Contaminated Commercial Compost

Q: I’m concerned about herbicide-contaminated commercial compost. Big box stores have lots of different top soil/compost/manure products. Do they guarantee them to be herbicide-free?

A: Unless a bag label says it contains manure, it probably does not. Bagged soil amendments and mulches don’t contain manure because the manure would decompose the woody material and release odor. Bagged animal manure has been thoroughly composted for the same reason. I suppose it’s possible for bagged manure to be contaminated with herbicide but I’d be comfortable buying any products that display the quality seal of the Mulch & Soil Council or the US Composting Council.

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