|How does poop help plants grow?|
|Question Date: 2017-03-27|
Great question. Here’s the scoop. When we poop,
we’re getting rid of a bunch of stuff that we
can’t digest or that our bodies can’t use.
But there are lots of useful nutrients still in
the poop. All living things are made of cells. And
those cells are made of molecules. And those
molecule are built out of nutrients. If you look
on a bag of fertilizer, you will see words like
“nitrogen” and “phosphorus.” Those are nutrients
that plants can use to build their molecules and
cells. And poop is full of those nutrients.
We don’t usually use human poop as fertilizer
because germs and parasites could get into our
food. But we do use poop from cows, chickens, and
bats. Often the poop is left to rot a bit so that
bacteria, fungi, insects, and other decomposers
get a chance to break things down. That makes it
easier for plants to get the nutrients.
Why do you think decomposers are so important
in ecosystems? Hint: recycling.
You may want to study ecology.
Thanks for asking,
There are useful things in poop for plants.
Our bodies don't use all the food that we eat,
and bacteria in our intestines make other useful
molecules out of the food and wastes in our
intestines. These make useful fertilizer for
My husband got a load of chicken poop put on
his new garden, but the plants died. The poop had
some strong chemicals in it that killed the
plants. One needs to let the chicken poop sit out
in the sun, or water it a lot, or do something to
it before one can use it as fertilizer.
I put guinea pig poop on the plants on my
balcony, and they seem to be doing fine. Guinea
pig poop comes out in dry little pellets, so I
think they're getting air and water and time to
make them safe before they soak into the soil
around my plants.
Some animals like to eat their poop. Wikipedia
says people think that bacteria in the animal's
intestine make vitamins that the animals get when
they eat their poop.
Poop, or manure, can help plants grow because it
enriches the soil that they grow in. Plants are
just like us; we need nutrients to help us grow.
Manure supplies nutrients like nitrogen,
phosphorus, potassium, which speeds up
decomposition and lowers the pH of the soil. This
helps the plants grow faster!
Poop contains phosphorous, which plants need
but which isn't in the air. Poop also contains
nitrogen, which is in the air, but the form of
nitrogen in the air is not in the form that plants
can use either, so again plants can get it out of
Thanks for the great question.
Animals eat food to grow bigger and for energy,
but they don’t use everything in the food. Animals
get rid of the food they don’t use by pooping.
This means that animal poop, or feces, contains
lots of nutrients, or things that all plants and
animals need to grow.
When animal feces are added to dirt, it is
called manure. Manure has all sorts of
things plants need to grow, like nitrogen. These
help to make the ground fertile, or a good place
for plants to grow. Manure also makes the ground
hold onto more water, which is also really good
for making plants grow.
Manure is so helpful to plants that we wouldn’t
have nearly as much food without it.
Thanks again for the question!
Poop, which I’ll call manure for the rest of
this explanation, does a lot to help plants
grow. Plants, like us need nutrients in order
to grow and sometimes the soil that plants
naturally grow in doesn’t have enough. Manure
actually has a lot of the nutrients that plants
need to grow. In addition to this, adding manure
as fertilizer also heats up the soil, which speeds
up the breakdown of dead plants and animals, which
plants can then feed off of. Thank you so much for
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