Roses forum→Is it ok to use Ace Steer Manure as a mulch on my container roses?

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Name: Dennis Brown
The Big Island, Hawaii
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kohala
May 29, 2020 7:52 PM CST
My wife ventured out to the local Ace store looking for cow manure. The only thing she could find was steer manure. I have over 100 roses grown in containers in Miracle-Grow potting soil. I fertilize them every three weeks with fish emulsion fertilizer. Would it be beneficial to use the steer manure as a top dressing, or would it be advisable to use something else or nothing at all. My roses are growing extremely well with only a bout of black spot, which seems to have been controlled by our mostly dry spring/summer weather.

Aloha from the Big Island,

Dennis
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Plant Identifier Raises cows Roses Farmer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
porkpal
May 29, 2020 9:17 PM CST
In what way do you feel that steer manure would differ from cow manure?
Porkpal
Name: Dennis Brown
The Big Island, Hawaii
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kohala
May 29, 2020 10:06 PM CST
porkpal said:In what way do you feel that steer manure would differ from cow manure?


Well, I've only grown roses for a year and I have a lot to learn. I assumed, apparently falsely, that since manure manufactures distinguish between steer and cow manure there may be a difference in terms of their effect on roses. My bad.
Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Roses
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Mustbnuts
May 30, 2020 4:09 AM CST
Nah, no worries, Dennis. Doesn't Steer Manure sound more "manly"? Like it is good strong stuff that will be much better than any old "cow" manure. Good marketing ploy! LOL!

In actuality, cow manure is normally, 11-7-10 for its NPK. Steer manure is normally 14-5-8 for its NPK and therefore has a little bit more nitrogen in it and less of your phosphorus and potassium. So check the NPK levels to see what they are (should be listed on the package).

Your N will produce your green foliage. Too much and you get lots of leaves but not as much flower production. Too little and you get yellow leaves and not a lot of new growth.

P gives you strong roots and flower production. Too little and you get dull foliage, weak stems, and buds that refuse to open.

K gives you vigorous growth. Too little and you get weak stems, poorly developed buds, leave edges that turn yellow and then brown.

I would go ahead and use the steer manure but alternate it with the fish emulsion. Usually the fish emulsion has other nutrients in it that roses need. If your plantings are new, I would stick with the fish emulsion for now until they mature a bit. You don't want to over feed or burn any roots. Remember, a little goes a long way. Especially if your roses are in pots. You may just need to feed them on a more frequent basis than those in the ground. Check your leaves, buds, etc., for signs for what they may need.

For me, I find it easy to over feed my plants (that old saying that if a little is good, then a lot must be better---so not true!). Your conditions are so different than mine. I live where it is much hotter and dryer, so therefore, I tend not to fertilize at all in the summer. My plants are just trying to survive. Even the ones in pots. They get fed about 3 times a year, if they are lucky--with a good slow release organic fertilizer and supplements (if they are lucky) . However, I am going to try an experiment this year, to see if one additional feeding for the ones in pots improves them or stresses them out too much (yes, my garden is a continual experiment for me). Of course, it depends on the weather. We have been 108 F this week so it is way too hot to feed any of my plants. Mostly, they will be getting an additional application of compost.

I think you told me that you live on the dryer side of the island, so I am not sure how much rain you get annually (I am lucky to get 10--11 inches in a year and this year it was less). So I don't know how much rain or water you have that might leach out the minerals, etc., from your pots. So that will make a difference too. Gosh, I hope I didn't confuse you. It is about 3 am here and I need to get back to bed and sleep. So give it a whirl. Don't over fertilize. Wait until your new plants are a bit more mature before you try the steer manure on them. A little does go a long way. See how your plants respond to what you do and use. I have some roses that are heavy feeders and some that are not. As one of my teachers told us, answer questions with, "It all depends...".
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
May 30, 2020 6:49 AM CST
Wow Mustbnuts, thank you!

I would never have guessed there was a difference in the doo-doo depending on the type of the cow. Or that they were consistent in their content to begin with. I guess farm animals do eat pretty regimented diets nowadays.

(though now I am looking at your username and wondering if I should believe you after all ... j/k)
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Plant Identifier Raises cows Roses Farmer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
porkpal
May 30, 2020 8:30 AM CST
Steers and cows ordinarily are fed differently. Cows are well maintained to produce calves, steers are usually being free fed to grow quickly for slaughter. Thus a slight difference in output. Also because of convenience of collection, most "cow" manure is probably steer manure. It is easier to drag a feed lot than a pasture.
Porkpal
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
May 30, 2020 8:57 AM CST
hmm, knowing there is a difference, I would have expected 'cow' to be from cleaning out milking sheds and 'steer' to be from feedlots, but I'm not actually a farm girl, I just live next to them. Big Grin
Coastal Southern California (Zone 13a)
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jerijen
May 30, 2020 10:33 AM CST
Just one caution on steer manure.

I follow Dean Hole in believing that manures are gold to roses. And I will mulch with FRESH horse manure any chance I can.

BUT ... commercial steer manure is a byproduct of feed-lots ... in which cattle are fed a lot of salt, to make them drink water and "bulk up" before slaughter. (Please, no comments on feed lots or animal rights!).

That means that there's a lot of salt in commercial steer manure, so while you CAN just use it out of the bag, it would probably be ideal to compost it, and let the salts leach out.
Name: Dennis Brown
The Big Island, Hawaii
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kohala
May 30, 2020 12:15 PM CST
Thanks so much for the great advice. I'll stick with fish emulsion for the time being.
Zone 9, Sunset Zone 9 (Zone 9b)
Roses
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Mustbnuts
May 31, 2020 2:01 AM CST
Sounds like great advice, Dennis. I don't think you can go wrong with it. Next time, you can try some compost or alfalfa meal or just a general all-purpose fertilizer for roses such as Rose-Tone or Dr. Earth's rose food if you want to use one of those. If you have critters (aka mice, etc.,) in your area, don't get the alfalfa pellets (that can attract them), just the meal. Also, if you are near a place that makes Kona Coffee, those used coffee grounds are nice as a top dressing.

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