If you have a pet dog and a garden, you may wonder if dog poop could be used as fertilizer. Seems a better idea than dumping into the landfill, isn’t it?
Dog poop is good fertilizer for flowers if you can add it to the compost pile along with materials such as straw, grass clippings, dried leaves, and vegetable waste. The dog poop will break down into nutrients over time as it matures.
Do not use fresh dog poop in your garden because it contains pathogens that can harm you and your pets. It can attract pests and diseases to your plants as well.
When Can Dog Poop Work as Fertilizer?
You can use dog poop as fertilizer after it has fully composted as part of your compost pile. The composting process reaches a temperature of up to 60 degrees Celsius. This is sufficient to kill the harmful pathogens in dog poop.
Once the compost is ready, you can use it to fertilize the flower plants in your garden. But make sure it does not come into contact with your vegetable plants because it may still contain traces of dog poop. This can make you sick if the vegetables are consumed without a good cleaning.
Why You Should Not Use Fresh Dog Poop As Fertilizer?
It is too acidic
Unlike nutrient-rich cow manure, dog poop doesn’t contain the right nutrients to be a stand-alone fertilizer. The doggie diet is high in protein.
When the protein breaks down it becomes acidic and that is not healthy for plants. Cow poop on the other hand is made up of plant material that is not acidic.
It doesn’t break down easily
Did you know that a pile of dog poop can sit for an entire year without breaking down if it is not distributed in cold conditions?
This is especially the case for a dog that primarily eats meat without many vegetables, fruits, and grains in the diet. The poop of a dog that eats grains and veggies will probably decompose in nine weeks.
It could have parasites
Your dog’s poop contains the bacteria in its body. One gram of dog feces can be home to 23 million bacteria. Having that amount of bacteria in your garden and your plants is not safe.
Their stool also contains parasites like parvovirus, trichinosis, hookworms, and roundworms. These are some of the parasites that come from dogs and have the potential to infect human beings.
How to Compost Dog Poop
First of all, you need a few basic materials. There are two categories of materials: Nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich components.
- Vegetable waste
- Green grass clippings
- Animal manure from cows, pigs, chicken, and other herbivorous animals
- Commercial fertilizer
- Dog poop
- Fish scraps
- Chopped hay or straw
- Fallen leaves
- Newspaper shreddings
- Long-stemmed thermometer (buy it at a garden supplies store)
- Moisture meter (to help monitor the moisture content of the compost)
- Fork and shovel. The fork is helpful during turning and mixing. The shovel is used to add and measure ingredients and materials for the compost. If you have a big dog, you can pick up the poop using a big dog pooper scooper.
- A bin where you will place the compost. Some people prefer to use a pit but it can be difficult to effectively reach into the pit and turn the compost.
There are two methods of making dog poop compost. In the first method, you take all the ingredients and put them together into the bin at the same time. With this method, you can be assured that the ingredients will begin to decompose at the same time.
And you will find the compost gains the highest temperatures when the carbon materials, dog manure, and water are introduced to each other at the same time.
The second method entails adding the carbon materials to the dog poop as you collect the latter. This is easier for most people because the pile doesn’t decompose until you add water to it and turn it.
That means you can collect as much dog poop as you want until you are ready to add water. Because the pile contains dry elements, most people find this method less offensive as the ingredients haven’t begun decomposing yet.
How to Add Dog Poop To Your Compost Pile
Begin by choosing a sunny spot where you place your bin. If it is a pit, make sure that the area is dry. Make sure that the pit is wide and deep enough so that the pile doesn’t run off into the yard where there is human and pet traffic.
Mix the materials in the following proportions: one shovel of sawdust or dead perennial stems or dried corn stalks (or any other carbon material) to two shovels of dog poop. Mix the dog waste and carbon materials and add some water as you turn the mixture.
The next step is to cover the mixture and let it cook for a while. That is when the temperature rises and cooks the compost. When the temperature drops, it is time to turn the compost.
After turning the compost, let it cook until the temperature rises again. Keep breaking, shredding, and chopping the carbon materials as much as possible to speed up the decomposition process.
Continue adding ingredients until the pile is about two to three feet deep. When the bin is full, do not add any more ingredients. Put a cover over the compost. That allows the microbes to break down all the organic materials and as they work, they release the heat that cooks the compost.
You must insert the thermometer into the compost daily and record the temperature. That is to make sure that once the temperature declines, you turn the compost to bring it up again.
When turning the compost, make sure that you move the materials on the outside to the center of the pile. With several turns over six weeks, your compost will be mature.
The most effective and easiest way to tell whether the compost is mature is by monitoring the temperature. That means all the organic materials are well degraded. In such a case, even after turning the compost several times, aerating it, and watering it, the compost will not reheat to reach high temperatures again.
Mature compost is good for your flowers because it doesn’t tie up the oxygen in the soil. But when compost is not mature, it still needs oxygen for cooking and igniting to high temperatures. That means that the oxygen in the soil is not available to the plants as it should be.
Mature compost is dark with a crumbly texture and a good level of moisture. It also has a pleasant earthy smell as opposed to compost that is not ready which tends to still smell of poop and rot.
How to Add the Compost to Flower Plants
Work the compost around the shrubs, trees, and other ornamental plants. You can spread two to three inches of compost across space around the flowers or trees and mix it lightly into the top few inches of the soil.
Turn the compost and soil gently using a garden fork and ensure that the compost is mixed in evenly. Water the soil well to ensure that the plants can access the nutrients from this compost.