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View Full Version : Do salts from syntheic fertilizers really harm the soil food web?


replenish&subdue
02-18-2009, 01:41 PM
Do salts from syntheic fertilizers really harm the soil food web? I hear it from both sides. Any authority out there? Perhaps someone knows an university study.
It is not easy finding the truth of the matter often times. Here is another one I am looking into, Neem oil does it build up a resistance to insects? I heard from someone I respect that the Dept. of Agriculture was excited about this product until it was discovered it does build up a resistance to insects. I guess I could try to find how to get through to that monster of an organization to know who is saying what. And I will but since I'm new at this and I am among the tried and proven I wanted to ask you out there first.

Smallaxe
02-18-2009, 01:49 PM
A simple test will prove it to yourself - one way or another.

I prefer to believe my eyes rather than so-called experts and authorities. Find a piece of ground equal in every way and make 2 sections. small or large. Max one on synferts and the other on compost or whatever you consider organic.

A bio-assay or microscope will let you know by the end of the season. :)

Neem affects some insect more than others. The survivers pass on the genetic code for resistance.

replenish&subdue
02-18-2009, 02:53 PM
I sell a product that injects cedar oil into one's irrigation system. Insects are not supposed to build up a resistance to cedar oil because cedar oil works only on insects that are pheromone driven ( or breath through their bodies).It does not work through the nervous system. It is real good with mosquitoes and works on a whole array of insects and especially good at dissolving eggs. Our fly population was cut down dramatically to where it was no longer a problem (we have chickens). Mosquito control was the difference between night and day to where it was no longer an issue to my children playing in the backyard.When I questioned the product due to some mosquitoes (I tested it all last year) then I went across the street to my neighbor who lived on the hill and his mosquitoes were terrible.I live in a challenging area of low wet areas where water sits around two sides of my property.
I got into preaching. Really not trying to sell you on anything but getting back to neem. I have not learned enough about neem yet.I am reading a book currently that says it will not build up a resistance but that was challenged and here I am trying to discover the truth. I do know dormant oil will not build up a resistance,works best in winter but can be used year round at reduced rates (if temps. below 90). And I know castor oil works to send moles to your neighbors yard and won't build up a resistance. Castor and cedar the non-beneficial insects and moles gotta go for the odor either suffocates them or in moles drives them away.I was hoping neem proves good,then I can push cedar,neem, castor and dormant oils.
Iron sharpens iron. I don't mind being proven wrong only want to know what is real and really works.

Mr. Nice
02-18-2009, 03:19 PM
i personally see it like this, using soluble syn's exclusively, only feed certain organisms and or by pass some natural nutrient cycling processes??, possible high salts concentration/accumulation could cause issues depending??

JDUtah
02-18-2009, 03:21 PM
I thought Cedar Oil worked as a deterrent? The mosquitoes at you neighbor's is kind of evidence of that? From what I remember misquotes can fly 1-5 miles looking for 'blood'. So if they are at your neighbors but not your place is it because they die as they fly through or because they don't wanna be over there?

Anyways back on topic... My personal opinion? No, salts (mineral nutrients) do not kill soil life when kept within bounds (plant suitable Soil Salinity). In fact I have read studies that show synthetic fertilizers increase microbe populations in compost piles.

It all comes down to balance and concentration. Does the typical use of fertilizers build up a mineral salt (nutrient) concentration too high to sustain microbial life? I doubt it when you consider absorption, leaching, and volatization...

I have yet to test it, but there is a SFI test on this forum for a lawn that had chemical ferts for a long time. What did the test say? Microbe levels were normal to high. You decide.

I do believe a fert vs compost comparison will show more life in the compost treated soil, but IMO mainly because the compost provides 'housing' in addition to 'nutrition'.

There is a 5 year old thread on this forum asking the same exact thing... and to this date no one has been able to provide any data to support the claim that fert salts kill soil microbes when used at appropriate levels... Take it for what it's worth.

I will be in a professional position to test this one day.

Hope you have a good day.

Prolawnservice
02-18-2009, 03:49 PM
Water is the key, a salt will desiccate soil life or even plant life if water is deficient.

replenish&subdue
02-18-2009, 07:14 PM
Thanks JD Utah,
So it is alot of talk. I guess I'll do my own tests this year.Excuse my ignorance but what is a SFI test. Don't know where you heard those studies from ?

mrkosar
02-18-2009, 07:42 PM
not trying to move this discussion in a different direction, but does anyone have evidence, studies, etc. that herbicides deplete soil life?

what is the lowest toxicity insecticide for grubs?

treegal1
02-18-2009, 08:14 PM
ionic requirements for life at high salt concentrations??????


some cut and paste for those that love it

Another problem compounds nature’s dilemma. Soil microbes are vital to soil health functioning to convert organic matter and soil materials into plant nutrient.
Compounds such as NaCl, CaCl, MgCl, etc., typical to salt waters are toxic to the microbes. The chief toxic agent is sodium (Na). Microbes can live, though not healthy,
in many salts, but NaCl is lethal. At this point, nature has no way to remove the contaminant, nor does it have the ability to provide nutrient to any plant that can tolerate
the salts present. This constitutes a double deathblow to nature....................

replenish&subdue
02-18-2009, 08:14 PM
Good question mrkosar.I don't know.When I ask about if pre-emergents hurt the soil life I do not get solid answers. Hope someone knows.

replenish&subdue
02-18-2009, 08:17 PM
What is NaCl in english? Is it found in Pre-emerges or fertilizers?

Mr. Nice
02-18-2009, 08:31 PM
What is NaCl in english? Is it found in Pre-emerges or fertilizers?

check your dinner table or cabinets?.....table salt sodium-chloride

treegal1
02-18-2009, 08:32 PM
not trying to move this discussion in a different direction, but does anyone have evidence, studies, etc. that herbicides deplete soil life?

what is the lowest toxicity insecticide for grubs?

ok so I am on the fence on this one as well, but just to be safe i try and forego any use.........

hope this is the reading you all want, also the degraded amines are from what i know the ones that hurt soil life.........

http://www.wormdigest.org/content/view/447/2/

Prolawnservice
02-19-2009, 08:11 AM
It would be nice if they had links to the studies

Kiril
02-19-2009, 11:04 AM
As is all too often the case in these forums, people look for all inclusive answers to questions that do not have an all inclusive answer. This is far too complex an issue to simply state yes they do, or no they don't. Also consider our understanding of these complex soil communities is incomplete at best.

Can synthetics (ferts & pesticides) cause damage to microbes/microbial community .... absolutely. Will synthetics (ferts & pesticides) cause damage to the microbes/microbial community in your soils and climate ... maybe or maybe not. Assess your site and soils to determine if use of synthetics will negatively impact the soil microbial community and your system as a whole.

I will say this however ... anyone sitting on top of an aridosol should approach any type of salt additions to your soil (synthetic or organic) with extreme caution.

Some resources that demonstrate the complexity of the issues (some pdfs, some abstract only)


Pesticide Impacts:


http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/65/3/982.pdf
http://www.pjoes.com/pdf/7.5/317-320.pdf
http://www.scialert.net/qredirect.php?doi=pjbs.2000.868.871&linkid=pdf
http://www.znaturforsch.com/ac/v58c/s58c0855.pdf
http://www.springerlink.com/content/mk7p10r12776u172/



Fertilizer Impacts (organic & synthetic):



http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0038-0717(01)00004-9
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2005.08.029
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2008.05.007 (Bic take notice)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0038-0717(02)00297-3
http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/70/5/2692.pdf
http://www.springerlink.com/content/7qbmkhhgrbu4ubw9/
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0038-0717(95)00154-9

NattyLawn
02-19-2009, 11:08 AM
As is all too often the case in these forums, people look for all inclusive answers to questions that do not have an all inclusive answer. This is far too complex an issue to simply state yes they do, or no they don't. Also consider our understanding of these complex soil communities is incomplete at best.

Can synthetics (ferts & pesticides) cause damage to microbes/microbial community .... absolutely. Will synthetics (ferts & pesticides) cause damage to the microbes/microbial community in your soils and climate ... maybe or maybe not. Assess your site and soils to determine if use of synthetics will negatively impact the soil microbial community and your system as a whole.


Great answer Kiril. Too many guys searching for the holy grail on here....

JDUtah
02-19-2009, 12:11 PM
I think the reason people search for the 'holy grail' on this one is because some big names in organics claim organics is the holy grail and synthetics are the 'deadly cup'...

People go looking to check the claims made by the big name organic folks...

Just my .02

Mr. Nice
02-19-2009, 01:04 PM
jd,
who are the big names saying it? are you "really understanding what they are suggesting"?

when it comes to growing any plant, especially food crops, a true organic grow well executed will always grow better plants. in every way. if managed correctly? holy g..? to some of us?

now if we only feed syn's and chem pest controls will that grow just as healthy of a crop? especially if eating it? maybe could be considered a deadly cup?

so when people say syn only approach harms the soil is that without merit?

with out a doubt syn's like N allow us to grow good growing plants cheaper
then implementing a complete organic grow. they even allow us to cut corners
when we are growing lawns for costumers, go figure...

jd, if you will please can you show me where a big name says using syn will KILL ALL SOIL LIFE?

