Although the ancient Romans promoted the use of manure as fertilizer, they used a potent blend of dung from sheep, goat, cattle, pigs and other animals. Today's fertilizer of steer manure may not provide much other than the smell. "The only thing retained are the uric acids and the salts, and it's going to salinate your soil to the point where it can inhibit plant growth," said Alan Gill from Sunset Nursery in Southern California.

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