth of vegetation by compromising the quality of fruit.
Besides, high-nitrogen fertilizers can also contribute to weed growth. So, mushroom compost is an ideal option if you are looking for options that provide optimal nitrogen content.
One of the best parts of using mushroom compost is that it acts like a slow-release fertilizer. It provides your plant with many nutrients over time without bombarding any specific nutrient in high concentration. It allows plants to absorb nutrients efficiently and thrive.
- High Level of Calcium
Most vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, require an adequate amount of calcium when growing up. Mushroom compost offers a high level of calcium to fruit plants, fulfilling their nutrient needs and preventing diseases.
- Mulching Properties
Mushroom compost can effectively work as mulch. It can act as an insulation sheet against extreme weather conditions when applied in layers.
Besides, it retains moisture and prevents water from evaporating. It also absorbs nutrients and seeps them down into the soil.
- Attracts Effective Insects
Some insects are essential for the healthy growth of your plants, such as earthworms. Mushroom compost keeps your garden moist by resting water, which is an ideal germinating condition for earthworms. Consequently, earthworms and other beneficial insects are attracted to your plants.
For Which Fruit Trees is Mushroom Compost Good?
Mushroom compost is good for plants such as cucumbers, strawberries, figs, etc. Just make sure you use mushroom compost in acidic soil, as it is not a good option for alkaline soil.
For Which Fruit Trees isn’t Mushroom Compost Good?
Mushroom compost is not suitable for plants like blueberries, peppers, cranberries, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, etc. Generally, mushroom compost is not ideal for fruit trees that require lots of water, as it will affect the plant’s water needs because of its saline nature.
Before you opt for mushroom compost, check the salt-tolerance and salt-sensitive nature of the plant. All fruit plants react differently to salinity and alkalinity. Some plants inclined towards acidic soils do not go well with mushroom compost.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using Mushroom Compost for Fruit Trees?
- Doesnâ€™t stink
- Retains moisture
- Prevents waterlogging
- Enriches soil
- Regulates weed growth
- High salt content
- Low nitrogen content
- Gypsum can stunt plant growth
How to Make Mushroom Compost for Fruit Trees?
Though mushroom compost bags are available in the market, you can make them at home by chopping, cleaning, and soaking straws in boiling water.
You can do it in just five simple steps.
- The basic component of mushroom compost is straw. Chop the straw into small pieces by using a wood chipper.
- Take soapy water and clean the chipped straw.
- Pasteurize the chipped straw. Take boiling water and soak the cleaned chipped straw in it. Keep it in boiling water for almost an hour, preferably at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take it out of the boiling water and let it cool.
- Use mushroom spores to plant the chipped straw once itâ€™s cool.
Which Other Plants Also Like Mushroom Compost?
Some other plants that like mushroom compost are butterfly weed, Gazania, Hibiscus, â€‹Honeysuckle, lavender, â€‹lilac, Polemoniums, prickly pear cactus, etc.
What are the Best Alternatives for Mushroom Compost for Fruit Trees?
As mentioned, mushroom compost is not suitable for some plants. For them, you can use potting soil, cow manure, mulch, warm compost, or kitchen waste compost instead of mushroom compost.
- Potting Soil
If you are looking for an option that helps you with water drainage problems, potting soil is an ideal choice. It is a mixture of peat moss, tree bark, and perlite.
The best part about potting soil is that it comes in varying pH ranges. So, you can select the one that suits the pH requirements of your garden.
One drawback of potting soil is that it lacks essential nutrients. However, you can easily compensate for this lack using slow-release fertilizers, such as Jobeâ€™s Organics fertilizer. You can buy this evergreen fertilizer by clicking on this link.
- Cow Manure
The main problem of mushroom compost is its salinity, and cow manure is the best solution to counter this issue. Besides, cow manure can effectively enhance water drainage properties and provide optimal nutrient content to your plants.
Just as mushroom compost contributes to the growth of beneficial insects, cow manure provides suitable conditions for beneficial bacteria. If you are making cow manure at home, ensure it is appropriately composted before using it.
Mulch is a great alternative to mushroom compost, and it can be of anything. To make mulch, you can use leaf mold, hay, straw, newspaper, cardboard, grass, crushed eggshell, or any other organic or inorganic component. Just search mulch components on the internet, and it will come up with hundreds of practicable ideas.
The most effective types of mulch for fruit trees are chopped organic wheat straw, gravel, bark, or well-rotted manure. It helps in water retention and insulation of soil against extreme weather conditions. Also, it acts as a barrier against harmful insects and weed growth.
- Worm Compost
It is an ideal option for small gardens. It has all the qualities of mushroom compost, and you can easily make it at home. You can make worm compost by adding worms and waste to a composter. It will automatically drain liquid fertilizer for you.
- Kitchen Waste Compost
You can use kitchen waste, such as vegetable peels, teabags, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc., to make kitchen waste compost at home, which is a great alternative to mushroom compost. If you opt for it, make sure you have a separate area for accumulating compost heap.