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Chicken Manure

Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a
June 5, 2016
last modified: June 5, 2016

The problem with using chicken Manure or horse manure on roses is the high nitrogen, you get a lot of plant growth but no roses. It's a joke.

Comments (10)

  • strawchicago

    Sam: That made me laugh. Thanks. Chicken manure is actually better than cow manure. Last few years I posted on how zinc, copper, boron, and calcium are added to chicken feed. All 4 have anti-fungal properties, with zinc leads the pack, then copper, calcium and boron.

    I had 2 bad experiences with cow-manure (high in phosphorus & salt, plus antibiotics): roses immediately broke out in blackspots. Zinc, copper, boron, and calcium are an anti-fungal agent. Less of those make roses more susceptible to blackspots. The high calcium (lime) added to BAGGED cow-manure to deodorize, plus high phosphorus added to cattle-feed ... both drove down zinc and iron, resulting in pale leaves, plus blackspots. I spent 2 hours scraping off the manure. Then I used cow manure on my tomatoes: stunt plant, only 1/3 the size, plus pale leaves.

    I love alfafa tea .. goes right through the soil & balanced of nutrients, and I don't have to worry about nutrient-imbalance. Sulfate of potash is useful only to induce blooms with alkaline tap-water which zaps out potassium. But if one has lots of rain and alkaline clay, it's not necessary, since too much of sulfate of potash causes browning of petals.

    This year my tomatoes bear fruits early: II put Tomato-Tone NPK 3-4-6 (has sulfate of potash & gypsum) in the planting hole, plus some red-lava-rock on top. One can save money on a soil test: use 50 cents of red cabbage leaves and $1 distilled water to get soil pH, and just watch out for nutrient deficiencies. Below is a link where a gardener in SC wrote on her high-phosphorus soil:


    I have not added any phosphorus in my soil since I first began gardening – other than the tiny bit that is in the fish emulsion I use. After speaking to a few local farmers, I found that the soil in the Charleston, SC, area is notorious for its phosphorus levels. I also learned that the cow manure compost I’ve been adding to my soil could be increasing the phosphorous, as well. And that may explain some of the symptoms in my plants lately.

    Here are some of the symptoms of excessive phosphorus in soil:

    • Increased weed growth (I surely have that!)
    • Stunted plant growth (got that, too)
    • Harms beneficial root fungi, which help the plant absorb water and nutrients
    • Decreases the plant’s ability to uptake zinc (deficiency shows as bleaching of plant tissue)
    • Decreases the plant’s ability to uptake iron (deficiency shows as yellowing between leaf veins)

    The last two items are especially applicable when acid-loving plants are growing in neutral to alkaline soils. My soil pH is 6.9, so I’m right there

    Phosphorus does not move in the soil as nitrogen does, so its staying power is higher. Because of this, it can stay in the soil in excessive amounts three to five years. So, what do I do??

    Here are some suggestions I found on various university websites:

    • Avoid using fertilizers with phosphorus. (My test results suggested I use 15-0-15 fertilizer)
    • Avoid using manure composts
    • Add more carbon (“brown”) items to the compost you make yourself; this will balance the compost
    • Plant nitrogen-fixing plants in the garden (like beans & peas)


    *** From Straw: Below pic. show the difference between zinc deficiency vs. manganese. I have bad manganese deficiency in my acid-plants (rhodies & azaleas & maple) in my alkaline clay, pH near 8.

    Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a thanked strawchicago
  • Khalid Waleed (zone 9b Isb)

    Sam: I have used well rotten chicken manure in my compost pots. I just sprinkle a bit of it, along with river soil. This accelerates the decomposition process.

    Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a thanked Khalid Waleed (zone 9b Isb)
  • strawchicago

    Thank you, Khalid .. that reminds me to get chicken manure for my compost. Menards stop selling chicken manure at $7 for a huge bag, so I have to find such elsewhere. NPK of chicken manure is 5-3-2, higher in nitrogen and salt than other animal manures. My roses smell really good on chicken manure due to decent phosphorus at 3, plus high in trace elements of zinc, copper, and boron.

    My concern when it rains all day: will my old-garden roses ball on me, and will my roses lose fragrance? Heavy rain leach out both potassium and phosphorus (needed for scent and oils and fruit flavor). My Duchess de Rohan doesn't ball after the rain, but the fragrance is reduced.

    Found a pdf file, research on the effect of triple superphosphate on tuberose, a very fragrant flower:


    Result showed that plant height increased with increasing phosphorus rate up to 155 kg P2O5. Result further revealed that leaf production increased with increasing phosphorus level ... that application of phosphorous fertilizer increased leaf length and leaf breadth of tuberose. Result further showed that side shoot number increased with increasing phosphorus levels."

