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What Plants Don’t Like Horse Manure: A Gardener’s Guide

Did you know that not all plants are fans of horse manure? While it can be a valuable source of nutrients and fertilizer for vegetable gardens, understanding its impact on plant growth is crucial for successful gardening. Horse manure, when used properly as a fertiliser, has the potential to enhance soil fertility and promote healthy plant growth. Its organic matter improves soil structure and moisture retention, benefiting the roots of various plants. However, it’s important to be cautious of fertilizer burn when using manures in your garden.

However, it’s important to note that some plants may not thrive with horse manure. Factors such as the type of plant species, the method of application, and the quantity used can influence their response to manures. So if you’re wondering which plants don’t like horse manure or how to best utilize this brown gold as a fertilizer in your vegetable gardens, keep reading! We’ll explore the dos and don’ts to ensure your plants receive optimal care while harnessing the value of this natural fertiliser.

Discover which vegetable gardens prefer other sources of fertiliser for growth and why certain crops’ root systems may find horse manure less appealing. So saddle up and let’s explore how to make your garden flourish while navigating through what works and what doesn’t with manures.

Stay tuned for tips, insights, and surprising facts about plant growth in relation to horse manure – because sometimes even the vegetable garden needs a little guidance! Discover the benefits of using manures as fertilizer and avoid the risk of fertilizer burn. Learn how dung can nourish your plants and help them thrive.

what plants don't like horse manure

Types of Manure to Avoid: Understanding the Burning Effect

Using manure as a fertilizer in your vegetable garden can be incredibly beneficial for your plants. However, not all types of manure, such as dung, are suitable for every plant. In fact, some plants don’t particularly like horse manure due to its potential burning effect caused by herbicides. Let’s delve into why this happens and how you can avoid it.

Fresh Horse Manure: A Recipe for Disaster

Fresh horse manure, also known as dung, is a nutrient-rich option for fertilizing your vegetable garden. However, it’s important to be cautious when using it. The high nitrogen content in fresh horse manure can cause “manure burn” or “fertilizer burn” if applied directly to plants.

Nitrogen Levels in Horse Manure

The nitrogen levels in horse dung can vary based on the horses’ diet. Horses fed diets rich in grains or supplements have higher nitrogen levels in their vegetable garden waste. Using such dung increases the risk of plant burning.

Composting: The Solution to Reduce Burning Effects

One effective way to reduce the burning effect of horse dung is through composting. Composting allows organic matter, including dung, to decompose over time, breaking down the excess nitrogen and other potentially harmful compounds present in fresh dung.

To compost horse manure:

  1. Collect a sufficient amount of fresh horse manure.
  2. Mix the composted manure with other organic materials such as straw or leaves, including horse manure compost, rabbit manure, and cow manure.
  3. Create a compost pile or use a compost bin.
  4. Regularly turn the composted manure pile or mix the horse manure compost contents inside the bin to promote decomposition and prevent manure burn.
  5. Allow the composting process to take place for several months until fresh horse dung and rabbit manure turns into dark, crumbly material. Composted manure is important to prevent manure burn.

Composted horse manure provides a more balanced and nutrient-rich fertilizer that is less likely to burn your plants. It also helps improve soil structure, retains moisture, and promotes beneficial microbial activity.

Age and Composition Matter

When using horse manure in gardening, it’s crucial to consider both the age and composition of the manure. Older horse manure that has undergone composting or has been allowed to age naturally is generally safer for plants. The decomposition process reduces the nitrogen content, making it less likely to cause burning.

The composition of horse manure can vary depending on what bedding material was used. Manure mixed with straw bedding tends to be more suitable for plants compared to manure mixed with wood shavings or sawdust.

By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that the horse manure you use as a fertilizer doesn’t harm your precious plants.

what plants don't like horse manure

What Plants Don’t Like Horse Manure: Mixing Horse Manure with Compost: A Balanced Approach to Fertilization

Creating a Balanced Fertilizer Mix

Finding the right balance is key. One effective way to achieve this balance is by combining horse manure with compost. This dynamic duo creates a powerful fertilizer mix that can greatly benefit your garden.