Smallaxe
02-19-2009, 02:09 PM
I sell a product that injects cedar oil into one's irrigation system. Insects are not supposed to build up a resistance to cedar oil because cedar oil works only on insects that are pheromone driven ( or breath through their bodies).It does not work through the nervous system. It is real good with mosquitoes and works on a whole array of insects and especially good at dissolving eggs. Our fly population was cut down dramatically to where it was no longer a problem (we have chickens). Mosquito control was the difference between night and day to where it was no longer an issue to my children playing in the backyard.When I questioned the product due to some mosquitoes (I tested it all last year) then I went across the street to my neighbor who lived on the hill and his mosquitoes were terrible.I live in a challenging area of low wet areas where water sits around two sides of my property.
I got into preaching. Really not trying to sell you on anything but getting back to neem. I have not learned enough about neem yet.I am reading a book currently that says it will not build up a resistance but that was challenged and here I am trying to discover the truth. I do know dormant oil will not build up a resistance,works best in winter but can be used year round at reduced rates (if temps. below 90). And I know castor oil works to send moles to your neighbors yard and won't build up a resistance. Castor and cedar the non-beneficial insects and moles gotta go for the odor either suffocates them or in moles drives them away.I was hoping neem proves good,then I can push cedar,neem, castor and dormant oils.
Iron sharpens iron. I don't mind being proven wrong only want to know what is real and really works.

No I have not been exposed to Cedar Oil, but you may have just saved me from dropping a good client!

There is a fellow in the neighborhood that is going to start pushing a spray attached to trees that sprays every so often , several times every day, automatically. To rid the lawn of misquitos. If that happens I will likely stop mowing, or rather have my wife stop mowing. Of course the EPA says its safe. But the EPA isn't exposed to this new chemical every week for the next 20 years.

If you would - Please post the best information sources in the thread. This should be helpful to everyone who is thinking about it, and willing to discuss it. Iron sharpens iron.

JDUtah
02-19-2009, 02:58 PM
Mr Nice,

When posting like that you should use your screen name GrowingDeepRootsOrganically.

Dr. I makes some big claims in her book. Also, the 'trusted' book "Teaming with microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis makes some extreme blanket claims as well...

"Chemical fertilizers negatively impact the soil food web by killing off entire portions of it. What gardener hasn't seen what table salt does to a slug? Fertilizers are salts; they suck the water out of the bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes in the soil."

I will not argue with you.

Will an organic program build soil faster/better than a purely synthetic program? Usually.

Will a synthetic only program harm soil? it could, BUT it also could not.

Blanket statements by big names rightfully cause suspicion and hence people go looking. I was simply stating that it isn't the inquisitor's fault that they are asking. It is the fault of big named people who make blanket statements and holy grail claims that cause people to come here asking questions.

Anyways I am done arguing with you. You come in to 'defend' these big names who you respect and admire. Do you think they got to be big names by being little people? No. They can handle themselves. They do not need "Mr. Nice" to defend them when their theory and public claims are questioned.

In other words... when it comes to me and them, it isn't your fight, so stay out. Thanks.

Mr. Nice
02-19-2009, 03:55 PM
the only person making blanket statements is you,

when you are done fighting with your self....please let us know who wins??

DUSTYCEDAR
02-19-2009, 04:14 PM
I TRY TO LIMIT THE SALT I USE
but it is hard to tell if its makeing things better or not?
i am still learning

JDUtah
02-19-2009, 04:25 PM
the only person making blanket statements is you,

when you are done fighting with your self....please let us know who wins??

ummmm.... can't see the Forrest for the trees? :dizzy: :hammerhead:

"Chemical fertilizers negatively impact the soil food web by killing off entire portions of it. What gardener hasn't seen what table salt does to a slug? Fertilizers are salts; they suck the water out of the bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes in the soil." Teaming with microbes, By Jeff Lowenfels, Wayne Lewis, Elaine Ingham

anyways... *trucewhiteflag*

NattyLawn
02-19-2009, 05:03 PM
I love the JD arguments....Make a cut, then wave the white flag....

Mr.Nice...Please change from "Grismen" to Grisman. If you're going to quote someone, please spell their name right...

Mr. Nice
02-19-2009, 06:17 PM
Natty,

off the top of my head, yes sir you are right...

JDUtah
02-19-2009, 06:22 PM
I know, I wish I wasn't so childish sometimes. Arguing usually gets nowhere.

Mr. Nice
02-19-2009, 07:18 PM
i was only asking you a question anyway...you know discussion

JDUtah
02-19-2009, 07:19 PM
In that case I was only answering it

treegal1
02-19-2009, 07:24 PM
oh jah, what happened here.............