Use on manure on roses ?

iluvgardensJune 13, 2009

I have a question about use of manure on my roses. I got some dry horse manure (supply from where my horse is boarded) and placed it around my roses about 5 inch out from base. Should I keep it off of the rose base, I am wondering if it would cause any problems with burning if actually at the base? Or is it a old tale about manure burning? Thanks in advance for all responses.

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jerijen(Zone 10)

Commercially produced manure is usually steer, and it is usually a byproduct of feedlots. Which means that a whole lot of un-natural stuff is being excreted these days.
(Read Michael Pollen's "THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA.")

It's usually very high in salts, which are given the cattle so that they will drink a lot, and "bulk up."

The Good Lord Knows I don't need that in my garden -- so we don't use that.

Horse manure is great stuff, as long as the hosses weren't out in pasture eating weeds. Stabled horses in our area are eating alfalfa hay, so there's a lot of alfalfa in the manure.
You can use this sort of manure without composting it.
I would probably try not to dump it right on the plant, and if you do, I'd wash it off.
We water the stuff in well, and the smell disappears very quickly.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 12:44PM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

If fresh, it may cause canker if applied so it's in contact with the rose. Actually the NPK of horse manure is not all that much, although it can vary depending on what they ate, the moisture content, and bedding or litter used.
According to the the website linked below which lists the NPK of various manures as tested by different sources, the NPK of fresh horse manure can be 0.5-2.5, 0.3-2.5, 0.5-3.0. When compared to the NPK of commercial fertilizers, fresh horse manure is very low in NPK. It's best feature is adding organics to the soil and activating soil organisms which convert the various nutrients into forms that can be taken up by the plants.
It is recommended to first compost any fresh manure before you use it for 2 reasons:
1) to lessen the chance of harmful pathogens.
2) to break down the manure to make it more usable to the plant (and reduce the smell!)
My problem with composting first is rain water will leach some of the good stuff out of it. Applying it fresh keeps anything leached out right where you want it. I apply at the drip line and scratched it lightly into the soil so the roots can grow into it.
Although it can produce heat as it composts, if applied 3-4 inches deep it will not heat up so much as to do any harm.
My first adult job was at Standard Oil. In the fall, to prevent valves from freezing in winter, boxes were built around them and filled with fresh horse manure obtained from race tracks. The heat generated by the composting manure keep the valves from freezing but it was piled deep in the boxes. Thin layers of it 2-4 inches thick don't generate much heat. We moved a lot of horse crap each fall.
Regardless, keep it from coming in contct with the bushes to prevent canker on the canes. That's easy enough to do, just keep it 3-4 inches away when applying.
Completely composted it has the consistancy of soil. I safely used that to cover my roses in winter.

Although the heading on the link below says rabbit manure, it lists most farm animal manures.


Here is a link that might be useful: NPK of various animal manures

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Thanks for this topic. I see a lot of horse manure dumped at our community's green recycling lot and I am tempted to use them. However, I'm not sure if I should just dump them around my roses or leave them to sit and compost a bit. It seems from reading the posts in this topic that both methods can be used.

I use chicken manure myself, only because they don't smell. Do you guys know what the true benefits are of chicken manure and if they are better than horse manure or the steer manure that one gets from the hardware stores?



    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 1:01AM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

Jeff, where do you get your non-smelly chicken manure? It must be highly composted. Chicken manure, to me, is the smelliest next to pigs. Yuck.

I know chicken manure can burn when fresh, more readily than horse manure. But in the long run I believe it is hgher in nutrients than horse manure. The bagged stuff you get at hardware stores and the like have most of the good things leached or baked out of them. they will still add organic matter, however, and that is seldom a bad thing.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Thanks! I get my chicken manure from Home Depot. So, in reading this thread, the most important function of manure is to add organic material to the soil. Am I correct in concluding that manure really does not have the NPK content of a chemical or organic fertilizer? I use a combination of chicken manure, organic fertilizer, and my garden compost in early spring on my roses. However, if the manure is negligible in its contribution, is it sufficient to use only organic fertilizer and compost?


    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 1:36PM
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greenhaven(SW MI z6)

Don't underestimate the power of good manure! :o) It is really good stuff, especially when combined with compost and "fertilizers." Boost your manure ("homegrown" or "locally produced" is the best) with alfalfa meal or tea for nitrogen, and throw on some coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels.

I think the bigger issue is bagged manure over "local" manure.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 2:48PM
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we use chicken is chicken manure and water mixture..
it does smell just a bit so keep it covered up...but works wonders..

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 12:01AM
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