Compost Tea

What is Compost Tea?

Boston Tree Preservation’s compost tea is a water extract of compost that is brewed to give the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes a chance to increase in number and activity using the nutrients present in the water. Composted worm castings are the main ingredient of compost tea. The worm castings, or soil castings, which are very high in beneficial fungi and bacteria, are collected from over 5 million worms in our worm farm, in a process called Vermicomposting.

How is it made?

The worms are fed organic food waste including spent coffee pods from BostonBean Coffee Company.  Aerobic water steeps the biology off of the soil through an extraction process.  Food-grade molasses, garlic, kelp, and fish emulsion are then added to the mix. The foods activate and cause the biology to multiply. The end result is put into spray equipment and applied to foliage, twigs, or injected directly into the soil.

How is Compost Tea Applied?

Compost tea can either be applied as a foliar spray or as a soil drench. As a foliar spray, compost teas apply beneficial organisms to plant surfaces so disease-causing organisms cannot find infection sites or food resources. These beneficial organisms provide nutrients as well. As a soil drench, compost tea develops a biological barrier around roots to prevent root disease-causing organisms from being able to find the roots. The tea also provides nutrients for the roots to improve plant growth and improves nutrient and moisture retention. Boston Tree Preservation uses compost teas on all shade trees and ornamentals to control insect pests and disease, such as wilts, blights and most major tree diseases, and to provide nutrition.  There are up to 9 compost tea applications available throughout the spring and fall.

BTP’s 300 gallon compost tea brewers are made from recycled food industry totes.  This is one of three brewers which will supply approximately 4000 gallons of compost tea weekly used in the PHC #1 – 9 sprays as well as in the liquid fertilization mixtures.

How it works:

The tea is aerated by 6 pumps that blow air into the tank for brewing.  In addition, 6 aquarium pumps are positioned on the tank bottom to prevent settling particulate matter from going anaerobic.  Finally, 2 additional pumps are inserted into the soil food bags to aerate the molasses mixture (bacteria) and the fish hydrolysate and humate mixture (fungal).  The food tanks are calibrated on a slow drip to continually feed the brew during the 24-hour brew cycle.  Each brewer utilizes a mesh sock configuration to hold the compost and each sock has its own wand to supply air turbulence which lifts more of the microbiology off the compost and into the final compost tea extract.

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