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A horse produces up to one ton of manure per month. Once composted, it becomes a nutrient-rich soil supplement that helps any garden. The manure works enriches clay-based garden areas, levels the soil's pH and supplies nutrients to the planting area. Horse manure must undergo composting rendering it safe for garden use.
Composting Time Frame
Fresh horse manure burns a plant's the foliage and root system. It adds weed seeds into the garden and may stunt crops. Manure must undergo a decay process rendering it safe. Allowed to naturally decompose, horse manure takes several months or years to undergo the process. Regional weather, rainfall and location affect the deterioration rate. Composting expedites the process, so the manure becomes usable in only a month. Horse manure must heat to approximately 54.4 to 60.0 degrees C for successful composting. The heat breaks down organic material within the manure. The added heat eliminates intestinal worms in the faeces. It destroys most weed seeds.
Composting horse manure requires very little care. Place a manure pile measuring approximately 6 feet in diameter. Consider encircling the compost pile with fencing that holds the manure in a mound form. Do not lay anything on the soil. Pile the manure directly onto the soil's surface, so worms reach the dung. The pile should measure approximately 3 feet or more in height, so it begins heating up within its depth. Keep the pile moist but not overly wet. Sprinkle general purpose fertiliser on the manure pile. The nitrogen in the fertiliser helps the decomposition. Mix the manure at a ratio of approximately 50 per cent with green matter, such as lawn clippings or leaf debris. Continue layering horse manure, fertiliser and green matter as the pile grows.
Urine and Sawdust Benefits
Adding the stable's total bedding with the manure creates the perfect fertiliser balance for the garden. Horse urine contains high levels of potassium, nitrogen and sulphur, which creates a nutrient-rich horse manure fertiliser for the soil. Consider adding a few shovels full of natural soil to the compost pile as it breaks down. The native soil adds microbes to the mixture, which help break it down faster. Shovel through the manure every three to four weeks to help the decomposition process. Covering the pile with blankets keeps the heat within the compost pile. The heat ensures that weed seeds die before applying the manure to the garden.
Horse manure that has successfully undergone a composting system has no odour, feels nutrient rich to the touch and contains few weed seeds. Add the horse manure to the flowerbed, vegetable garden, house plants or apply a thin layer across the lawn's surface. The horse manure makes an ideal mulch when spread 2 to 3 inches deep across the soil's surface. When used as mulch, it helps the soil stay moist and cool the plant's root system in the height of summer.
- Maryland Cooperative Extension; Composting Horse Manure; 2009
- University of Minnesota Extension; Manure and Pasture Management For Recreational Horse Owners; Randall E. James, Ph.D.
- Ohio State University Extension; Horse Manure Management; Randall E. James
- Washington State University; A Guide To Composting Horse Manure; Jessica Paige
- Horse Talk; Horse Manure: An Easy Guide To Composting; Neil Clarkson; June 2006
- Pierce Conservation District; How to Compost and Use Horse Manure; Alayne Blickle
- Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images