Reprint from "Landscape Management" Magazine
JACKSON,Ohio-A soil amendment made from steam-sterilized horse manure is drawing praise from landscapers.
Known as Nea's Organic Compost or Nea's Posy Power (depending on the packaging), the manure first decomposes outdoors for 30 days. Weed seeds are then eliminated by steam sterilization. Additives include brewer's grain, gypsum, peat moss and lime.
The 80-day composting process is monitored by state-of-the-art computerized controls, according to Nea Henry, who is the president of the southeastern Ohio firm.
"We came up with our own entire process, and it worked," she recalls. "The procedures are very exact."
• It rebuilds worn out soil;
• acts as a fertilizer;
• holds moisture during drought conditions;
• adds micro-organisms;
• breaks down clay soil;
• adds organic humus and builds up sandy soil
At Ohio University in Athens, it was used to rebuild the athletic fields and golf greens. The product also was applied as a topdressing for new and established lawns and flower beds, plus it was used as a mulch around shrubs in the spring. "We would highly recommend Nea's Organic Compost to anyone in this field," says Daniel H. Stright, OU's director of grounds maintenance. Nea's "improves the structure of the soil remarkably and allows for better water-holding capacity and better air penetration in the clay soils we have in this area," he notes.
"This organic compost has the added value of being weed-free, and it is much cheaper than oak bark mulch," says Stright. He added that the product is neutral as opposed to the bark's acid qualities. "We have had many favorable comments on the fields, lawns, and flower beds where the material has been added," Stright notes.
"Another great feature is the moisture-holding capacity," says Dave Junka, curator of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Garden Center in Columbus. "The same plants in beds without the compost require much more frequent waterings," he reports.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources uses the mixture for its wildflower program and for reclaiming old strip mines. The AmeriFlora exhibit in Columbus added Nea's to its blended soils.