Is Horse Manure Good for Blueberries?

Is Horse Manure Good for Blueberries?

Our ancestors did not have access to the commercial fertilizers that are readily available today. Instead, they used naturally occurring fertilizers such as manure. Horse manure, specifically, is a kind of manure that we can still use as fertilizer today for some of our plants. It is still easy to get ahold of, especially for equestrians and is free and all-natural, too.

If you are growing plants like blueberries, for example, you may wonder if horse manure can work for your needs. Keep reading to learn more about using horse manure as fertilizer, and why or why not it can be a helpful choice for blueberry plants. 

Is Horse Manure Good for Blueberries?

Horse manure can be a great fertilizer for a number of different plants. However, this does not necessarily mean that all plants can benefit from using horse manure as their fertilizer. Different kinds of plants have different needs, from the soil quality to the amount of water they need to grow and thrive. It is the same with the fertilizer they respond well to, too!

Some plants will benefit from horse manure as a fertilizer, while others will do better with other kinds of fertilizers. It is important that you do your research accordingly if you want your plants to thrive.

Unfortunately, horse manure is not always the best choice for blueberry plants, so if you are working with blueberry plants, it may be better to choose another kind of fertilizer option. 

Also Read – Is Horse Manure Good for Roses?

Why Can’t I Use Horse Manure for Blueberries?

Technically, you can still use horse manure for your blueberry plants. It will not kill them, and can still help them to grow, but it is not necessarily the best option to make them thrive. This is because blueberries are a plant that needs nitrogen-rich soil.

Horse manure does have nitrogen in it, so it is able to fulfill this requirement to some degree, but it does not have the levels of other nutrients that blueberry plants need, too.

This means that there are better fertilizer options out there for your blueberries— after all, you want your plants at their best! We will go over some of these other fertilizer options in more detail below.

Best Fertilizer Options for Blueberries

So, while you can use horse manure for blueberries, it is not always the best way to go. Manure is typically not recommended for flowering plants— and blueberries flower before the fruit grows— because the levels of potassium and phosphorus in the manure are not sufficient. Instead, you will want to look for a fertilizer option that is a balanced blend. It should be a blend with around 20 percent nitrogen. The best ratio is a 10-20-10 ratio for blueberry plants that have already been established. 

You will also want to look at the form of nitrogen in the fertilizer. For instance, avoid the nitrate form, as this can be toxic to blueberry plants. Instead, keep an eye out for nitrogen in an ammonium form, like urea or ammonium sulfate. This is what you will want to use.

Also Read – How to Compost Horse Manure Fast

Frequently Asked Questions

What manure is best for blueberries?

Different kinds of plants, whether they be flowers, fruits, or vegetables, have different needs. They need different levels of light or shade, different amounts of water, and even different kinds of soil. Usually, this has to do with the minerals that are found in the soil. That means not all kinds of fertilizer or manure can work for every kind of plant. You should always do the research first!

If you are growing blueberries and want to opt for a natural kind of fertilizer such as manure, then you are going to want to make sure the manure you choose works for the berries. Blueberries actually do not respond as well to manure-based fertilizers, because they need soil rich in nitrogen, so they need nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

What is the best mulch for blueberries?

Another important staple of gardening, besides fertilizer, is mulch! When you are mulching your blueberry plants, specifically, it is best to only put down a layer of mulch that is 2 to 4 inches thick— as blueberries have very shallow roots. This will help to prevent weeds, conserve moisture, and build organic matter, too. Some of the best mulch for blueberry plants is wood chips or bark mulch.

You can also opt for other organic types of mulch such as pine needles or sawdust. However, there are a few kinds of mulch that you will want to avoid for your blueberries. That would be synthetic varieties of mulch, such as landscape fabric, black plastic, or mulches that are dyed in different colors.

When should you not use horse manure?

As you likely already know, horse manure can be a great tool in the garden! It has been used for many years as a natural fertilizer option, and has the added benefit of being free, too! However, there are some situations where you will want to avoid using horse manure for fertilizer. Fresh manure, for one thing, can burn the roots of the plant, so you will not want to use brand-new manure.

Certain plants also do not respond well to manure, and those are usually leafy greens or root vegetable plants. These would not benefit from the introduction of horse manure. 

How long before you can use fresh horse manure?

Horse manure can be a wonderful fertilizer for your garden and your plants, but you can’t just slap it on there! No, there is a way to do it right. Fresh manure can be harmful to your plants, as it has the tendency to burn the roots. For this reason, you will want to let manure sit for a while before you use it in your green space.

You should compost the manure, which typically takes between 4 to 6 weeks before it is ready to go. Be patient, though— it will be worth it in the end!