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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-07-09          143554


My neighbor has a few horses and offered to give me all the manure I want. Since I have only 2 acres - about one acre which is prime grass, should I take him up on his offer? How would I use this manure to fertilize the one acre of lawn? I don't have a manure spreader and its probably not worth it to purchase one. Can you hand spread it with a shovel? Will it stink up the neighborhood? Can I walk on my lawn after I put it on? Should I just get a pile of it in my 5x8 utility trailer and leave it next to my pile of topsoil to mix for planting?

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-07-09          143557


Crunch,

Fresh manure is not only malodorous, but also very harmful to your lawn and garden. The nitrogen content is far too strong, and will cause your lawn to "burn".

Manure must be aged to the point of being grey, and nearly weightless before it is any good for fertilizer.

Horse manure is not the best choice, mainly due to the fact that it takes so long to age properly.

Cow manure is much preferred because it is flat and thin, rather than in the form of balls. Cow manure is much easier to work with too, as it breaks up in the soil so much better.

If you decide to take a load of horse manure from your neighbor, plan on letting it stand for at least two years before attempting to spread it in your lawn or garden. Longer than two years is even better.

Cow manure can be tilled in the same year, so long as it has been collected from a pasture, where it has been sitting under the sun.

Never take any manure that has been cleaned from a feed lot, calving pens, or any place from which animals have been penned up in a small space; as it will be heavy with urine, and very hard to stomach for both you and your neighbors.

Joel ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7147 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-07-10          143572


To add to Joel's excellent advice.

If you do take some (or all of it) build yourself a (very sturdy) 3 sided container just wider than the bucket on your FEL. Put the manure in there, and cover it with an old tarp. Then at least every few days in the warm weather, and weekly beyond that, use the FEL to mix it as well as possible.

Using this system you will have a useable product in less than a year, with a minimum of odour.

We produce vast quantities of organic material from duck manure mixed with a lot of sawdust. Using commercial row turners and accelerants, we make well-rotted useable stuff in 90 days, but the average homeowner couldn't do it that fast.

Best of luck. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2647 NorthWest NJ
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2007-07-10          143574


I have neighbors who live far enough away through the woods (at least 1500 feet to their property line) that I can't even see them, but I can smell the manure from their horses, when the breeze blows my way and they only have a couple up there.

The other thing is that manure draws flies nice big horse flies.

But I think organic fertilizer is supposed to have some good benefits for your lawn, just you might want to buy the commerially manufactured and deoderized one ;-)

Dennis ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-07-10          143590


Thanks for the information everyone. This definitely will make me careful about taking any of this stuff. I think I may take a look and see how well "aged" it is before I commit to taking any. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-07-11          143594


Crunch,

I'm not sure how I would go about spreading manure on a lawn. This is something I've never attempted to do before.

Manure is usually incorporated into the soil by tilling, or cultivating, so that it mixes in well. Spreading it on top of the grass would be very difficult, without using some form of chopper, or centrifugal spreader.

My grandmother used a cement mixer. She placed about 20 field stones of various sizes in the mixer, then shoveled in the aged manure. After mixing in this fashion for about 3-4 hours, the manure would come out looking like potting soil, which she then placed in her flower beds.

You may be able to spread it on your lawn after pulverizing the manure in the same fashion --- and then spread it out by using a PTO driven "broadcast spreader" attached to your 3-point hitch. I'm not sure if this would work, but this is how I would attack the project.

Some of the larger broadcast spreaders hold up to 800 pounds of grass seed, or fertilizer. Using the PTO to drive the spreader, the seed shoots out the rear, to cover an area about 30 feet wide.

This just might work!

Joel ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2647 NorthWest NJ
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2007-07-11          143596


Candoarms,

I think that getting the material dry and ground up as you suggest is the only way it will be usable at all.

That said I don't want to be around when it gets spread ;). Could be mighty dusty. I find with broadcast spreaders that more pelletized materials work better, like the difference between pelletized lime and powdered lime, with powdered its just too dusty or it cakes up in the hopper. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7147 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-07-11          143597


A broadcast spreader wont work with compost, when you compress it it forms into a solid, the weight of the compost in the top packs the stuff at the bottom and you end up with a big mess stuck in the spreader.

