Learn How to Use Bone Meal on Plants as it’s a rich source of calcium and phosphorus to put a new lease of life to your plants.
What Is Bone Meal?
Bone meal is prepared from the bones of the animals, obtained from the slaughterhouses. They are steamed to remove fats and impurities and ground into a coarse form, used as a balanced organic fertilizer for plants. It is given as a supplement to certain plants, like flowering plants and root crops like Carrot and Onion.
Why Should You Use Bone Meal?
It has NPK 3-15-0, but depending on the source, it can be as high as 2-22-0. In this ‘N’ denotes Nitrogen, ‘P’-Phosphorous, and ‘K’-Potassium, respectively. The beneficial nutrients in a steamed bone meal like phosphorous (18-24%), nitrogen (0.7-7%), and calcium help plants to produce plenty of flowers and fruits. Also, it helps in balancing the amount of nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil.
Tips on How to Use Bonemeal on Plants
1. Check pH of the Soil Before Using Bone Meal
Bone meal is not a must for every soil type, but it is recommended for the plants that grow in acidic soils. Therefore, it’s important to check the pH and nutrient content of the soil before the application. If the pH of the soil is below seven, then you should use it in the soil.
2. Do Not Use Bone Meal for Alkaline Soil
For alkaline soil, use a compost or well-rotted manure instead of a bone meal. The phosphate in bone meal combines with the calcium present in the soil to form calcium phosphate, which is an insoluble source of the nutrient that is of no use to the plants.
3. Do Not Apply Excess of Bone Meal
If you apply too much bone meal, then its excess phosphorus will interfere with root growth, ruining the symbiotic relationship between plants and helpful mycorrhizal
fungi. Also, the gradual release of phosphorus into the soil will lead to the process of eutrophication in surrounding waterways.
Also Read: How to Make Bone Meal Fertilizer at Home
4. How Much Bone Meal to Apply
Apply 10-pounds of bone meal to the 100-square feet area of the soil, or add 1-2 tablespoon to the holes, where you will plant the bulbs of a flowering plant. For mature plants, you can apply 1/2-cup of bone meal around the roots during spring.
5. Make It Penetrate the Soil
Don’t just layer the bone meal at the top of the soil; instead, mix it in the soil with a spade and add some water to ensure complete penetration. Leaving it as it is, will attract raccoons, ants, and dogs in your garden. Also, rinse the leaves of that plant if any bone meal has dropped on leaves.
6. How Often You Should Apply Bone Meal
Bone meal is a slow-releasing fertilizer; it takes time to break down; hence, it keeps discharging the nutrients in the soil at a steady rate. So, you don’t need to apply it frequently. It will keep nourishing your plants for 2-4 months. Still, you can check if your soil needs it by conducting a soil test to identify the phosphorus deficiency symptoms.
7. Plants That Need the Nurturing of Bone Meal
All the plants that grow from bulb, root, and tubers, like onion, potato, carrot, turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, as well as other vegetables get benefit from the application of bone meal. Also, applying bone meal to roses will increase the number of flowers.
Some Myths and Precautions to Be Considered Regarding Bone Meal
- Many say that an excess amount of bone meal can burn the plant, but it is not completely true. Rawbone meal can burn, but steamed bone meal does not.
- Avoid over-application of bone meal, as it will affect the surrounding waterways and aquatic life present in them as well.
- If you have pets, then keep them away from the plants around which you have applied bone meal. It can lead to problems if they ingest the bone meal.