Breaking Down Potential Pathogens and Weed Seeds

Composting horse manure with other organic materials is an essential step in the process. Not only does it help break down potential pathogens, but it also helps eliminate weed seeds. This ensures that when you apply the fertilizer mix to your plants, you won’t be introducing any harmful elements or unwanted green invaders.

Improving Nutrient Availability and Soil Structure

The addition of compost to horse manure brings about several advantages for your plants. One significant benefit is improved nutrient availability. Compost contains a rich array of nutrients that are slowly released into the soil, providing a steady supply for your plants’ needs.

Using compost, such as composted manure, rabbit manure, and horse dung, enhances soil structure. It improves drainage and aeration, allowing plant roots to grow more freely and access vital oxygen. With better soil structure, your plants will thrive and have a stronger foundation for growth. Horse muck is also beneficial for the soil.

Reducing the Risk of Nutrient Imbalances

Using well-composted horse manure significantly reduces the risk of nutrient imbalances in garden soils. When raw manure is applied directly without proper decomposition, it can release excessive amounts of certain nutrients like nitrogen, which may harm your plants.

By composting horse manure before application, you allow time for these nutrients to stabilize and become more balanced. This ensures that your plants receive an optimal blend of essential elements without overwhelming them.

So how exactly can you go about mixing horse manure with compost? Here are some practical steps:

  1. Collect fresh horse manure from stables or farms.
  2. Combine the horse manure with other organic materials such as kitchen scraps, leaves, or grass clippings in a compost bin.
  3. Regularly turn the compost, including composted manure, horse dung, and horse muck, to aid decomposition and ensure even breakdown of materials.
  4. Monitor the moisture levels of the compost pile, keeping it damp but not soggy. This is especially important when using composted manure or horse dung.
  5. Allow the composting process to occur for several months until the horse manure has fully decomposed and transformed into rich, dark compost.

Once your horse manure has transformed into well-composted material, you can use it as a fertilizer in your garden. Apply it around your plants’ base or mix it into the top layer of soil for optimal results.

Drawbacks of Using Horse Manure in Gardening: Potential Challenges

Harmful Bacteria and Parasites

Using uncomposted or improperly composted horse manure in your garden can pose serious health risks to both humans and animals. Horse droppings may contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can contaminate the soil and potentially infect anyone who comes into contact with it. These pathogens can cause illnesses such as E. coli, salmonella, or parasitic infections. It’s important to ensure that any horse manure used in gardening has been properly composted to eliminate these potential dangers.

Excessive Nutrient Buildup

While horse manure is a valuable source of nutrients for plants, overapplication or using fresh manure can lead to excessive nutrient buildup in the soil. This imbalance can harm plants rather than benefit them. Too much nitrogen from horse manure can burn plant roots and leaves, stunting their growth or even killing them. Excess nutrients from the manure can leach into nearby water sources, causing pollution and harming aquatic life.

To avoid these issues:

  • Compost horse manure before using it in your garden to allow it to break down properly and reduce its nutrient concentration.
  • Test your soil regularly to monitor nutrient levels and adjust fertilizer application accordingly. Consider using composted manure or horse dung as a natural fertilizer option.
  • Mix horse manure with other organic matter like compost or straw to create a balanced blend for your plants.

Inconsistent Supply of Well-Composted Manure

Obtaining a consistent supply of well-composted horse manure for gardening purposes can be challenging for some gardeners. Depending on your location, finding a reliable source of high-quality composted horse manure may not always be easy. This inconsistency in supply may make it difficult to rely solely on horse manure as a fertilizer option for your garden.

To address this challenge:

  • Explore alternative organic fertilizers such as compost made from kitchen scraps or commercially available organic fertilizers, including horse dung.
  • Reach out to local horse farms or stables to inquire about their manure composting practices and availability.

Considering the Drawbacks When deciding whether or not to use horse manure in your garden, it’s crucial to weigh these potential challenges. While horse manure can provide valuable nutrients for your plants when used correctly, the risks of contamination, nutrient imbalance, and inconsistent supply should be taken into account. By being aware of these drawbacks and taking appropriate precautions, you can make informed decisions regarding the use of horse manure in your gardening practices.

Remember: Always prioritize the health and well-being of yourself, your plants, and the environment when choosing manure compost fertilizers for your garden.

