Throughout this website we have been introducing the critical importance of paying attention, probably for the first time, to the condition of the soil food web, a network of all the critters found in a healthy lawn from earthworms to microbes. In section...... we describe how to feed the soil food web. In this section we describe how to increaste the microbial population of the web. There are two groups of microbes you can add to a soil. You can add beneficial soil bacteria and beneficial root fungi call mychorrizae.
Beneficial Soil Bacteria will boost lawn growth
Soil bacteria can now be grown and stored in a powder form for introduction into the soil. One tablespoon of these products will contain over 1 billion beneficial bacteria.
Our favorite microbial product, Plant Growth Activator, in a powder form, contains beneficial soil bacteria and some other microbes (total of 47 strains). One tablespoon offers more than a billion micro pals. No other consumer product offers this collection of powerful soil managers.
It creates a bacterial dominant soil, which allows plants such as annuals, perennials, vegetables and turf to grow to their full genetic potential -- that means no stress. No stress means fewer plant problems.
<b>What do these beneficial microbes rooting around in your soil do?</b>
1. Provide lawns with increased resistance to environmental extremes (drought, heat, cold). What other product do you have on your shelf that does all that?
2. Stimulate grass root growth and root formation.
3. Increase nutrient levels in the soil by converting insoluble nutrients into forms available to grass plants.
4. Improve nutrient absorption by increasing cell membrane permeability of root hairs of turf.
5. Promote nitrogen fixation in the soil (converts atmospheric nitrogen into plant available form); they create food for grass.
6. Naturally accelerate cell division (promotes healthy controlled growth of the turf).
7. Increase humus levels in soil (buffers soil so it tends toward a pH preferred by turf).
<b>It makes no sense to use this valuable product if you are not also adding organic material to your soil each season. You can go ahead and add the bacteria, but if you don't give them food, what's the point?</b>
<b>What results can you expect from using PGA for three to five seasons?</b>
1. Reduce fertilization by at least half
2. Reduce water needs by half
3. Reduce need for insecticides and herbicides to almost zero
4. Have the most beautiful lawn or garden in the neighborhood.
<b>Using plant growth activator</b>
Applying plant growth activator to your lawn could not be easier. It works best if applied once a month throughout the season, maybe six or seven times a year. You thoroughly dissolve 3 table- spoons the powdered material in 12 ounces of warm water. Place the water in a hose-end sprayer. Use a dial setting of 8 ounces and apply to 1,000 square feet. If it has been dry lately, it helps to water the lawn after you apply the PGA to get those little critters down in the soil where they can do their thing.
In the first month, you should see a lawn that is greener. It won't grow any faster, but it will seem to look neater after mowing. Keep up your watering and fertilizing program for the first year, but next year you can start to cut back. One jar at $19 should cover 6,000 square feet for the season. Find it on the Internet at <b><a href="http://www. organica.net">www. organica.net</a></b>.
Beneficial Root Fungi Work Hard To Help Plants Stay Healthy
What Are Mycorrhizae?
Certain kinds of fungi associated with the roots of plants have occurred naturally in the soil for 400 million years. Under the right conditions, they form a close symbiotic relationship with plant roots. They are called mycorrhizae (from the Greek "mukés", meaning fungus, and "rhiza," meaning roots).
This little known family of beneficial fungi live in and around the roots of 95% of the earth's plant species that have not been disturbed by humans, serving as a secondary root system by extending themselves far out into the soil. Mycorrhizae extract mineral elements and water from soil for their host plant, and live off the plant's sugars.
Trees, shrubs, flowers, and other landscape plants with a good population of "mycorrhizal roots" systems are better able to survive and thrive in stressful man made environments.
When mycorrhizal fungi colonize the plant's root system, they create a network that increases the plant's capacity to absorb more water and nutrients such as phosphorus, copper and zinc. This process in turn enhances growth and favors rapid development of roots and plants.
Most Soils Bereft of Mycorrhizae
However, in most soils that have been disturbed by residential construction, or intensive cropping practices with applications of fertilizers containing pesticides and other chemical products, the mycorrhizae content has considerably diminished, and has become insufficient to significantly enhance plant growth.
Mycorrhizae Now Available For The Plants of Yardeners
In the past decade, companies have developed the technology needed to reproduce natural mycorrhizae and package them in a medium that keeps them viable for several years. These new mycorrhizal products are used when planting new plants, transplanting plants to a new place, or on plants already in place. The idea is to get the mycorrhizae down into the root zone of a plant so they can attach themselves to the root system and start doing their good works.
Different groups of plants use different kinds of mycorrhizae, sort of keeping things in each family. Therefore you want to be sure to read the label on any of these products to be sure the material contains mycorrhizae appropriate for the plants you want to improve.
How Do I Use Mycorrhizae??
In the past, the products containing Mycorrhizae were most often applied as part of the planting process. The Mycorrhizae are sprinkled into the hole before the plant is placed in the hole. Some products can be applied around existing plants. Now there are products that can be sprayed with a hose end sprayer which is very easy to use. For details see the instruction with the product descriptions in Tool Shed linked below.
For information about mycorrhizal products and a retail source go to Mycorrhizae For Landscape Plants