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Hi, this is my first posting so be kind...  

I want to kill two birds with one stone with regards to trying for the first time to NOT lift but overwinter 100 dahlias I have in my garden using FRESH horse manure to keep them cosy on top.  I know well rotted is always advised in general but Im wondering if it would do any harm to put them to bed this way and the manure rots down from October- May.  I know fresh can kill the plants when growing but would they suffer once cut to the ground?


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,740

    Aren't your dahlias still growing? 

    Fresh manure can often be full of weed seeds.

    What is the underlying soil  like? A mulch of manure might well make the soil a bit damp unless you have very free draining soil.

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,669

    I mulch with old compost, some isolated ones straw, and covered with a metal hanging basket to keep it in place, I dont believe (only having been gardening nearly 60 years) you should use "fresh" manure on anything.Yes, Hosta (hello, hope you are well) too early anyway, usually let frost blacken them first off before anything else.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353

    I don't think I'd be using fresh manure either - for the reasons Hosta's outlined, but there's no reason why you can't cut them back now.

    Some people don't get frosts till it's too late to do anything about protection NannyB - but I'd agree with you that a 'dry'  material going onto a dry(ish) soil is the way to go if you want to avoid lifting them. The important thing is to insulate before plants get cold and/or wet. Insulation keeps cold in just as much as warm  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,848

    Fresh manure is full of acids which will burn your plants.  You need to pile it up and let it ripen for a few months before t goes anywhere near your garden.  The only use for fresh manure is in the bottom of deep hot bed for growing melons and with a good layer of planting compost between it and them.

    You dahlia tops will be blackened or made very limp by the first decent air frost and that's the signal to cut them back and then apply a mulch of well rotted manure or garden compost and straw thick enough to insulate your tubers against deep frosts later on.   

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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