The practice of composting mixed green wastes from community collection programs has been on the increase as a means to reduce organic debris to landfills. Recent reports of plant injury have appeared and were attributed to residues of the herbicide clopyralid in compost. Phytotoxicity issues with compost have been reported previously to result from other factors, including heavy metal content, soluble salts, organic acids and oxygen deprivation related to incomplete decomposition. The recent reports of plant injury due to clopyralid-contaminated compost were also associated with very heavy applications of compost, yet few of these reports included observations of herbicide symptomology. Since immature compost may contain sufficient degradation intermediates, soluble salts and other contaminants to cause phytotoxicity, particularly when applied at heavy rates, an effort must be made to distinguish confounding factors. Complete composting normally allows for the degradation of phytotoxic intermediates and synthetic compounds, such as herbicides, as well as allowing for leaching of salts. Absence of compost completeness standards within the compost industry leaves such factors to the guesswork of the end-user. Recommended compost use rates have established a relationship between compost maturity, application rate and use pattern, based on compost quality metrics. Greater attention to the use of high-quality compost, properly designated as to completeness of composting and applied at appropriate use rates, would minimize the potential for phytotoxic effects, irrespective of the contributing source.