How Long Does Blood Meal Last In Soil?

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Last Updated on March 18, 2022

One question people want to know is how long does blood meal last in soil. You’ve probably heard about blood meal is beneficial to plants. Perhaps, you’re interested in using it as fertilizer. But maybe, you’re a little bothered by how it’s going to bear positive results.

It’s one thing to have the nutrients available in the soil. It’s another thing how fast they get released for the plant’s consumption. Fertilizers vary in terms of how long they stay in the soil. Some are slow-released while others are readily available. If you’re interested in blood meal, consider these factors.

What is Blood Meal for Plants?

Blood meal is an organic fertilizer that’s made out of dried animal blood coming from slaughterhouses. It has an NPK ratio of 12.5-1.5-0.6. It’s all-natural, a safe choice for sustainable gardeners.

What is Blood Meal for Plants

How Long Does Blood Meal Last In Soil?- Factors to Consider

Blood Meal is a slow-release fertilizer that can last around 2 to 6 weeks in soil. In powder or granular form and in varying sizes, Amazon has a wide variety of options for blood meal products like Jobe’s Organic Blood Meal Soil Amendment. To know how long does blood meal last in soil, we have to consider many factors:

Decomposition Process

  • Type of Organic Material

Depending on the materials used, natural fertilizers take time to decompose. Blood meal has a different decomposition length compared to compost, manure, bone meal, or vegetable scraps. They vary in their composition and complexities. 

  • Type of Microbes

Once applied to the soil, the microbes present will have to feed on blood meal first. They break down complex compounds into consumable forms. This process helps the nutrients become available to the plants. 

The release of nutrients is dependent on the efficiency of the decomposers. The amount and nature of microbes present is a factor. Fungi, bacteria, earthworms, and other feeding organisms work together to make this happen. 

Blood Meal for Plants - Type of Microbes

  • Type of Environment

The efficacy of decomposers is also affected by its environment including temperature, moisture level, soil pH, aeration, and carbon to nitrogen ratio. Providing these ideal conditions will hasten the breaking down process. You may need to do some adjustments before applying the blood meal.

Application Process

  • Timing

Apply blood meal 2 weeks before planting. This technique gives enough time for the microbes to make nutrients available in time for planting.  Also, blood meal has a very high nitrogen content that it can burn the plants when mismanaged. The advanced application makes the concentration tolerable.

Reapply every 2 months to ensure a continuous supply of nutrients especially on the vegetative stage of plants. 

  • Blood Meal Application Rate

Apply 1 cup per 20 square feet of soil. Excessive application is detrimental. Too much nitrogen causes dehydration because of the salts it leaves behind in the plant, burning it. Other effects include susceptibility to diseases and insects. Flowering and fruit set are also compromised. 

Final Words

As a slow-release organic fertilizer, blood meal lasts in the soil approximately from 2 to 6 weeks. Results may take a while to show but it surely does its job. Proper use and management lead to healthier and productive plants.


What Plants Benefit From Blood Meal?

The plants that benefit from blood meal are plants that are heavy nitrogen feeders. They include cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, lettuce, corn, and squash. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are also included. 

Basically, nitrogen is one of the most unstable nutrients in the soil; therefore, if your plants are deficient in nitrogen, blood meal application will be a good solution.

However, some plants should avoid blood meal application. Plants such as legumes already have roots nodules with bacteria that can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. 

How Long Does It Take For Blood Meal To Work?

Blood meal is a quick organic remedy to nitrogen deficiencies in plants. It is always readily available to plants and highly soluble. However, if used inappropriately, especially to young plants, it can burn and injure your plant roots and plant tissues. This is because of the decomposition that takes place in the soil on the addition of blood meal.

Decomposition will determine how fast blood meal works. The soil bacteria which are responsible for the decomposition and making blood meal available will act by breaking down ammonia. These soil bacteria in addition to warm and damp conditions encourage this fast action. And this fast action may be pretty harmful. 

Also, doing a soil test to know the amount of nitrogen needed in your soil will be of help. Even better, soil testing can be done with home test kits

Therefore, ensure you follow instructions and do not exceed the recommended quantity given on blood meal labels. 

Can I Mix Blood Meal With Water?

If you are wondering if you can mix blood meal with water, then you should know that most blood meals are highly soluble. Therefore you can mix blood meal with water. However, read the instructions on the label to know if should mix blood meal with water. 

Can You Sprinkle Bone Meal On Top Of Soil?

You can sprinkle bone meal evenly on top of the soil. Ensure you also mix to incorporate it well into the soil after sprinkling bone meal on top of your soil. When there is dry weather when sprinkling bone meal, water in thoroughly so it can work into the soil. 

Again, if you wish to apply bone meal fertilizer all through its growing season, make sure you sprinkle uniformly on top of the established areas of the soil. You should as well tenderly work it into the soil and minding the root of the plants as you do this. 

For applying bone meals on top of established plant soils with containers, sprinkle some bone meal at the beginning of the season. You can then sprinkle again once or twice all through the growing season. This will enhance flowering or encourage fruit ripening as your plants develop. 

Does blood meal get old?

There are no studies showing that the blood meal gets old, and there have been no reports of anyone saying so. However, I have seen some of the older brands (e.g., Nutrafin) of blood meal that have been stored for long periods of time.

It's very difficult to quantify the amount of "sour" smell in blood meal. However, I have had many customers who have noticed that blood meal has a "sour" smell. The blood meal that I use for my mixtures does not have a strong "sour" smell, but it is not neutral smelling either. Blood meal should not be used for a product where the scent of the food is important (e.g., bread or cake mixes).

How long will blood meal feed the soil?

Blood meal contains nutrients that are good for plants. This includes nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, boron, molybdenum and vitamin B. It also contains essential fatty acids like linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid.

It has a fairly short feeding span in soil that's somewhere around 7 weeks and it will not break down in water.

How long will blood meal last in soil?

According to the University of California-Davis, blood meal lasts for about a year in soil and for three years in water. It can last for up to five years in wood mulch and wood chips. Keep Learning The amount of time that blood meal lasts depends on the type of material it is in.

Wood mulch or wood chips are more likely to have a long life span than soil. Blood meal lasts for up to 5 years in wood chips and mulch.

How often should you use blood meal to feed soil?

It depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to improve the soil and it's microbial life, then you'll want to feed it every other week or so (or as often as your local soil biology will allow).

If your goal is to make a high-quality potting soil for your plants, then you'll want to feed it once a month or so.

One time a week is about right for most crops. I don't think there is any harm in using blood meal more often, but don't let it get too old or the insects will die off. If you have an extremely dry season, or your garden is being overworked, you may want to add another feeding.

I would say that it is best to use blood meal at least once a year, and preferably twice. The reason for this is that blood meal will break down over time, becoming less available to the worms. I think it is best to add the blood meal to the top of the soil, because if you add it to the bottom, you are not going to get any of the benefits.

Is Blood Meal Slow Release?

Slow release or fast release of blood meal fertilizer actually depends on soil temperatures. It is a slow-release when the soil temperatures are moderate or low. However, it is fast releasing in warm temperature. Also, the blood meal will be fast-acting in soggy or damp soil. 

Always have in mind that fast action of blood meal which results in the release of more nitrogen can be harmful to your plants.

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