Ingredients In-Depth: Bat Guano
We’re batty for the benefits of bats in the garden. For starters, they voraciously feed on the insects that annoy us – especially mosquitoes. Some bat species are fruit-eaters that help disperse seeds, while others act as pollinators. Many gardeners provide wooden bat houses or plant moonflowers, honeysuckle, evening primrose or other late-day and night-blooming plants to attract bats to their gardens.
But the biggest benefit of bats is in their, ahem, “byproducts” – bat guano. Good for plants, great for soil, guano has been used for centuries to nourish plants and gardens. But don’t worry if the bats aren’t taking your bait – bat guano is also available in bagged form. Bat guano fertilizer adds rich organic matter to your soil, helping to improve the soil structure and feed essential soil microbes. The improved soil structure helps retain more moisture and nutrients and resist compaction.
In terms of nutrients, bat guano provides a fast-release nitrogen source to help quickly green up lawns and leafy plants. However, that quick release comes with a warning – too much bat guano has the potential to “burn” plants by pulling water from plant cells. Guano also contains phosphorus, which helps plant reproduction, and a bit of potassium for overall plant strength and hardiness.
For soil that is deficient in phosphorus, a compost tea made of bat guano can be particularly beneficial. Since mycorrhizal fungi are key in making phosphorus available to plants, compost tea helps deliver the phosphorus directly to the plant roots they call home. One cup of bat guano to one gallon of water is a standard concentration for most garden applications.
Garden Maker™ Naturals bat guano fertilizer is OMRI-approved for use in organic farming. Although it’s a little more expensive than other nitrogen sources, the nutrients in bat guano don’t leach out of the soil, so you can be sure your garden is truly getting what you’re paying for.