Cottonseed hulls

flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)October 6, 2010

I live in agribiz central, the home of Archer Daniels Midland and Tate & Lyle North America. ADM mills cottonseed and sells it through independent dealers, many of which are local farmers. I'd seen where John in St Jo, Missouri, has used this and really, really likes it. Has anyone else tried it? If so, do they have to be ground up, or can the unground hulls be used?

So, I'm browing the dealer list and find one that's located on my daily commute. I check their website, and recognize the name.....the farmer's wife works at my company!! Small world. She's checking into availability and pricing for me.


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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

I don't know how big the hulls are but as a mulch I think size doesn't matter. Used as a soil amendment I would think you'd want them ground up.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 7:54PM
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I use lots of cottonseed meal (ground-up hulls?) as top dressing around my azaleas, rhododendrons and boxwood. Occasionally, I incorporate it as a soil amendment in my rosebeds. Cottonseed meal is an acidifying agent, so you might want to determine the pH of the soil in your beds before using it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 8:38PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

Years ago I wasn't happy with the growth of my modern roses so I decided to first grow stronger bushes and then worry about the size of the blooms on them. So...I ignored the organic fertilizer components that were supposed to make bigger blooms and put several cups of cottonseed meal on each rose and half a cup of blood meal (quick N start in the spring.)
By midsummer, I had much larger and stronger canes than in previous years....and the bloom were improved as well.

The one thing to watch for (depending on the quality of your help) is not to pour them right over the bud union, but to work them into the soil and make sure that they either get good rainfall or that you irrigate them. That fall, I found where my helper had just dumped some on some other roses, and the irrigation system was underneath the hulls, and it had been a dry summer, and the hulls hadn't broken down at all.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 9:34AM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Yes, I do need the acidifying qualities. My soil, before doing anything else to it but digging, is alkaline. I had to do a couple of applications of ammonium sulfate this spring before planting. Interesting that I heard of RFD-TV the other day that this problem is becoming more & more common as a result of cleaner air. We used to get sulfur for free from pollution-caused acid rain. Now we're all having to add sulfur back in.

I'm hoping that it's a little less painful to get stuck in my crocs while working in the beds. I love the look of wood mulch, but I'm tired of having shards of wood in my shoes.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 9:47AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Cottonseed or cottonseed hulls? Two different things--one an amendement for better soil tilth and texture, one a slightly acidifying fertilizer

The hulls are light and fluffy. If you can compost them and then dig them into your soil you will really improve your soil. They are too light and fluffy to be mulch--the wind can blow them away pretty quickly--at least here that happens. Really good stuff for the soil, though--I envy your availability.

The seed is heavier and is used as an organic fertilizer. I think they squeeze out the valuable oil, and the seeds are the leftovers from that sold as fertilizer. Good stuff too!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 2:59PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

It's the hulls that I'm getting. They are milled like soybeans, corn, etc by crushing & separating the seed from the hull. The seeds have the oil extracted, and the hulls become feed by-product for livestock when pastures don't provide enough fiber. There are 3 main forms: the seed, the hull, and pelletized hulls. My daddy & my daddy's daddy worked in the mills here their entire lives. :)

The hulls are, as you said, a very good acidifying fertilizer that also boost nitrogen when used in compost. However, I did a lot of reading outside of this forum regarding their use as a compost material. Apparently, when they are wet down, they form a mass & will not blow away. I saw a lot regarding their use in bonsai, but wondered if anyone other than John had played around with them in the rosebeds. I'm at least going to try it & I'll let you all know how I like it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 3:51PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Apparently, when they are wet down, they form a mass & will not blow away.

That's the difference between there and nothing stays wet very long. 15" of rain per year makes for a lot of blowing rice hulls.

I used to get a product called "Topper" which was for a long time mostly composted rice hulls. It was wonderful stuff for the soil. But they stopped putting rice hulls in "Topper", and it's not as good now.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 7:13PM
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I had great success with using cottonseed hulls for mulch in my flower beds for 15 years while living in OK. Now, I live in NC and cannot find a source for cottonseed hulls. Any help?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 3:18PM
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mike_rivers(z5 MI)

Flaurabunda, you should read Hoovb's first post again. It's the seed or the meal made from the seed that is a good fertilizer and also mildly acidifying. The hulls, on the other hand, are essentially worthless as a fertilizer (The National Cottonseed Products Association lists the NPK value of hulls as 0.62/0.14/1.00) and have essentially no effect on soil pH.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:58PM
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flaurabunda(6a, Central IL)

Not a problem---I still used them last fall as a top dressing for a new rose bed I'll be planting this spring. They stayed in place all winter long and the bed still looks spectacular. Kept me from having a big, muddy splotch in the backyard all winter.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 2:56PM
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