Gardeners’ World expert warns against using ‘old compost’ as it can ‘harbour pests’

Gardening tips: Can you reuse pot compost

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It may be tempting to reuse compost as the summer comes to a close and you look to plant bulbs for spring. However, reusing “old compost” could have a detrimental impact on your new plants. Nutrients in old pot compost will be largely used up so some plants will struggle to grow to their full potential.

A Gardeners’ World expert said in a video for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine that compost is only good for one season.

They said: “Potting compost is good for one growing season.

“Over that time, it decomposes, loses structure and the nutrients it contains is used up by plants.

“Old compost can also harbour pests and diseases from previous plantings.

“It’s far better to start with fresh, new compost every year.

“Be sure to check the sell-by date before buying.”

Old soil can contain pathogens, viruses, fungi, bacteria, nematodes and larvae.

Reusing soil for new plants could see them be more susceptible to disease and more likely to die further on down the line.

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However, some experts claim there are still things you can do with old compost.

Old compost can be used as a mulch on top of flower or vegetable beds which will help to suppress weeds.

It can also be used to level your garden, as a bottom or top layer in pots or to grow carrots.

Another simple hack is to use it to improve lawn seed germination.

If you want to reuse the soil, you can sterilise it to ensure diseases and fungus are dead.

You can also use it to fill up holes that have been caused by moles.

Once it’s sterilised, you can then add new potting soil.

If you have a compost heap, you can put your old compost in your compost bin or heap.

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Make sure to remove dead or annual plants from old compost.

Leaving compost for too long can also see it lose its nutritional value.

If you buy new compost, make sure it’s used within a year.

Compost will continue to break down after it’s bagged because it’s organic matter.

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