The spreaders used for top-dressing are simple enough to make, since they are pretty rare, and very spendyy if you can find one. They are basically a manure spreader, but in place of the beater bar, there is a drum-shaped brush like a street sweeper has, this brush fires a stream of very fine particles out the back, any clumps get ground down by the bristles going by it.

For spreading topsoil or the like, a small manure spreader, with the apron chain slowed down, and the beater bar sped up (by swapping out the gears) works about the best, and is certainly the most cost effective.

If you live in or near a reasonable urban area you will likely find the bigger rental houses rent top-dressers.

Best of luck. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2647 NorthWest NJ
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2007-07-11          143598


Crunch,

I hope if you do this that you test your approach on a small patch and see what happens first. Could be a great new business for you! ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-07-11          143608


Geez - I think I better get a mask before I attempt any of this! I was ready to abandon this path after the first few comments. I am not sure I want to wallow in manure to get some free fertilizer :) ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2007-07-11          143628


Our beloved Aria leaves us an ample supply of lovely "trail apples" in the pasture next to our house and yard. After the piles have sat out in the sun for a week or so and dried up, they can be easily and evenly spread out by dragging an old bed box spring or chain drag manure spreader around the pasture. I am sure you could do something similar but on a smaller scale for your "trail apple" project. Horse manure is not a very good fertilizer in so far as nitrogen content as compared to bag fertilizer. It's biggest benefit is that it adds nutrients as well as biomass of the soil and in so doing helps to create an excellent, less compactible soil bed which is very beneficial to the grass the following spring. The grass build up under the lawn mower deck is very similar only it has not been processed in the horses gut. If the flys become an issue; I would suggest spreading some Fly Preditors around your yard and areas near where the horses poop. Fly Preditors are a little spendy but they work really well when applied properly. You can do as Murf suggested and compost it down if you have the yard space and time which is probably the best method. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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cherron
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Brighton, CO
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2007-08-13          144655


Properly prepared horse manure requires not only the proper aging, but should be screened to help eliminate some of the undigested weed seeds. You could conceivably grow yourself quite a crop of new weeds if you fail to complete this second step.

In addition, manure is known to carry a relatively high salt content. Horses love salt licks, and using their waste products for manure on your lawn will certainly result in an increase of the salinity in your soil. Over time the exclusive use of this manure may actually begin to retard the growth of your lawn, as the acid content of your soil begins to deteriorate and leach-out from the excess of salt. I only bring this to your attention, as I would hate to see you stuck with "Bandini mountain." :) ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-08-13          144656


Thanks for the input Cherron. I have decided NOT to use the horse manure. There seems to be too many negatives. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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cherron
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Brighton, CO
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2007-08-13          144658


This news article from Reuters could be rather appropriate...

Odor leads agents to dung depot

Police find 20,000 cubic yards of manure at home; owner faces jail, fines
Reuters
Updated: 9:10 p.m. MT Aug 1, 2007

MIAMI - A Florida man stockpiled 20,000 cubic yards of horse manure on his property and was charged with running an illegal composting operation, environmental regulators said Wednesday.

Neighbors complained about the odor wafting from Walter Duque's property in the rural community of Loxahatchee, where several acres were covered with 15-foot-high manure piles, the state Department of Environmental Protection said.

Investigators suspect Duque had been accepting dump truck loads of horse manure from nearby equestrian communities in Palm Beach County, agency spokesman Stephen Webster said.

They issued three misdemeanor citations for violations punishable by up to 18 months in jail and $30,000 in fines.

Florida requires special permits for composting and storing horse manure and regularly inspects the operations to ensure ground water is not polluted, Webster said.

Now ain't that the shitz... ;)

....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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horsey1
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3 USA
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2007-08-17          144783


I'm new to this forum & the first topic I saw was about horse manure :) I have a horse & compost the manure. In the summer it breaks down completely in 2 months. Horses don't digest their food the same way that cows do, so to use horse manure on lawns/gardens you not only have to compost it, but bring the compost to a hot temp (cook it) to kill the hay seeds that weren't digested. Otherwise you'll have lots of weeds. It does make a good compost. I got some plastic netting/fence and vegetable stakes & made a cubic yard compost bin. Cheap & easy. Any odor can be controled with lime. ....

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Horse Manure as Lawn Fertilizer

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
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2007-08-17          144786


Thank you horsey1. Welcome to tractorpoint! ....

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