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How We Make Compost and Topsoil

When Gaston’s Tree Service started in 1972, its 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.

Though exciting, this request now required that sand, dirt, and fines be screened out 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 of 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 essentially 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 falls to the ground, it deteriorates and is broken down (or composted) into the earth’s outermost layer. 

As a result, this “topsoil” is where most of the Earth’s biological soil activity occurs. It is both high in nutrients and beneficial organisms and provides the perfect environment for new growth. 

Unfortunately, due to over-farming and poor agricultural practices over the last century, we are wearing out this natural resource. 

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 due to erosion and degradation.

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

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 human-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. 

Where to Buy Compost and Topsoil?

Our goal is to help you with your project, no matter the size. Whether you need 1 yard or 500, we can help. 

To determine the amount of topsoil you will need for your project, check out our helpful calculator (located in the sidebar). 

For bulk topsoil purchases, customers can come by one of our facilities or we can provide delivery throughout the state of Florida. For delivery orders less than 8 yards, we encourage customers to purchase online. Due to the weight of compost and topsoil, if you need more than 8 yards, we recommend you call. 

In addition to this, 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. 

Trust Gaston Mulch and Soil for your Topsoil and Compost Needs

At Gaston Mulch and Soil, we create our landscape products from the highest quality, recycled tree debris. This includes organic topsoil, compost, and mulch. 

If you are starting a garden, refreshing your landscape, or would like to discuss how to integrate fresh topsoil into your agricultural practices, contact our team at Gaston Mulch & Soil, we’d love to help you with your project.