Uncomposted Cow Manure

Asked August 5, 2017, 9:47 AM EDT

My neighbor uses uncomposted cow manure on his garden and says the only restriction is that he doesn't plant where he puts the fresh manure until the manure breaks down. Is he correct?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

We assume you are speaking about his vegetable garden, right? How large is his garden?
In normal sized vegetable gardens, this is not something that we would recommend. There are concerns about drawing flies/insects, but most importantly the possible run-off of water contaminated with pathogens that could cause illness.
This would be especially true if he were growing leafy greens or other vegetables that are difficult to clean and are not peeled.

Applications of uncomposted manure should only be done in the Fall.
It should be mixed into the top 4-6 inches of soil;
not left on top of the ground.

Here is our publication on soil amendments with more information: