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How We Make Compost and Topsoil

When Gaston’s Tree Service started in 1972, the business’s sole focus was on tree trimming and tree removal. 

Over time we began to develop a significant amount of recycled tree debris. Then, in the late 1980s, Florida passed the George Kirkpatrick Recycling Bill which made everything we were doing to manage that debris illegal. 

It was then that we started our recycling company, Gaston Tree Debris Recycling and serendipitously became the first site in Florida permitted to recycle “yard waste”.

For this reason, The City of Gainesville and Alachua County asked us to manage the yard waste from all of their curbside pickup operations. Then, just before we launched, they asked us to open our facilities to the public.

This request, though exciting, now required that sand, dirt, and fines be screened out in order to make acceptable wood products for the energy, paper, and landscaping sectors.

As a result, we were left with a large pile of naturally decomposing organic matter. Tons of it, in fact.

It wasn’t until an agronomy professor from the University of Florida caught wind of our operation that we realized the value in this precious resource. He was the first to bring our attention to the “gold-mine” (as he put it) that was being created as a result of our tree debris recycling operation: compost and topsoil.

What are Compost and Topsoil?

Compost and topsoil are the product of decomposing organic matter. In fact, they are the expected result of our natural systems.

When vegetation such as leaves and tree matter fall to the ground, it deteriorates and is broken down (or composted) into the outermost layer of the earth. 

While complimentary, there are differences between compost and topsoil.

What is Topsoil?

Topsoil is the upper exterior soil (the top 2-8 inches) where the most organic matter and microorganisms are concentrated. Plants spread their roots in this soil layer. It is both high in nutrients and beneficial organisms and provides the perfect environment for new growth.

Much of Florida’s native topsoil has been stripped due to modern agricultural and lawn care methods, leaving our soil much less fertile than it once was. As societies have transitioned their land from natural vegetation to more agriculture-based vegetation, the soil has been impacted.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that over the past 150 years, half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost as a result of erosion and degradation.

The result of these practices is that much of the land we use for gardens, landscaping, and farming just doesn’t have the natural fertility it once did. As such, we have to improve the soil with organic matter like compost and mulch.

What is Compost?

Compost results from decomposing organic matter into simpler organic or inorganic matter that is then added to topsoil to provide nutrition, improve drainage, and help reduce compaction. 

Together, topsoil and compost comprise garden soil. Using quality compost and topsoil for your lawn projects can make all the difference when it comes to the health and vitality of your yard.

How We Make Compost and Topsoil

Our rich, organic compost and topsoil are a byproduct of our tree debris recycling operations. Here’s how it works:

  1. Pickup: When Gaston Tree Debris Recycling picks up tree debris or green waste from your home or project site, it is taken to a recycling center
  2. Grind: Once at the recycling center, it is ground into mulch and organized according to product type. 
  3. Screen: Next, the mulch is screened to remove any dirt, debris, or small pieces. The mulch is then made ready for sale.
  4. Compost: The remaining product is then placed in a large pile to be aerobically composted. Natural composting creates temperatures of up to 150 degrees. This kills insects, fungi, and weed seeds and helps break down man-made chemicals into biologically harmless elements like carbon and water. 
  5. Sell: Once fully composted (after a year or so), this product is made ready for sale as topsoil by screening again to remove any large particles. 

Benefits of Gaston Topsoil and Compost

Using only the best topsoil and compost ensures the correct nutrient balance,  consistency, and acidity for your soil. Florida’s median soil pH is 6.1, or slightly acidic.

High Quality

Gaston Mulch and Soil topsoil is produced during tree and land clearing debris collection, grinding, and recycling. The filtered organic material left over as mulch and wood chips is then screened and composted, leaving a soil-like, multi-use, nutrient, and biological activity-rich product. 

High-quality topsoil should feel gritty and crumble when held, affirming its organic matter make-up.

Cost Savings

Buying compost and topsoil directly from Gaston Mulch and Soil offers significant cost savings on the industry-standard $160-$220 per cubic yard price. 

We offer another way to save money by making it easy to know how much you need for your project, which you can determine using our helpful calculator. No amount is too big or too small — we have you covered, whether you need 1 yard or 500. 

Where to Buy Compost and Topsoil?

Visit One of Our Facilities: For bulk topsoil purchases, customers can come by one of our facilities or we can provide delivery throughout the state of Florida. 

Order Online: For delivery orders less than 8 yards, we encourage customers to purchase online. 

Call: Due to the weight of compost and topsoil, if you need more than 8 yards, we recommend you call. 

In-Store: We supply a number of respected landscape wholesalers and bagged plant potting mix providers. In fact, if you’ve recently purchased a bag of topsoil from a big box store, hardware store, or nursery and garden center, there’s a good chance that part of it came from Gaston Mulch and Soil! 

Onsite Grinding and Composting Services: One of the struggles we hear from many of our agricultural customers is the challenge of having to bring in topsoil or compost in large quantities. As such, we are proud to partner with local farmers to bring materials to their site and process them for beneficial use on the farm.

Don’t let your food scraps and garden waste go to waste, learn more about how our process works with you and the environment.

Trust Gaston Mulch and Soil for your Topsoil and Compost Needs

At Gaston Mulch and Soil, we create all of our premium landscaping products, including organic topsoil, compost, and mulch and chips, from the highest quality, recycled tree debris. If you are just starting to grow your garden, focusing on refreshing your landscape, or wanting to learn how to integrate fresh topsoil into your home or business’s agricultural practices, contact our expert team at Gaston Mulch & Soil. We are ready to help you grow the beautiful yard you have been dreaming of — starting today.