What is horse manure good for?

19 September 2020 | Horse Stables

If you have horses you’ll definitely have a bit of horse poo and might be wondering how to put it to good use. There are many different uses for horse manure around your garden. Horse manure is a great fertilizer that helps to build healthy soil and promotes strong growth in plants. It contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus - the three main nutrients for healthy plant and fruit growth. It feeds microbiology within the soil and is very popular with earthworms.


Is horse manure good for fruit trees?

Fruit trees require a slow release fertilizer to ensure healthy growth. A low nitrogen blend that also contains roughly equal portions of potash and potassium is best. While you can purchase fruit tree fertilizer from your garden shop, horse manure is a great fertilizer for fruit trees and an excellent source of slow release nitrogen.

Horse manure needs to be aged or composted before use so do not use fresh manure. Fresh manure can damage your trees and even kill young saplings due to it’s high nitrogen content. There’s a few different ways you can prepare horse manure, the simplest of which requires you to wait roughly 30 days before use, which allows undesirable elements to die off. You may also mix manure into your compost pile or dig manure into a planting site, but be sure to wait a month to use the compost or plant a new fruit tree for best results.


Is horse manure good for vegetables

Use well-rotted horse manure for enriching and conditioning soil before planting new crops in your vegetable gardens and planting areas. Well-rotted manure can be dug into your garden in Autumn at the end of your growing season in preparation for new plantings in Spring.

Horse Manure contains a good amount of nitrogen which makes it great for digging into the soil before planting leafy vegetables such as cabbages, kale, spinach or broccoli.

It’s important that you age or compost your horse manure before using it. Fresh manure has a high level of acidity that can burn plants. Leave it to age for at least 6 months and make sure it’s no longer stinky or moist before you use it.

Another reason to age or compost horse manure before use is that it will probably have some weed seeds in it. So if you don’t want weeds in your vege garden don’t use fresh manure. If you compost your horse manure for at least 6 months before using you shouldn’t have a problem with weeds.

Another option is you can make a 'Manure Tea'. Just by quarter fill a bucket or barrel with horse poo and then add water to fill to the top. Leave for at least a day and then pour off the liquid before adding the sludge at the bottom to the compost heap. Dilute the liquid till it looks like weak tea and use as a foliar feed (water onto leaves) or a liquid feed (water at the base of plants). Don't use on plants you'll be eating within a week and wash all plants before eating when you do harvest.


Is horse manure good for roses

Horse manure makes a great addition to any garden, but it does have one big drawback for the gardener – weeds. Horses are not very efficient digestors –this means your horse poo will contain weed and pasture seeds that you don’t want growing in your garden.

Composting horse manure should take care of weed seeds but it won’t always get rid of them all. Composting is the process whereby naturally occurring microbes break down organic matter. There is a bit of an art to getting a good compost heap working effectively. It takes time and requires a good balance of horse poo and green matter such as grass clippings or leaves. Here is a good article on composting with horse poo https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2012/09/28/horse-manure-easy-guide-to-composting/

Most manure in its fresh state is too strong for most plants. However roses are pretty greedy and so are better able to handle the large amounts of available soluble nitrogen. That’s in contrast to most other plants that require a balanced mix of nitrogen, carbon and microbial activity (that compost will provide).

If you want to use horse manure fresh on your rose garden, you run the risk of seeds sprouting. Some gardeners cover the manure with a mulch, others just hoe the weeds out as they appear. This approach does save you double-handling the manure, from car/truck to compost to wheelbarrow to rose garden. If you wish to use this option, the recommended thickness of the layer of manure is 5-10cm.

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References:

https://thisnzlife.co.nz/use-horse-manure-no-regrets/
https://www.wastebusters.co.nz/hot-composting/
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/horse-manure-fruit-trees-39210.html
https://www.podgardening.co.nz/animal-manure.html
https://www.homegrownfun.com/how-to-use-manure-in-the-vegetable-garden-chicken-horse-cow/