    *** From straw: the above document also stated that diameter of bloom increase as well as number of blooms with sufficient phosphorus. Phosphorus deficiency is most often manifested as purpling of the leaves, particularly the leaf veins. In severe cases the whole plant may take on a purple hue.

    I have phosphorus deficiency in my alkaline clay, see below purplish tinge in pansy when google for P deficiency:

    From Wikipedia: The stunted growth induced by phosphorus deficiency has been correlated with smaller leaf sizes and a lessened number of leaves.[3] This carbohydrate buildup often can be observed by the darkening of leaves.

    Double-check with flavor of tomatoes in hydroponics website. They also stated that phosphorus is important for tomato flavor, number of flowers and size of fruit. My biggest beefsteak tomato was through FRESH cow manure, without the nasty quick-lime added. Quick lime is different from Garden lime. Quick lime shoots up the pH, and zap out phosphorus and potassium. Quick lime is used in tap water as well.

    I can see why Cantigny park uses super high-phosphorus fertilizer during hot summer, using very alkaline tap water. Their Julia Child rose smells so strong that it reeked, same with Frederic Mistral .. my kid could not handle Fred's scent, she thought it was too strong at the rose park.

    Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a thanked strawchicago
  • jessjennings0 zone 10b

    another wonderful thread thank you Straw Sam and Khalid...

    Straw...how about we get grind white beans and gently work that in around the rose bushes for slow release Potassium along with the living compost on top of that, and add some liquid blood meal-fish emulsion fertilizer to feed the beneficial fungi and micro organisms when the compost is being depleted?

    Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a thanked jessjennings0 zone 10b
  • strawchicago

    Jess: That's a wonderful idea, I haven't tested black-eyed peas as potassium, my alkaline soil has plenty of potassium already, it's the phosphorus that I lack.

    But your acidic red clay will be low in calcium and potassium when you get acidic rain water. White beans will neutralize the acidic rain, plus release iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

    It's better than pea-gravel even, since pea-gravel differ from location. Some place might have high-aluminum pea-gravel, some with neutral pH, while my pea-gravel is dolomitic lime, with pH near 9.

  • jessjennings0 zone 10b

    Thank you Straw... :-)

    I was thinking about this all day... I wonder what would happen if I just added these beans whole, underneath leaves etc, and if they spout, I nip it, or pull it out to compost? Would that still be adding the same Potassium-values to the soil that grinded beans would do?

  • strawchicago

    Jess: Great idea, I check on if beans fix nitrogen. Here's an excerpt from below link:


    "Nodules on many perennial legumes such as alfalfa and clover are finger-like in shape. Mature nodules may actually resemble a hand with a center mass (palm) and protruding portions (fingers), although the entire nodule is generally less than 1/2 inch in diameter. Nodules on perennials are long-lived and will fix nitrogen through the entire growing season, as long as conditions are favorable. Most of the nodules (10-50 per large alfalfa plant) will be centered around the tap root.

    Nodules on annual legumes such as beans, peanuts, and soybeans are round and can reach the size of a large pea. Nodules on annuals are short-lived and will be replaced constantly during the growing season. At the time of pod fill, nodules on annual legumes generally lose their ability to fix nitrogen because the plant feeds the developing seed rather than the nodule."

    *** From Straw: too bad that beans don't fix nitrogen that well. I find that soaking soft beans like black-eyes peas overnight make them soft, and can be crushed easily. Once the outer shell is broken, beans decompose faster, so soaking them overnight (rain water), then crush them will help to release the nutrients.

  • Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a

    There was a lot of great answers in the Gardeners Question Time BBC Radio 4. It took place in the Lakes district.

  • strawchicago

    Sam: thanks for letting me know peonies like clay, how about Clemantis? Dave and Deb (zone 5a) in HMF never tell folks what type of soil they have, they grow lots of clemantis and roses on Dr. Huey.

    Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a thanked strawchicago
  • strawchicago

    Just found out that Dave and Deb (zone 5a) in HMF has alkaline loamy soil & roses grafted on Dr. Huey, and very healthy roses, see their garden in HMF, their Sheila perfume & Sweet Chariot and white alyssum look fantastic. They grow Clemantis well in their alkaline soil:


    Here's the list of 122 roses that Dave & Deb Boyd grow in zone 5a, alkaline soil, grafted on Dr. Huey, except for mini-roses, which are own-root:


    Samuel Adirondack NY 4b5a thanked strawchicago

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