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Old 10-17-2007, 05:47 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
Protein Meals

As I have posted here in various threads, I use protein meals in conjunction with applications of AACT to help maintain turf by organic means. Unless the soil have been damaged in some way, either through excessive use of synthetic chemicals or by nature causes like flooding and standing water for a period of time, the use of topdressing of compost is rarely needed.

Protein meals not only provide the food that soil organisms need to be healthy and happy, it also provides carbon to the soil as well. Much more so than organic matter that has been digested by another animal, most of the carbon is gone by then. Using the meals will give you much greater carbon content. So for those who say you need carbon for plants to survive, they are right, and you get all you need from the meals.

"If plant residues are introduced directly to the soil without prior consumption, more energy (i.e. carbon) will be available to soil microbes."

While leaves are a great source of carbon and free, it should be taken advantage of each fall. However, diversity is a key element in soil biology as well for it to be operating effectively. The more diverse the food addition, as in alfalfa meal or pellets, corn meal, corn gluten meal, feather meal, soybean meal, and fish hydrolysate, the more diverse the biology. So if you don't have enough leaves in the fall, the protein meals can be used.

Another item that should be looked at is the fungal dominance of your soil. Lawns need a fungal dominance to stay healthy. However, most soils seem to have a bacterial dominance. With the use of correctly made AACT that contains the fungal population you want to add to your soil, is by far the easiest means to reach this fungal dominance.

Of course, there are other ways to promote fungal population is by using fungal type foods. Fallen dried leaves is one of their favorites. So is soybean meal as is corn gluten meal and fish hydrolysate. Providing you have the correct fungal biology present in your soil, by feeding them you make their numbers grow. Bacterial dominance seems to happen without any action needed by us. Bacteria seems to grow everywhere without any help.

If I were to use a topdressing to correct a soil's imbalance, I would use Alaska Humus or Arctic Humus, depending on the brand name. I find this material contains items you won't find in compost. I happen to use KIS Pro Kits to make my tea. Their food is a combination of Alaska Humus, wormcastings and compost without any manure. They activate their humus to provide large amounts of fungal populations for you tea. They provide lab test to verify their content.

Take advantage of the free carbon falling from your trees!
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