So there you have it! The potential challenges associated with using horse manure in gardening. Be cautious with uncomposted or improperly composted manure due to harmful bacteria and parasites. Avoid overapplication to prevent excessive nutrient buildup that could harm plants and water sources. Lastly, consider the availability of well-composted horse manure before relying solely on it as a fertilizer option. Happy gardening!

Plants that Don't Thrive with Horse Manure

Incompatible Vegetables: Plants that Don’t Thrive with Horse Manure

Root Crops: Forked and Misshapen Roots

Horse manure can be a fantastic source of nutrients. However, certain plants may not appreciate its high nitrogen content. Root crops like carrots and potatoes are particularly sensitive to this nutrient imbalance. When grown in soil enriched with horse manure, these vegetables may develop forked or misshapen roots.

Carrots, for example, rely on well-balanced soil conditions to grow straight and uniform. The excess nitrogen from horse manure can cause the roots to split or become twisted. Similarly, potatoes may also exhibit irregular shapes when grown in such soil.

Leafy Greens: Excessive Foliage but Lackluster Flavor

While lettuce and spinach thrive in nutrient-rich environments, they can become excessively leafy when grown with horse manure. Unfortunately, this abundance of foliage often comes at the expense of flavor.

Leafy greens require a balanced blend of nutrients to develop their distinct taste profiles. When exposed to high levels of nitrogen found in fresh horse manure, these vegetables tend to prioritize leaf growth over flavor development. As a result, you might end up with an abundance of greenery but lack the delicious taste you were hoping for.

Alliums: Reduced Bulb Development

Onions and other alliums are commonly cultivated in vegetable gardens due to their culinary versatility and pungent flavors. However, if you’re planning on using horse manure as a fertilizer, it’s important to note that these plants may experience reduced bulb development.

Alliums rely on steady nutrient uptake throughout their growth cycle for optimal bulb formation. Fresh horse manure contains high levels of ammonia that can hinder bulb development in these plants. To ensure robust onion bulbs, it’s best to avoid using soil enriched with high levels of fresh horse manure.

Brassicas: Increased Susceptibility to Diseases

Brassicas, a family of vegetables that includes cabbage and broccoli, are known for their nutritional value and versatility in the kitchen. However, when grown in soil containing uncomposted horse manure, these plants may become more susceptible to diseases like clubroot.

Clubroot is a fungal disease that affects the roots of brassicas, causing them to become swollen and distorted. The harmful bacteria present in uncomposted horse manure can contribute to the development and spread of this disease. To protect your brassicas from clubroot, it’s advisable to use well-composted horse manure or opt for alternative fertilizers.

Flowering Plants and Horse Manure: Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Blooms

Perennial Flowers: A Boost from Well-Composted Horse Manure

Perennial flowers, such as geraniums, begonias, and snapdragons, can greatly benefit from the addition of well-composted horse manure during their active growth periods. This organic matter enriches the soil with essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The slow release of these nutrients ensures a steady supply for your plants throughout the season.

When applying horse manure to perennial flowers, it’s important to work it into the soil around the plants’ root zones. This allows the roots to access the nutrients effectively. Mixing composted horse manure with existing soil also enhances its water-holding capacity and improves drainage, promoting healthy root development.

Annual Flowers: Balancing Fertilizer for Optimal Growth

Annual flowers like petunias, marigolds, zinnias, and poppies have different nutritional requirements compared to perennials. While they can still benefit from some organic matter like horse manure, they generally prefer a balanced fertilizer mix that provides a broader range of nutrients.

Using solely horse manure as a fertilizer for annual flowers may not provide all the necessary elements needed for optimal growth. Supplementing with a commercial fertilizer designed specifically for flowering annuals will ensure they receive adequate amounts of micronutrients like iron and magnesium.

Avoid Direct Application of Fresh Horse Manure

Fresh horse manure contains high levels of ammonia and other compounds that can burn or damage delicate flowering plants. It’s crucial to avoid applying fresh manure directly around the base of your flowering plants. Instead, consider composting it first before use.

Composting breaks down the harmful compounds in fresh manure while promoting beneficial microbial activity. Once fully composted (usually after several months), horse manure becomes safe to use around flowering plants. This composted manure not only provides essential nutrients but also improves soil structure, aeration, and water-holding capacity.

