John asked in Home & GardenGarden & Landscape · 2 months ago

Horse manure compost?

Hi, I'm wondering the best way to compost horse manure. I get free manure from my neighbor, and I have a truck load of wood chips coming tomorrow. My plan is to use compost for my 22 (young still) fruit trees. Should I add wood chips for composting, or straight horse manure by itself? Ice recently heard I can do it without the carbon wood chips, what would you guys do? I'm fortune enough to have the space and I live on Phoenix, az so temps are mild here. 

5 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Horse manure is very potent, and it will burn plants.  It might hurt the roots of your trees.  If you use it, be frugal. 

  • 2 months ago

    I put a few truckloads of hoarse manure around two of my apple trees last year.   1/20th the normal fruit and leaves didn't come out very well.   Maybe it was something in the woodchips, but I won't be doing that again.

  • Ben
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    You do need to let it sit and compost for a while, as you thought.

    It will compost quicker if mixed with something drier and higher in carbon, but not woodchips. Woodchips are too big and dense, and will not rot quick enough. If you can get wood shavings, sawdust, straw or hay very cheaply or free, get some of that and mix it with the manure at about 2 parts manure to 1 part dry material.

    If you can't get any of those very cheaply or free, then don't bother. The manure will rot well enough of its own, anyway. Just pile it up somewhere (ideally somewhere in the sun), cover it with a tarp or similar (helps to keep the rain out, stops the manure drying out in dry spells, and keeps it warmer over the winter), and leave it. Ideally, you should turn the pile at least once, maybe around February, to allow more air in and speed up decomposition.

    It should probably be ready by around April or May. You can tell it's ready as it will smell earthy rather than smelling of manure or ammonia, at it will be dark in colour and crumbly in texture. 

  • 2 months ago

    I agree, don't use fresh horse manure, it's far too "hot", it needs to rot for maybe 6 months.

    You may find this interesting :

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  • ?
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    Wood is a poor fertilizer and will use all of the nitrogen of the manure in decomposing.  Raw manure is too hot and has too much urine, etc. in it.  It needs to sit in a pile for about 6 months or more before putting it around a live plant.  What you should do is put the horse manure in a big pile and let it sit. Check with you ag agent about horse manure around whatever kind of fruit tree you have.  For example, a rich compost of sheep manure will kill a peach tree. Cow manure is OK.  Sheep manure is either too hot or has some chemical in it that peaches don't like.  Don't know about horse.

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