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CULT: Manure

In a message dated 4/8/05 6:54:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
jansirisgarden@juno.com writes:

<< Thanks Arnold,  We did add 16-20-0 before planting then have been using
 Miracle Gro Superbloom for the extra phosphorus since Feb. 1 at two week
 intervals.  I'm even seeing some fertilizer burn on the ends so am hoping
 by next season, the manure will have mellowed out and we'll get more
 bloom.  2nd year is always been best for me anyway.  >>

If I may be so bold, if there is a problem here with too lush growth at the 
expense of bloom after resetting, or burn, I don't think that problem arises 
from the use of composted cow manure in the beds. 

Composted manure, cow or horse, is typically only about 2-1-2.5 on the N-P-K 
scale, which I don't consider rich enough to do much of anything, frankly. 
Chicken manure is about 4-3-1, or thereabouts.

The reason manure from cows is generally not recommended as a component of a 
bearded iris bed is that it may contain bacteria that could lead to rot. Hence 
the recommendation that it be incorporated deeper in the bed so as not to 
come in direct contact with the rhizomes. Horse manure may be less of a problem 
in this regard but may also contain feed seeds which can germinate and so cause 
no end of bother. 

Properly composted manure --as distinct from the raw stuff, the so-called 
aged stuff, or the commercial dried stuff-- is generally considered a pretty 
benign substance, horticulturally speaking, indeed its chief benefit is as a soil 

I don't know much about your growing conditions there, specifically about how 
much stuff you need to pump into that soil to keep the levels of nutrients 
up, and I don't know the particulars of the manure you used, but I'd say you 
might want to consider the possibility that the chemical fertilizers you are 
using are causing problems. 


Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA 
In bloom: Clematis armandii, Epimedium ssp., Helleborus ssp., Heartsease   

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