Should a Compost Pile be Covered?

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Many people ask the question of whether they should cover their compost pile or should they rather leave it uncovered. You will get a lot of different answers, which can lead to a lot of confusion.

What should you do then? To cover or not to cover? – that is the question. We investigated to see for ourselves the answer to should a compost pile be covered? Without further ado, let us see what the right thing to do is.

A New Compost Pile

It is generally a good idea not to cover your compost pile when you just start out with a new one. This simply means that if you are living in an area with relatively lower heat and mild rainfall, that is the right thing to do.

But if you have a streak of heavy rain or live in an area with heavy rain, you should cover the compost heap. This will help to keep the balance of air, water, and brown and green matter correct.

If you are living in a cold region or are creating your compost heap during the winter, it is a good idea to cover it. This will help the compost pile not cool down too much – this will hinder the natural process of composting.

An Older Pile

There is also not just one answer when it comes to whether you should cover the compost pile or not. When your compost pile is older, and you have finished the composting process, there are a few reasons why you should cover it.

The problem with a finished compost heap is that if you leave it open, it will continue the breakdown process even further. Plus, as it is exposed to the elements, you are allowing the nutrients to leak out.

Another reason why you should cover a finished compost pile is to protect the earthworms against the birds who will eat them. If you want your compost pile to stay healthy, you need to let the worms work their way through it.

Protecting the worms also allows them to grow bigger, and larger worms will do a much better job with their aerating magic, and you will have a healthy compost pile.

Should a Compost Pile be Covered

When To Cover the Compost Pile

There are a few reasons why you would want to cover the compost pile for much better results and protection. Here are the main considerations when it comes to covering your compost pile.

Too much rain: Whether you have a new or a finished compost pile, it is better to cover it if there is quite a lot of rain in your area. Too much water in the compost pile will remove the air from the pile, and the composting process will not be able to happen.

With the lack of air because of too much water, the bacteria that break down everything will just die off. Then the compost pile will turn into a slimy pile of putrid unusable mess that will be no good to you.

If you need compost fast: If you need your compost in a few days’ time, it is better to cover the compost pile. This will trap more heat in the pile, and the process of composting will speed up quite drastically, and shorten the waiting period.

Get rid of pests: If you have weed seeds and other pests and diseases in your compost pile, this is a sure way to get rid of them. Most of the diseases will be killed off in the heat, and the good bacteria will work even more effectively.

Extend the warmer season: We may have already mentioned that you should cover your compost pile in the winter, but if you want to extend the warmer period and have a good, healthy compost pile in the winter, cover it.

Experts say that when you are living in a cold region, you should keep the compost pile warm. This will prevent the winter cold from halting the composting process entirely so that you will have compost available for the planting season.

Some Compost Pile Information

For a compost pile to be healthy, you need to have a combination of good airflow and enough water. Together with that, you need to have a good mixture of brown and green substances, so the process of composting will proceed naturally.

Every compost pile is unique, and you need to be aware of what is going on within your specific compost pile. So whether you should cover the compost pile or not depends entirely on your own unique circumstances and climate.


As you can see, there are a few good reasons why you should cover your compost pile. Conversely, there are also good reasons why you should not cover the compost pile to improve it.

What it comes down to is that typically, a new compost pile should be left open, and a finished compost pile should be covered for best results.

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