6601 S.E. Crain Highway
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday - 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Private and commercial vehicles allowed
Monday through Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Call (888) 214-8687 to schedule tours in advance
$45.00 per ton for non-county contractors; $10.00 minimum
Prince George's County manages the Prince George's County Yard Waste Composting Facility and contracts with the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) to operate the facility. Yard waste, including grass clippings, leaves, brush, small tree limbs and Christmas trees, is collected from approximately 164,000 households in the County and delivered to the facility. Once the yard waste is delivered, it is placed in windrows and processed into compost. The compost, known as Leafgro, is sold to wholesalers in bulk. Residents may buy Leafgro from retailers. To find a retailer, visit the Maryland Environmental Service web site at www.menv.com
Over 50,000 tons of material is processed annually. Yard waste is ground up and moved into long narrow piles known as windrows. In the fall, windrows are comprised primarily of leaves. In the spring, grass is added. The active composting phase requires both leaves and grass. Windrow composting is most effective when the carbon to nitrogen ratio is 25 parts carbon to one part nitrogen, the temperature ranges between 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the moisture is between 45% and 55%, and the oxygen is less than 5%.
Windrows are turned using a Scarab windrow turner to accelerate the composting process. Frequency of turning depends on environmental conditions. In general, windrows are turned more frequently during the spring and summer (approximately two turns per week). Depending on the weather, the rows of yard waste may require manual watering. Normally, our area receives enough rainfall and temperatures are moderate enough to avoid manual watering. However, in drought conditions or extremely hot weather, watering becomes necessary. The windrow composting process takes approximately nine months to complete.
The material is then moved to a curing pile where it will continue to decompose for approximately three months. Once this process is complete, the compost is spread in a thin layer on the pad to dry. Next, the material is screened to remove all particles larger than 3/8 inch.
The final product is a dark humus-like material, which is marketed as Leafgro by MES. It is produced in accordance with the Maryland Department of Agriculture regulations and is a great soil amendment. A network of retailers sells the Leafgro. Revenue from the sale of this material is returned to the County to offset the cost of the composting operation.
Special Events and Attractions
WMD sponsors a Mulch Giveaway in the spring, usually in April, to provide an opportunity for citizens and residents to receive free mulch. The mulch for this event is derived from the Christmas trees that are collected or dropped off for recycling. The Mulch Giveaway is held in conjunction with Earth Day and is just one of the many departmental programs. For more information and specific dates for the next Mulch Giveaway, check the local paper, County website, local cable station or dial 3-1-1.
Tours and Visitor's Center
Do you ever wonder what happens to the yard waste after it is placed at the curb for collection? Residents, citizens, school groups, scout troops, associations and organizations are invited to tour the Prince George's County Yard Waste Composting Facility in Upper Marlboro, free of charge, to learn the science of composting and to see firsthand how compost is produced from yard waste. Through the informational displays, visitors will learn about the composting process at the facility, the many recycling programs offered by the County and backyard composting. To schedule an appointment for a tour, call (888) 214-8687 or (301) 627-6388, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.