I have bought an orchard recently which has 42 apples 26 walnuts and 27 and some other trees. I know that no fertilizer has been added to soil for at least 2 years. I have read that adding 10cm of manure would help soil improvement. But local farmers here told me that that much of manure will kill your trees And they say you should apply that manure in fall and not summer (now).

So what should I do?

1- Is it safe to add 10 cm of manure.

2- Can I add that much of manure right now or should I wait until fall.

  • have you looked into adding certain types of mycelium to the orchard instead of manure, because some types will improve plant health dramatically? Jun 26, 2019 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


Trees have roots in the ground that breathe. They don't like grade changes like you are proposing as it reduces oxygen exchange.

  • It is not safe to add 10 cm of manure at once
  • It is safe to add it in 1 or 2 cm portions
  • manure should be composted. The high nitrogen levels of chicken manure, for example, can burn roots
  • thanks, I meant cow manure. what about timing? Can I add it now or should I wait until fall? Jun 25, 2019 at 22:52
  • 2
    Manure from ruminants (e.g. cows) is a very different product than from non-ruminants (e.g. horses, or chickens). Cow manure has a much higher water content, and a much smaller amount of "fast food" for bacteria, because ruminants are much more efficient at digesting food than non ruminants. There isn't much danger of "burning" plants with it. But a 10cm layer of cow manure all at once will turn your orchard into a stinking mudbath for years before it gets broken down into the soil! Even 1cm sounds a too much - though to be honest I've never measured applying cow manure by thickness.
    – alephzero
    Jun 25, 2019 at 23:55
  • @alephzero thanks you have helped me a lot. I would be so grateful if you could read my other question gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/46452/… Jun 26, 2019 at 12:50

Actually it is safe to add 10cm of manure around your orchard, you can actually go up to 20cm.


The manure must be well composted. If still fresh, it will indeed kill or seriously damage the tree.

The manure must NOT touch the tree trunk in anyway or it will start rotting.

The manure must preferably be applied in late winter with added fertiliser such as growmore or FBB.

We do this just after the winter pruning!

  • Practices vary by location. What part of the world are you in and what kind of orchard?
    – kevinskio
    Jun 28, 2019 at 15:08
  • UK. Yes practice may vary but fruit trees always need a boost as they just come out of dormancy
    – user33232
    Jun 29, 2019 at 8:07

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