Can compost burn your lawn?

QUESTION: Can compost burn your lawn? I have a pile of finished compost that I’d like to spread over the yard. – Blake C

ANSWER: If the compost from your compost pile is totally composted, then it should be no different than adding soil and is fine to spread on the grass.

However, if your compost isn’t quite finished yet and is still “hot” it can burn your lawn or plants with compost’s organic materials. Also, putting too much composted cow manure on your lawn can also burn the grass because of its high nitrogen levels. Unfinished compost can also burn sensitive seedlings, so you don’t want to add it to your garden unless it is the end of the season or you are sure it is totally finished.