Enhancing Soil Health for Vibrant Blooms

By adding well-composted horse manure to your garden beds, you can significantly improve overall soil health. The organic matter in the compost helps retain moisture, reduces erosion, and enhances soil fertility. It also encourages beneficial microbial activity that aids in nutrient cycling.

When incorporating horse manure into your garden soil, ensure an even distribution throughout the planting area. This will prevent localized nutrient imbalances and promote consistent growth across all your flowering plants.

To summarize:


  • Use well-composted horse manure for perennial flowers.
  • Work the composted manure into the soil around the root zones of perennials.
  • Supplement annual flowers with a balanced fertilizer mix alongside horse manure.
  • Compost fresh horse manure before applying it to flowering plants.
  • Ensure even distribution of horse manure to enhance soil health.


  • Apply fresh horse manure directly around the base of flowering plants.
  • Rely solely on horse manure as a fertilizer for annual flowers.
what plants don't like horse manure


In conclusion,It is important to consider the specific needs of different plants. Fruiting plants, such as vegetables and flowering plants, have their own preferences and requirements. By understanding the potential challenges and drawbacks of using horse manure, you can make informed decisions for your garden.

Firstly, it is crucial to avoid certain types of manure that may cause a burning effect on plants. This can be detrimental to their growth and overall health. Secondly, a balanced approach to fertilization involves mixing horse manure with compost. This combination provides the necessary nutrients while avoiding excessive concentration that could harm plant growth.

Furthermore, not all vegetables thrive with horse manure. Some are incompatible and may suffer from nutrient imbalances or other issues when exposed to this type of fertilizer. It is essential to research which vegetables are best suited for horse manure application.

Dos and don’ts should be followed for healthy blooms. Understanding the appropriate amount and timing of horse manure application can significantly impact flower production and overall plant vitality.

To ensure successful gardening with horse manure, keep these key points in mind: choose the right type of manure, mix it with compost for balance, be cautious with incompatible vegetables, and follow proper guidelines for flowering plants. By doing so, you can create an optimal environment for your plants’ growth and yield.

Now that you have a better understanding of what fruits and flowers likeTake action! Apply this newfound knowledge in your garden today and witness the positive effects on your harvests or blossoms.


Q: Can I use fresh horse manure directly on my vegetable garden?

A: It is generally recommended to compost fresh horse manure before applying it directly onto vegetable gardens. Composting helps break down the manure, reducing the risk of burning plants and allowing for better nutrient absorption.

Q: How long should I compost horse manure before using it in my garden?

A: Composting horse manure typically takes around six to twelve months. This timeframe allows for proper decomposition and ensures that any harmful bacteria or pathogens are eliminated.

Q: Are there any vegetables that specifically benefit from horse manure?

A: Yes, certain vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash, and corn tend to thrive when provided with well-composted horse manure. However, it is crucial to monitor their growth and adjust the amount of manure accordingly.

Q: Can I use horse manure as a top dressing for flower beds?

A: Yes, horse manure can be used as a top dressing for flower beds. However, it is essential to avoid direct contact with plant stems or leaves to prevent potential burning or rotting.

Q: How often should I apply horse manure to my flowering plants?

A: The frequency of applying horse manure to flowering plants depends on various factors such as soil quality and plant type. As a general guideline, once or twice a year during the growing season is usually sufficient. Always monitor your plants’ health and adjust accordingly.

Q: Can using too much horse manure harm my plants?

A: Yes, excessive use of horse manure can lead to nutrient imbalances in the soil and potentially harm your plants. It is important to follow recommended guidelines and avoid over-application.

Q: Is aged horse manure better than fresh manure for gardening?

A: Aged or composted horse manure is generally preferred over fresh manure for gardening purposes. Aging allows the breakdown of organic matter into stable nutrients that are more readily available for plant uptake while minimizing the risk of burning or damaging plants.

Q: What other types of organic fertilizers can I use instead of horse manure?

A: If horse manure is not readily available or suitable for your gardening needs, alternatives such as composted cow manure, chicken manure, or commercially available organic fertilizers can be used.