Habitats for soil microbiology

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by phasthound, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Absolutely... Everyone seems to be looking for a magic bullet, that will do amazing things... My belief is that we need to learn how life in the soil actually functions...

    Once we understand which cultural practices benefit the habitat for what we are trying to grow, then we can take steps to make those practices a reality, in as much as we control it...

    So if we were to get your product, containing Trichoderma and applied it to our turf, then ran the irrigation every other day @ 1/2 inch each time, rain or shine, on heavy soil... Would your Trichoderma be of any value???
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Is that BMP for irrigation in those circumstances? I would think that would keep heavy soil moist without drying out. I believe that might promote better habitat for disease causing fungi.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I'm sorry, don't know what BMP is...

    I was actually giving an example of overwatering to an extreme, and whether Trichoderma would survive long in a soil that would be anaerobic at least some of the time or even all of the time in places...
  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    Keep it simple.
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    BMP....Best Management Practice.

    Why would you ask such a question?
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    OK, thanks...

    The reason I ask the question is because people do not implement BMP, so my consideration is :

    Will the adding of particular microbes, to accomplish a desired result, have any chance of living/surviving in a lawn, WHEN the irrigation is so loused up??

    There are other things, I would imagine, that could impede the survival of applied microbes... I'm just using Trichoderma/anaerobic as an example...
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Our job as professionals is to constantly tell our clients how important building a good foundation is to successful lawn care. That's why we are discussing microbial habitat improvement in this thread. But they are only a part of the puzzle. If over or under irrigation is not corrected, beneficial microbes are not going to have as much effect as we would like.

    Now, I know that the average homeowner may not understand microbial activity in regards to plant health care, but we all can do a better job in relating the rewards of doing things correctly. People understand that a house built on rotten wood will not stand long and will cost more to repair than to build it properly in the first place.

    I like to use fact sheets from State Universities to back up what I'm saying. Generally people will accept the source as reputable. If a client still wants a perfect lawn for a low price using methods that cause more problems than cures them, well there are other people who will appreciate your services.

    Set your self apart from the competition.
  8. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    I spoke with Allison Jack of Cornell University a few years ago. She's been working on understanding how certain soil microbes prevent diseases in plants.
    Here's a pretty good visualization of what they learned from early studies.

  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    That is a good chart, but it is still overshooting my primary question... in this exa. we like vermipost microbes,,, so let's find out if the vermipost microbes will survive in the field... we put then in with the seed, but they could be killed off by a hostile environment...

    With any living creature, we should be instructed as to:
    "How to care for it in the field..."
    If I sell a bunny to a city slicker, I'll instruct him as to what constitutes a favorable environment vs. a hostile one...
  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    I don't know how many ways to say the same thing.

    Good cultural methods such as the right plant in the right place, aerating compacted soils, adding organic matter, proper nutrient supplementation, irrigation and mowing all are part of a successful lawn care management program and will help build healthy habitat for beneficial microbes.

    Applications of beneficial microbes to harsh environments will at best be a short term solution for a specific problem. But they can begin to modify the soil habitat to favor them.

    The best way to succeed with this method is to look at the entire system and make adjustments accordingly. One single action will usually not make much of a difference.

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