Soil Health

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by phasthound, May 27, 2012.

  1. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,575

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    This is an Ag related article, but it the context of lawn soils the following idea(from article) would also apply:

    **"If crop nutrients are applied to the soil in excess, plants will not develop associations with soil organisms that help them acquire water and nutrients. After the “party is over” and the synthetic fertilizer is gone, the plants are left “high and dry” with few to no soil factory workers to help them access water and nutrients for the remainder of the growing season. The plants then give up valuable energy (sugars) in an attempt to make connections with microbes mid-way through the growing season when the plant should be putting that energy into flowering and seed development to produce a harvestable yield. By applying excess fertilizer, particularly nitrogen or phosphorus, we create plants that are very inefficient as they try to function without the support system of the soil with which they evolved."**

    My concern would be, that if there was not enough SOM for the bacteria to work with, where would the 'nutrients cycle from'???
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Another portion from the article:

    * "Farms and ranches are provided with soil, water, and sunlight. The
    challenge is to feed the soil, harvest sunlight and farm sustainably to make
    a living now and in the future." *


    This article seemed to forget about "AIR" being in the soil as a necessary component for the soil food web... do Ag crops not need air for the roots or the microbes?
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    How deep are the fungi able to generate nutrients through decay? and What happens after the OM in the depths of the soil is decayed and gone?
     
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Stable soil aggregates are critical for water infiltration and gas
    exchange, both of which are essential to crop production.


    Last time I checked Air was a Gas.
     
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961


    When I inject mycorrhizae , I do so about 12" deep and the mix comes up.

    When I am planting, I add a dry mix to the top 8 to 12" of the backfill. More and more reputable growers are now inoculating as well.

    I mostly apply rhizobia in a nice mix of macro, micro nutrients, seaweed humate, yucca extracts and sugars to the lawn but the trees will respond too if you inject it in the top few inches.

    It takes time for sure since most track homes have all the top soil stripped away, and compacted by construction. Aeration and top dressing helps speed it a long.
     
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    On a lawn we mulch the grass and feed it with a mix on a regular basis as described above.
     
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

  9. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,575

  10. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,575

    Well, to keep the party going, add more organic matter. In addition, much of the food for microbes is exuded by plant roots. In fact, the exudate will favor the microbes that are beneficial to the plant. Roots constantly slough of dead cells which add to SOM.

    Microbes also are responsible for mining nutrients from the inorganic parent material of the soil. Mycorrhizea are critical for unlocking P and transporting it to plant roots. Certain nitrifying bacteria extract N from the air in soil pores and make it plant available.

    The human part of the puzzle is to use practices which enhance rather than harm the process that builds soil health.
     

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