Pee for peonies: university researches urine-based fertilizers

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure, but in the case of two University of Michigan researchers, they're using what others would consider waste to help grow something beautiful.

Environmental engineering professors Nancy Love and Krista Wigginton are on a mission to spread the golden shower of knowledge that urine-based soil can be used as a fertilizer and that it's not all waste.

If you find yourself at the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum, you may find Nancy and Krista applying urine-based fertilizer to the heirloom peony beds ahead of the flowers' annual spring bloom. And while they know people may think it's crazy or funny, they hope that others will soon understand how helpful it can be for the environment and water management.

You can't just go outside and dump pure urine on your plants and think you're doing the job. However, if you age or dilute the urine, it can be used along with regular watering and healthy soil. The best part of this exercise is "pee-cycling," as they call it. It's all based on science discovered at the University of Michigan itself.

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