Chicken Manure and tree planting

mishko_2006July 13, 2009


I have a chance to get a truckload of chicken manure cheaply. Next spring I hope to plant 15-20 trees (fruit and decorative) over an area about 10 by 20 m of my garden.

Should I avail of this opportunity (there is no rush, they have loads of the stuff)?

If so, would you recommend getting it in the fall - spreading at once or leaving to rot down some more (it's

already standing a few weeks), maybe until just before planting time.

I can spread the stuff elsewhere on flower beds (not vege as they're well manured) if a truckload is too much for that area.

Thanks for any advice!

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Chicken manure is extremely "hot"--very high in nitrogen. I'd fully compost it, using plenty of "brown" compost materials, before any use. Not particularly good for trees.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 5:56AM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

Aged chicken manure is great for vegetable gardens, but tends to be too high in nitrogen even when rotted for flowers and woody plants. This leads to lush, soft growth very prone to winter damage in the case of woody plants and vegetative growth at the expense of bloom in the case of flowers. Have the soil where you plan to plant trees tested by your County Extension Service and follow the recommendations.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:22AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i never.. ever.. fertilize trees .... nor prime the soil in advance...

rarely.. if one of 100 are struggling.. i might give it a shot of some general fert.. but that would be years after planting ....

any tree worth the effort.. will place its roots under the flower beds.. and get whatever nutrients it can steal from there...

otherwise.. you may fail with trees.. if you fertilize too heavily ....

unless a soil test indicates something is lacking from your soil .. i would skip it all ...

if you are planning on using your fruit trees for production .. then you should be asking the same in the fruit forum.. because i am sure.. they have a differing set of rules for production trees .... but that again.. would be years after planting ...

good luck


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:09AM
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Horse manure compost could be more affective to use if you should find that your soil needs more of the nutrients and soil conditioners found in such kinds of humus.

Be careful in what you choose to use, because chicken manure that has not been properly converted to a fertizer; yet has still been spread to increase field crop yields or landscape successes, have been proven to be a pollutant of the natural watersheds.

While, one person might think that the little bit of chicken manure they put down surely is not enough to cause a negative affect to the water quality. That is not a correct conclusion, because even seemingly small amounts of this pollutant contributions quickly increases into a negative affect on the natural watersheds, as so many other individual people begin to take on the same practice without considering the collective impact such practices are causing to not only their local, but also to watersheds that reach long distances away; even up to one state away, or more.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:19AM
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Dan Staley

In my mind, the high N in the chicken manure is an issue, and some of it will leach/run off into receiving waters. And improperly aged will burn young roots.

So apply sparingly. And IMHO fall is fine, but the purpose should be to feed cover crops, not trees.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

As with other kinds of plants N is often exactly what trees and shrubs need to have supplemented - at least in humid coastal areas. Trees and shrubs with poor foliage color are very common in plantings in my area. There is no benefit to withholding nutrients from newly planted stock, nothing about nutrient deficiency enhances establishment.

What and how much, if anything to apply to a site depends entirely on the conditions on that particular site. Enter the soil test. Recommendations to fertilize or not fertilize without consideration of the wide variation in individual planting sites are not allowing for this critical factor. Some lots have different soils right on the same property.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 12:56PM
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Many thanks for your help, everyone.
I was thinking of having the soil test done anyway,
so will do this, asking them at the same time if they think the chicken manure would add anything necessary.

Otherwise I'll leave well alone, as the earth has never caused problems. Though I may still get a few sacks of the manure to add to my veges after all.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:10AM
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