horse stall sawdust around my blueberries?

Asked November 7, 2020, 9:50 PM EST

Hello, Can I use the sawdust from my horse stalls, urine with no manure, around my blueberries? Do I need to let it compost or can I apply directly from the stall? Thank you

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for your question. The following OSU Extension article recommends that you not use from this source without first getting it tested for various pH (acidity) and nutrient values before putting it down: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/crop-production/berries/compost-blueberry-plants-testing-tips

Many of these issues change over 6-12 months of composting, including watering and aeration, and might then be safer. The issue that should concern you is the pH of the sawdust, which has absorbed the horse urine. Horse urine has been found to have a very high pH (it is alkaline), which varies depending upon the food source of the horse(s). Blueberries, on the other hand, need a very low pH (very acid) . Before you add anything to the soil, either tilled in or as an above-ground mulch, you should get that soil tested as well. This article contains a list of testing labs: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/em8677

Finally, here is an Extension article on effective composting techniques: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id168/id168.pdf

I hope this is helpful. Good luck!