There are many ways to improve the soil for a hosta as well as fertilize it. However, all of these ways require knowledge and preparation to use. We will talk about one such way in this article.
Manure is good for hostas as long as it is well composted. It can improve the soil structure and give the hosta plenty of nutrients for intensive growth. Manure can also make the soil better drained.
This is a brief summary of using manure for hostas. Be sure to read the article to the end so you know the ins and outs of this topic and avoid unwanted consequences.
What exactly is manure?
Manure is a substance that accumulates on livestock farms. Animals are kept in straw or other plant litter, which over time is saturated with waste products (feces). This is how manure is produced.
Further, manure is used in horticulture as a fertilizer and soil improver. First of all, manure is able to provide plants with nitrogen because animals usually eat plant food rich in nitrogen.
The use of manure in agriculture is very old. The tradition of fertilizing the land with animal products dates back to ancient Egypt.
Types of manure
The most common type of manure is cow manure. This is no coincidence because cows are the most abundant in livestock production.
Cow manure is good because it contains a lot of nitrogen, which makes it possible for the hosta to have large green leaves. And it also has potassium, which also has a positive effect on growth.
The disadvantage of cow manure is that it is too wet. It has to be prepared before use, but we will talk about this in the following chapters.
Very similar to cow manure is horse and sheep manure. It has the same properties, so there is no need to talk about it separately.
What is worth mentioning is chicken manure. It contains a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus. This not only makes it possible to increase the leaves of the hosta but also to stimulate the development of a stronger root system.
But chicken manure is very concentrated and contains a lot of ammonia. This can be very damaging to the plants. It should be diluted in water before use and left to stand for at least a few weeks.
What kind of manure should I use for the hostas?
For hostas, you only need to use well-composted manure. It should sit in a compost pit or pile for about a year and age well.
Just spread the manure on a pile no more than 2 to 3 feet high. Make sure the air has access to the manure, that is, don’t cover the manure. All the gases should come out of it.
After a year or so, shovel the manure to make it finer. This will greatly improve nutrient absorption.
Avoid using fresh manure as it contains a lot of nitrogen and ammonia. These substances can easily damage the leaves and stems of the hosta.
Also, fresh manure is very wet. If you use it to feed your hostas, it can cause root rot.
On the other hand, you can find ready-to-use manure on the market. In this case, strictly follow the supplier’s recommendations.
The best time to apply manure to hostas
The best time to apply manure to hostas is early spring. Apply it before the leaves begin to unfurl.
This will provide the hosta with organic nutrients for the entire growing season. The manure will decompose little by little and the hosta’s roots will absorb the nutrients.
Using manure in the summer is also possible, but it has one drawback. If you use manure when the hosta already has leaves and stems, it can damage them if it gets on them.
Also, avoid using manure in the fall or over the winter. Otherwise, the hosta may release new leaves and they will die in the winter.
How to apply manure for hostas?
To properly apply manure for hostas, sprinkle 1-2 pounds under each hosta. The amount of manure used for a particular plant will vary. Large hostas can be given 3 pounds, while dwarf hostas will suffice with half a pound.
Spread the manure evenly around the hosta. Avoid putting manure in the place where the leaves will emerge. It is best to have a gap of at least 2 inches between the center of the bush and the manure.
Next, shovel the soil with a hand trowel to mix the compost and soil. Be very careful not to damage the roots of the hosta. Drip no deeper than 1 to 2 inches.
Next, water with 1-2 gallons of water if the soil is dry.
The second way to apply manure is before planting. Sprinkle manure into the planting hole and mix it with regular soil. The hosta can be planted in this substrate.
Is manure safe for hostas?
Well-composted manure is safe for the hosta if applied correctly. You need to avoid getting it on the leaves and stems. Also, when applying manure to the soil, try to avoid direct contact with the roots.
Never exceed the amount of compost you apply. The maximum amount of manure for the largest hosta should be no more than 3 pounds per year. The smaller the hosta, the less manure it needs.
Too much manure can cause root scorch and browning of the leaves.
If we are talking about fresh manure, it is not safe for hostas. Even a little of it can cause burns on any part of the hosta. Also, fresh manure releases ammonia, which can lead to root rot.
Alternatives to manure
The best alternative to manure for hostas is compost. It is also an organic fertilizer but made from plants. So it’s safer and just as effective.
You can find many excellent suppliers of compost on the market. You will have a large selection of this great organic fertilizer.
The second alternative is the mineral slow-release fertilizer. Although many people avoid using it, it is a very good option.
Mineral fertilizer can provide your hostas with everything they need. At the same time, the slow-release option will spread the benefits throughout the season.