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  #1  
Old 09-06-2007, 09:33 AM
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moria0672 moria0672 is offline
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Default What the truth about horse manure?

Everyday I read in forums and mailing-lists questions about this material to use as media, especially for Cymbidiums.
But it really helps to improve their growing? It's really miraculous as many people said?
I don't know exactely how it works but I have to impressions:
1) Is hard to maintain (it dry to fast in sommer) and probably there are the risk to suffocate the roots.
2) I think there are too much fertilizer (nitrogen) inside and probably in the long run this could be more dangerous than helpful.

Can someone help me to understand better?
Thanks

Last edited by moria0672; 09-07-2007 at 12:59 PM..
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  #2  
Old 09-06-2007, 07:41 PM
michael_exler michael_exler is offline
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Your asking for the truth, but all I can give is personal experience.
As far as I know there are no scientific studies showing good or bad results.
In my experience, Cymbidium do very well potted in Horse manure, given my growing conditions.
I have also found that Phaius tankervilliae does good under the same conditions.
Notice I didn't say very well because I am not as impressed with the results so far.
I suggest you try it yourself on a division that you have no concern with killing and see what happens.
Its all about experimenting and learning so enjoy.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2007, 12:56 PM
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moria0672 moria0672 is offline
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Thanks Michael.
Next time I have a division of my Cymbidiums I will try repotting one or more with horse manure.
By your experience, do you have some particular suggestion?
Thanks

Nice week-end to all.

Last edited by moria0672; 09-07-2007 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:18 PM
michael_exler michael_exler is offline
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I potted my Cymbidium just after blooming in manure and wood shavings ( i believe the shavings where used in the horse stall ).
I water every 3rd day soaking completely.
The manure was very fresh and had the scent of cut grass.
I think it will make a difference with what the horse was fed or where it was grazing.
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2007, 11:13 PM
tbaenziger tbaenziger is offline
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I believe the problem with any 'natural' fertilizer is the variability in the sample, or product, which cannot be measured easily. How much nitrogen (with animals often in form of urine, (NH2)2CO), and how much available, that is, usable to the plant, nitrogen is present? It depends on what the beast ate that day. After all, for the horse, it is getting rid of unpleasantness. How much potassium or other 'good stuff' is in any quantity of manure? An analysis of horse manure is done at http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/ocam...Farms_3-06.pdf. You can see that there is a large amount of water (57%) and bacteria.
My take is to use such things in moderation; in most cases, it is best to a) age it --let it dry: let the bacteria do its job and b) to make a dilute solution -- manure tea, and c) apply sparingly and weakly.
Remember, both Phaius and Cymbidium are heavy feeders and can take an overload of nutrients better than other orchids. Most of the epiphytics and Paphiopedilum especially, in the 'terrestrials' like Phaius, will not respond well to fertilizer overload, indeed they will die from an excess of salt.
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  #6  
Old 04-23-2008, 12:12 AM
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Well, I like to give the orchid a choice and so not force it to accept a direct contact with the horse manure, but place the broken dry horse manure below a thick top layer of something like sphagnum moss, coconut chips, river gravel or charcoal bits, or combination of same. I find that the roots eventually get to the level of the horse manure and do very well. So far I have found no negative effects to my Phaius, Peristeria, Spathoglottis, Calanthe, Sobralia, Reed stem Epidendrums, Cymbidiums, Phragmipediums and Certopodiums. It basically all depends upon the watering schedule relative to climatic conditions and repotting every year before the new shoots appear.

Last edited by Tropic; 04-23-2008 at 12:14 AM..
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:31 PM
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I find this thread interesting as I told my mother (who lives in the highlands of kenya - near the equator) about
adding horse manure to her cymbediums...and as she went on a safari soon afterwards she got herself the elephant variety - she apparently picked it up 'dry' and then soaked it and then mixed it into her normal cymbedium potting mixture, ...she never feeds them, they get rain when it rains and tap water when it doesn't rain..
She re potted her cymbs with the manure and is amazed at the difference!
voilą , thats my little tale to add to the subject ...
it's all probably due to manure from any herbivore
that contains 'something ' the orchids love!
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2008, 07:32 PM
Tropic Tropic is offline
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Well, not really all herbivores supply good friendly manure for orchid plants. Some of it is really too 'strong' and can burn the roots and even the plants from splashing ammonia when watering. Cow, sheep and goat manure has to be well cured and aged before being used near orchids and even then, applied very sparingly. I have no trouble with horse and pig manure(except for the smell) and chicken manure I only use for tilling into soils for other farm crops. One problem one does have with using fresh horse manure ... and pig manure ... is that they tend to also contain various other plant seeds that germinate and become real pests. For this reason it is probably best to have a well composted manure that tends to limit some of this undesireable seed germination. But without a doubt, keeping the orchid nutrition natural sure pays off on the long run with healthy plants and excellent flowers.

Last edited by Tropic; 04-30-2008 at 07:41 PM..
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  #9  
Old 04-30-2008, 10:24 PM
Andrew Andrew is offline
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Haven't tried it for the reason I'm talking about below but If you look at the method used by Nic Van Den Bosch, you'll notice that he used fresh manure and kept it constantly moist. I imagine the regular watering acts to dilute the nutrients in the manure to a point where direct contact with the roots is not a problem. You'll notice that for most orchids he watered every day although for heavy feeders like cymbidiums this could be extended to every two days without burning. I suspect proper moisture is probably the key to why people have either good or bad results with manure.
As for using old manure instead, most gardeners don't use old, weathered horse manure because it has been stripped of it's nutrients. It probably has as much nutritional value as bark with none of the structure so I can't see a point to using it. Cow manure would be more preferable as a top dressing/tea. Van Den Bosch's method relied on (A) fresh manure and (B) not watering so much that the drain off leached the nutrients from the manure.
Interesting method although I wonder whether more regular liquid fertilising wouldn't produce much the same results.

Last edited by Andrew; 04-30-2008 at 10:27 PM..
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:57 AM
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  1. There is no way on God's green earth I'm going to have piles of sh*t in my greenhouse.
  2. That would also be somewhat less pleasant when the plants came into bloom and I wanted to take them into my display area in my kitchen.
  3. Such a method may be "wholesome", but it is unsanitary. It's certainly not "natural" for plants to grow in it - except maybe those magic mushrooms I remember from college days. Oh wait. They're a fungus, not a plant. (Yes, I know - growing in clay pellets ain't natural either.)
  4. There is no way to control the level of nutrition the plant is getting.
  5. The nutrition provided by dung is incomplete, as well.
  6. Andrew's point about a better liquid fertilization regimen is right on. In semi-hydroponics, in which established plants simply cannot be overwatered, I will sometimes feed and water them 5 or more times a week (I'm really going after the "mounties", but they all get it simultaneously). The result: larger plants with more leaves, more frequent flowering with more- and bigger blossoms.
To sum it up: When horses or cows fly and leave deposits in trees, and we learn that orchids do so much better because of that, then I might reconsider.
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