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Old 10-18-2007, 08:54 PM
Gerry Miller Gerry Miller is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Midlothian, IL zone 5
Posts: 504
On Carbon and Fungi

Some fine tuning here:

"There is very little evidence that plants get any carbon from uptake from the soil. Those who report that plants can take up protein or sugar have been pretty well shot-down, although..... well, it isn't fashionable to talk about plants taking up C from soil. Let's leave it at this, and say that the data showing uptake of carbon from the soil is sketchy at best.

Plants get their carbon from photosynthesis. It is cheap, easy and why go looking for other ways to get C when you can photosynthesize. Plants have excess fixed carbon, that is never the problem with plant growth.

Plants take up a whole bunch of nutrients from the soil, well, everything else, in fact, other than carbon. A lack of one of those other nutrients is always the problem. Even when your plant is diseased, it is probably a lack of the right balance of nutrients that allowed the disease organism to gain a foothold.

So why is carbon in the soil so important if plants don't take up soil organic matter?

Because it is FOOD. For all the organisms that make your soil healthy to grow your plants. FOOD for the organisms that build structure in your soil so the roots can grow down as deep as they should. FOOD to alter soil pH to what the plant needs. FOOD to grow the organisms that will release nutrients in a plant available form."

By Dr. Elaine Ingham

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.

This statement needs to be corrected:

Lawns actually need to be slightly bacterial in content, however most lawns don't have enough fungi.

"The reason we are working hard on getting fungal compost and fungal teas is because most people have destroyed the fungal component in their lawns, in their ag fields, in their potted plant soil, and in shrubbery and tree soil as well.

That's what too-much tillage, use of fungicide, use of herbicides, insecticides, inorganic fertilizers, salts etc., do to the good guy organisms in soil.

We have lost, almost completely, the beneficial fungi in your soils.

How do you fix that?

Yes, that's why we push fungi in everything. Because that's what we don't have in our human-influenced soils, in most instances. We didn't wipe out all the bacteria, although we have shifted bacterial species to the not so great ones, so that needs to be fixed too. After we get the fungi fixed, you have to make sure the protozoa are there in good numbers and the right ones. Then nematodes. Step-by-step building, or all at once, get them all back in and working.......

So, what is lacking in your soils are fungi, protozoa and nematodes, so that's why we work hard to get them increased in the compost and compost tea. so we put on that fungal tea or compost and improve things in the soil.

It is NOT because lawn grass needs to be fungal-dominated. The F:B ratio is on the more bacterial side, not fungal side.

But your shrubs, bushes, trees? They are fungal, very, very fungal. So they need even more fungal food than the lawn does."

by Dr. Elaine Ingham
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