Soil Conditioner vs Compost

Compost and soil conditioner are two terms that are very interchangeable with one another. In point of fact, you can get either one of them at stores or make them at home. However, prior to selecting one option over another, it is critical to have a thorough understanding of the differences between the two. Since they are both useful in enhancing the quality of the soil, today we will focus on the specifics.

Compost is made from organic scraps and materials that are found around your home, whereas soil conditioner is typically purchased as a pre-made mixture that is used to enhance the nutrients that are already present in your soil. Compost is an excellent way to recycle these types of materials. There is value in employing either one of them in the maintenance of lawns and gardens.

You'll also learn the following information about soil conditioner versus compost and other types of organic matter as you read through the rest of this article:


  • Both soil amendments have their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Recommendations to make use of particular types of compost or soil conditioners

  • How they can be put to use in the garden that you have.

What is Soil Conditioner?

A substance that is added to soil in order to improve its physical qualities by increasing aeration, water holding capacity, and nutrients or soil fertility is known as a soil conditioner.

They are utilized to improve soil quality or to rebuild soil that has been damaged as a result of improper management.

The use of soil conditioners helps break up soil that has become compacted, hardpan, or clay and releases nutrients that have been locked up.

According to SSWM, the pH levels can be altered in either direction, depending on the components that make them up.

It's possible for soil conditioners to be made of organic matter, inorganic matter, synthetic matter, or a combination of all three.

Pulverized limestone, gypsum, slate, polysaccharides, glauconitic, and polyacrylamides are some of the components that can be found in soil conditioners.



What is Compost?


Compost is defined as organic material that has decayed or is in the process of decaying and is used as a fertilizer for growing plants.

Compost is produced through a technique known as composting, which entails piling up various parts of plants, such as dead leaves, vegetable peels, and grass clippings, and then allowing aerobic bacteria, fungi, and other organisms to do their work in breaking down the material into smaller and smaller pieces.

It is important to keep in mind that the use of compost and other organic materials can be rendered useless by the presence of particular substances. The unfortunate truth is that one of them is dog urine. If you want to know how to fix the damage caused by dog urine to the grass, read on.


Should You Use Soil Conditioner or Compost?       

Pros Of Composting




  • Compost improves the nutrient mix in the soil structure. Using compost enhances water retention in the soil mix, which is essential in hot climates since plants can survive without irrigation much longer than soil that is not mixed with compost.

  • Compost is made up of organic food waste and other materials that can be composted making it entirely organic, unlike other fertilizers that can lead to soil and groundwater pollution.

  • Higher crop yields are realized by the use of compost in gardening. Compost is a fertilizer that improves growth in plants and also maximizes crop yields. Plants treated with compost are more likely to increase in overall yields depending on the original materials used for producing the compost.

  • Composting is entirely eco-friendly as it ensures the amount of household waste is reduced. There’s less need for chemical fertilizers. Composting your organic food waste saves plenty of waste in the long run.

  • It’s relatively simple to produce compost from organic materials as no special physical abilities are needed.

  • Composting makes use of organic food waste leading to low cost. The only cost implication is of purchasing a compost bin as there will be no need for conventional chemical fertilizers from the store.


Cons of Composting


  • Depending on the types of organic food waste that are used in the composting process, an offensive odor can result from the process. Composting is not always a viable option for people who live in apartment complexes (follow these tips if you live in an apartment). Make sure you don't use certain foods for composting that are known to emit large amounts of unpleasant gases. This is one way to get rid of the odor caused by the composting process.

  • The process of composting can be quite intimidating. You will be required to move the compost pit around at least twice per week so that there is adequate air circulation throughout the area. Depending on how much compost there is, this could amount to a significant amount of manual labor.

  • Keeping an eye on the composting process is essential if you want to achieve optimal results. Make sure that your compost has the right temperature and that it is set up in the right place so that it receives the appropriate amount of sunlight.

  • Long periods of time are required for the transformation of food scraps into something that can be used as compost. Environmentally Conscious enlightens us on the fact that the composting process can take anywhere from one month to one year, depending on the types of materials that are put into it, before the organic matter has been completely broken down and is ready to be used as fertilizer or soil conditioner. This time frame is determined by the type of materials that are put into it.


Pros of Soil Conditioners







  • It is simple to perform a soil test in your garden and obtain the specific type of conditioner that is required by the soil in your garden. The reason for this is that the label provides a breakdown of the constituent nutrients that your farm might require.

  • Producing soil conditioners in the comfort of your own home, similar to composting, can be accomplished with the help of organic food scraps and waste. This has the additional benefit of lowering overall costs. Aeration in the soil is another benefit that can be gained from using it, as stated in Gardening Know How.

  • In regions that are prone to water shortages or rainfall, soil conditioning with the use of humus helps to retain water because the spongy structure of the organic matter aids in binding water molecules together along with some other inorganic matter that acts as either micro or macro nutrients. This is true even in regions that are prone to flooding.

  • Because of their capacity to bind and stabilize soil particles, soil conditioners, such as polysaccharides and polyacrylamides, contribute to the reduction of soil erosion. These soil conditioners also promote the formation of soil aggregates and stop the surface runoff of water and sheet erosion.


Cons of Soil Conditioners


  • It is possible for it to be pricey, particularly when compared to the cost of purchasing inorganic substances as opposed to the cost of producing organic substances at home from organic waste.

  • The soil must first be tested in order to determine its condition before the appropriate amount of soil conditioner can be added to it; this is a skill that must be mastered in order to achieve optimal results. Either an excess or a deficiency of it can be detrimental to the fertility of the soil.

  • Once water penetrates the soil and reaches the water table, the presence of excessive amounts of fertilizer in the soil can contaminate the water table. Runoff from the land's surface into water bodies, such as rivers, can lead to contamination of the water.

  • It is a time-consuming process, particularly if you prefer to use composting as your primary method of amending the soil. This is due to the fact that the composting process typically takes about a year to complete, although this time frame can vary depending on the organic material that was used.





Composting or using soil conditioners can have a significant impact on the quality of the soil in your yard. Composting only uses organic materials.

The use of soil conditioners that contain both organic and inorganic components has been criticized as being more damaging to the soil and more harmful to the environment than the use of this method, which has garnered praise for being more environmentally friendly.

However, the addition of particular amendments to the soil is necessary for effective management of the soil. In comparison to composting, this method is both more expedient and more scientific in its approach.

Whether you should use one or the other depends, in the end, on the nature of the soil in your garden and the requirements it places on that soil.

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