Bonemeal is used a fertilizer to help plants to grow. It provides phosphorus to the soil, for the development of the plants roots. It is made from crushed and coarsely ground bones. It contains 48 to 52 % protein, 33 to 35% ash, 8 to 12% fat, and 4 to 7% moisture. When it rains, or when moisture is added in the soil, it slowly dissolves the bonemeal in the soil.
Gardeners add bonemeal when planting bulb beds. They also add bonemeal to the bottom of the planting holes of trees, shrubs, rose bushes, and perennials.
No matter what you are planting, you need to find the right location with the correct amount of sun exposure. Most shrubs, bushes, and trees prefer to grow in a sunny location. Read the planting label for this information.
Prepare the Site
Prepare the planting hole. Remove the vegetation in a 3 to 5 foot diameter circle. Your shrub or tree will grow better without competition for nutrients or water. With a spade, dig a hole. When you are finished, the hole should be twice as wide and twice as deep as the rootball of the shrub you want to plant. Scuff the sides and bottom of the hole with the edge of your spade. This allows the roots to penetrate beyond the walls of the hole.
At the bottom of the planting hole, in the center, dig out a small bowl-like indention. Place a scoop of bonemeal in the center.
Amend the soil you removed from the hole with equal amounts of well-rotted compost, peat moss, and perlite.
Fill the hole a little over half way full with amended soil.
Remove the rootball from the pot or container. Place the rootball in the hole to check for height. The top of the rootball should be a ¼ to a ½ inch above the soil level. The soil underneath will settle beneath the rootball when you water.
Check the rootball over for visible roots. Tease away the roots from the side and bottom with your fingers. If you leave the roots growing in the way, they will slowly choke the shrub, bush, or tree you are planting.
Make sure the plant is in the center of the hole. Once you are satisfied, begin filling in the hole with amended soil. Gently tamp the soil with your hands as you add the soil to the hole. You need to eliminate air pockets or the plant will die.
Water the plant thoroughly. To help the soil retain moisture and to control weeds, place a layer of mulch over the top of the soil.
Established Beds or Plants
If your garden is established, apply bonemeal in the fall after the first frost. Remove mulch is applicable until you reach the soil beneath. Scatter the bonemeal over the soil, keeping it 3 inches away from the base of the plant. With a garden rake or small hand-held rake, scratch the granules in the soil to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.
Water the area thoroughly. Re-apply the mulch.
You can apply a second feeding in the early spring.