Is Cow Manure Acidic: Using Cow Manure in Your Garden

You may already know that most plants need a boost of nutrition to grow healthy. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to purchase chemical fertilizers! You may be wondering whether cow manure is too acidic for plants. 

After all, for centuries, gardeners (and farmers) boosted the productivity of their plants by applying manure. And you can do that too! As you may expect, there are many types you can choose from (depending on the animal that produces it). Still, one of the most commonly used (even today) is cow manure. 

But is cow manure acidic? Can you use it to lower the pH of the soil? Will it harm your plants? You can find answers to these questions (and much more) in this essential guide we put together for you.

Is Cow Manure Acidic or Good For your Plants? 

is cow manure acidic

Applying cow manure around your plants is an excellent way to improve the soil’s nutrient content and increase drainage. After all, it contains plenty of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, all essential elements for plants’ growth. 

Keep in mind that composted and fresh manure may affect your garden (and your soil’s pH) in different ways. So, depending on your needs, you may be better off using one over the other. 

For instance, if you need to raise the nitrogen content in the substrate, it is better to add fresh manure, which will release the element as it decomposes. On the other hand, composted manure has less nitrogen but higher concentrations of phosphorous and potassium.

Also, it will have a minimal effect on pH. Using composted manure will help boost production, so use it around fruit trees and most vegetables.  

Overall, cow manure is beneficial for your plants. After all, it contributes to increasing the soil’s nutrient content.

Plus, it acts as mulch. Additionally, while most types of manure are high in nitrogen, cow manure contains the necessary quantity that will allow your plants to thrive without burning them.

Is Cow Manure Acidic? 

is cow manure acidic

Adding cow manure to your plants or crops can increase the soil’s nutrient content and result in better harvests. However, not many people know that using it as a soil amendment might affect the pH of your garden.

And because plants might have different growing needs in terms of acidity, you will have to pay attention to how you apply it. After all, you should avoid provoking drastic changes to your garden. 

For instance, if you have a clay substrate in your yard, avoid adding cow manure, which has an acidifying effect. Because the soil will already be slightly acidic before applying manure, its addition might decrease the pH levels and fail to support healthy plant development. 

Interestingly enough (but logically), cow manure’s pH depends on the type of food a cow eats. And that is even though cows have four stomachs. On average, cow manure’s pH is between 4.6 to 7.4. But don’t forget that its quality depends on the techniques used to produce it. 

We recommend you carry out a soil test before adding manure. 

But (usually) you shouldn’t expect cow manure to alter the soil pH. Instead, you can use it to give your plants time to adjust before making the substrate more acidic using heavy applications of lime.

Why Is Cow Manure A Good Option? 

Cow manure is an excellent option to fertilize your plants. Besides what we already said in the previous sections, cow manure can suppress plant diseases. Indeed, this compost contains microorganisms that break down dead plant tissues and contribute to the presence of beneficial bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. 

To get the most out of it, don’t forget to apply manure at the right time of the year. Indeed, doing so too early might cause development issues in your plants (and delay harvests).

The best times to apply manure are after a fall harvest or spring. Don’t forget to water the soil around your plants before adding manure. Doing so will improve absorption and help you exploit manure’s benefits to their best. 

Also, because cow manure tends to be heavier than other types, consider mixing it with hay or straw. Doing so will improve the soil’s aeration, decrease the appearance of fungal infections and other diseases, and even suppress weeds. 

One of the best things about cow manure is that it is a cost-effective solution to boost your plants’ development. Also, you can use it for most species of plants.  

Related Article: Chicken Manure Good for Grass?