The compost yard is located at:
9217 51st Avenue, College Park, MD 20740
Composting in 4 Easy Steps
What is SMARTLEAF®?
Other materials available
Compost vs. mulch: which do you need?
Pickup and delivery options
How much do you need?
What is SMARTLEAF® Compost?
SMARTLEAF® is a by-product of composting leaves collected from the City and other jurisdictions. Grass and other vegetative (soft) garden waste are added for nitrogen. The materials are turned to incorporate oxygen and promote even decomposition. Find out more about the process by following the steps to your right.
SMARTLEAF® is a screened product with particle sizes ½ inch or less, making it suitable as top grade dressing. It is lab tested and has a pH between 7.4 and 8.0.
Price: $18.00 per cubic yard ($19.08 including tax). Delivery fees are extra.
Other materials available:
Unscreened compost: composted material that has not yet been screened to remove debris (sticks, tennis balls, etc.). Unscreened compost is available for very limited times, usually in spring and autumn. City of College Park residents are allowed up to 5 cubic yards of unscreened compost at no charge, per calendar year, while supplies last (delivery extra).
Price: $8.00 per cubic yard ($8.48 including tax). Delivery fees are extra.
Wood mulch: natural wood waste collected in the City (sticks, twigs, branches, shrubs, etc.) is ground to produce wood mulch. Using it as the top layer of your planting beds, mulch helps to conserve soil moisture and prevent weeds from growing. Look to the right to get a better idea of what the wood mulch looks like.
Price: $7.00 per cubic yard ($7.42 including tax). Delivery fees are extra.
Obtaining compost and mulch:
Payment types accepted: cash, check and credit card. Please pay for your material at the time of pickup. Payment for deliveries is arranged in advance.
Location: 9217 51st Avenue, College Park, MD 20740
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00-11:30 am and 1:00-3:30 pm. Select Saturday hours in spring and autumn ONLY; call 240-487-3590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for specific dates.
Yard pickups: bring your open-bed pickup truck during the hours listed above and material can be loaded in your truck for you. Most pickup trucks hold 1 cubic yard, some can hold up to 2 cubic yards.
Don’t have a truck? Bring a shovel and your own containers (bins, buckets, bags, etc.) and be prepared to load your containers yourself. We can pro-rate your purchase based on the amount you take with you.
Deliveries: for an additional fee, we can deliver materials to most locations (see requirements below). Deliveries are made on Thursdays and Fridays, between March and October. Deliveries are scheduled on a first come, first-serve basis, so get your order in early to avoid disappointment! Call 240-487-3590 for current delivery prices and to schedule your delivery.
There is a minimum of 1 cubic yard for delivery, and our dump trucks hold a maximum of 6 cubic yards. You may order more than 6 cubic yards at one time, but it will increase the delivery cost. Sorry, but we cannot combine compost and wood mulch in the same truck.
Requirements for deliveries: material cannot be unloaded in the street or right of way. You must have a paved/concrete/gravel surface the driver can access to unload the material. Drivers cannot jump curbs or drive across grass.
You do not have to be home for the delivery, but if you have a preferred location for materials to be unloaded, please try to be home or clearly mark the area where you want the delivery to be made. Otherwise, the driver will attempt to unload materials as far back in your driveway as possible.
Our drivers make the best attempt to meet your delivery request, but overhead utility lines, tree limbs or other obstructions may make it difficult for the driver to unload materials in an exact location. Your flexibility is appreciated.
Compost vs. Mulch: what is the difference, which one do I need?
Compost has more soil-like qualities and is best used by mixing into your existing soil or planting beds. It is also great to use as a top dressing for lawn and grass seeding projects.
Mulch is best used as the final (top) layer in planting beds. It should be spread around your plants and shrubs to help conserve soil moisture and prevent weed growth.
How much do you need?
To estimate the amount of material you will need, follow this calculation:
- Multiply the length x width x depth (all in ft.) of the area you are covering. This gives you the cubic feet of material you need.
- Divide the cubic feet by 27 to get the cubic yards of material you need (there are 27 cubic ft. in a cubic yd.).
Example: if you are covering an area 8 ft. by 10 ft. at a 6 inch depth:
- 8 ft. x 10 ft. x 0.5 ft. = 40 cubic ft.
- 40 cubic ft ÷ 27 = 1.48 cubic yards
(approximately 1.5 cubic yards)
You can also visit the Saving Water Partnership webpage for a compost calculator:
(leaving College Park website)
Suzie Smartleaf® says:
It is important to keep your vegetative yard waste (grass, leaves, flowers, weeds, and light clippings), separate from wood yard waste (branches, twigs, shrubs, bamboo, logs) because they are recycled in different ways. Vegetative yard waste is used to make SMARTLEAF® compost while wood-based materials are made into wood mulch.
How Is SMARTLEAF® Compost Made?
Public Works crews collect vegetative yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, flowers, and light clippings) in paper bags or reusable containers, or with the leaf vacuums.
This material is brought to the Public Works compost yard and spread out in long windrows.
A windrow turner passes over the rows, mixing the material and introducing more oxygen to help the natural decomposition process.
Microbes start to break down the material and the piles reach temperatures up to 140° F which kills pathogens or weed seeds that may be present.
After several months of decomposition, heating up, and turning, the vegetative materials no longer have harmful levels of carbon dioxide or ammonia and the result is a fully matured compost product.
Mature compost is screened to remove debris and large particles over 1 inch in size. The compost is now ready to be mixed in with your existing garden soil as an amendment or as a top dressing for your lawn.
What does not belong?
Here is an example of the types of items that are screened out of the compost. Bottles, cans, dog toys, etc., DO NOT belong in your yard waste! We appreciate your efforts to remove these items to help us maintain a high quality of compost.
How is Wood Mulch Made?
Simple – we collect twigs, branches, small trees, shrubs, bamboo and logs (stacked neatly or tied with string, less than 75 pounds and 5 feet) curbside and bring it back to the Public Works department.
Once we have a large pile, a tubgrinder processes the material to make the mulch. A series of hammers grinds up the wood and a conveyor belt moves the final wood mulch product into a pile. The mulch is not screened, so it is important that residents keep out plastic bags and debris.