measuring the effectiveness of compost usage on ucla lawns in comparison to traditional fertilizers

SAR Project | 2020

Measuring the Effectiveness of Compost Usage on UCLA Lawns in Comparison to Traditional Fertilizers

Pictured above, left to right: Elizabeth Tanner (team leader), Liana Huang, Jasmine Summers-Evans (team leader), Kristen Tam, Madeleine Farrington, Clare Schumann


SAR Lawn Management Team:

Measuring the Effectiveness of Compost Usage on UCLA Lawns in Comparison to Traditional Fertilizers



Soil health has significant implications for climate change, erosion, and plant growth. Employing lawn management techniques that maintain soil health allows for greater sequestration of carbon, minimizes debris runoff, and fosters fertile lawns. This year, as members of the SAR Lawn Management team, we will be conducting a research project on the effects of transitioning to compost-based lawn management practices from fertilizer usage. The intention of this project is to create a comprehensive research guide that can be used by UCLA Facilities Management and other institutions to justify the replacement of fertilizer with compost in curated green spaces. We will accomplish this by first obtaining baseline values for edaphic factors, such as composition and moisture level, of the soil in two locations on UCLA’s campus. These locations receive different amounts of sunlight on a daily basis, so at each location we will have both control and experimental plots. The entirety of the plots will be aerated, after which we will split both experimental plots into two sections, applying a different type of compost to each. Throughout the project, we will continue to take regular soil samples to measure how the soil responds to each type of compost and to the control sections. In addition, we will be engaging with students to raise awareness of UCLA’s lawn management practices and surveying students’ interest in making UCLA’s lawn practices more sustainable.


Stakeholder(s): Justin Wisor, Chris Gallego

Team Leaders: Elizabeth Tanner, Jasmine Summers-Evans

Team Members: Liana Huang, Kristen Tam, Clare Schumann


Midterm Report: Lawn Management 2020 Midterm Report

Midterm Presentation: Lawn Management 2020 Midterm Presentation

Press Release: “Healthier Lawns Cover UCLA’s Campus”

Final Presentation: “How effective is compost at improving soil and lawn health when compared to chemical fertilizers?”

Final Report: Final Report