Using the science of CT to find its place in this world.

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by JDUtah, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Ok, so I find my mental resources stretching ever so thin, but wanted to start this thread to capture some recent thoughts I have concerning CT's. The first starts with my bias that CT's are over-marketed in the current organic world. I believe they have their place, but think that they are promoted for things that perhaps they are not best suited for.. IE, a replacement/application of nutrients/fertilizers.

    This thread is an attempt to consolidate the science behind CT's... and in so doing, find the most appropriate ways of utilizing them in an organic maintenance program. Correction or support of ideas and theories are very welcome! So it begins...
     
  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    The following few posts are pulled form another thread...

    I said...
    I personally believe Ct's do not have as big a place in maintenance as currently marketed in the organic movement.

    I understand using a Tea after tilling, or after the ground thaws from winter in extreme climates, or after a strong fungicide is used.. like the organic chitin... but other then that, IMO regular application of a CT is like washing your car 6 times a day. It really doesn't need it. CT's are not fertilizers.


    Growingdeeprootsorganicaly said...
    I've been making CT for about 9 months now, and i have to say, every time i apply them to a plant I see benefit, It's not a fert in the sense of synthetic's but. there is some nutrient value there, available and locked up in bio mass. and if there are proto and nematodes, once in soil they do their thing and make nutrients available.
    so it works like a fert.

    I said...
    Glad you have seen results, I haven't...

    Straight CT vs none.. no diff.
    Compost Topdress with CT vs just compost topdress, no difference.

    I am still waiting/testing but for me... the BS flag is almost out of the pocket.

    Good luck with your treatments. Before/after/control pictures to help persuade me? I honestly would love if you could.

    Me, Deeproots, and Treegal1 had some PM chat...

    Go-Green Lawn Care linked this study...
    http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=115077&d=1216694383
     
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    "Areas that warrant further study include increasing the compost tea application rate or adjusting the application method to move the compost tea into the soil profile, and adjusting the recipe of the compost and compost tea to improve the microbiology of the compost tea. Quality tests run during the trial showed high bacterial levels and moderate fungal levels in the compost tea. Increasing the
    temperature during brewing, testing various catalysts, or allowing the microbe populations in the compost to further mature and stabilize could improve the quality of the compost tea and influence the results seen from turf applications."

    it sounds like they maybe need some better tea, however the pathogen reduction was significant over all
     
  4. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Haven't read the control parts of the study yet but...

    "Turf treated with compost tea had longer root length, and less microdochium patch than untreated turf. Treated turf did not differ from untreated turf in color, density, soil carbon dioxide, soil oxygen, weed infestation, soil nutrient levels, soil bacterial biomass, soil fungal biomass, or mycorrhizal root colonization. Compost tea has become an integral part of the Presidio Golf Course pest management and the overall turf maintenance program. Further trials are needed to evaluate various application rates and application methods to determine the full potential effects of compost tea on golf course turf and soils."

    Interesting. Seems like its a good 'pesticide' but didn't make more nutrients available or change the color of the turf.. (oh crap, that's not good for the nutrient cycle, unless maybe they chemically fertilized, I'm still reading)

    Are CT's place in disease control, not anything to do with nutrients? Although increased root length is significant. Ummm, I'm going to start a new thread.. or search and resurrect an old one...

    PS, all you mycorrhizae inoculation folks.. "treated turf did not differ from untreated turf in... mycorrhizal root colonization." Blood boiling yet? (I wish Stewerds where around, lol)

    Note that there was no difference in color either...
    The first time I'CT' treat a lawn I take pictures. Then pictures every week after. I used to find myself excited when I pulled up saying "oh, sweet it worked" But when comparing the pics.. no difference in color, etc. In my experience the 'it got greener' part of the CT was in my head. That's why I want before/after/control pictures that differ from my experience.

    Remember, I want organics to work. I am just trying to figure out where each aspect of organics really fit, and develop a program that does not waste effort, time, or MONEY! If I do actually figure all this out.. *cough cough* 'you want to buy my book, you want to buy my book..' haha, you can never advertise too early. (Lawnsite: If I ever do publish this 'book' it looks like I might have to become a sponsor, haha! And even credit your site and the people therein for helping me... so please leave the humur in this post. Thanks.)


    AND


    I read this meaning that for the 50 gal brewer they brewed for 18 hours, then 6 months into the study they used the 100 gallon brewer and brewed for 24 hours.

    IF this is the case, then the first teas they were applying were bacterial dominated (for 6 months), and the second were fungal (last 6 months)? Do you think this is correct reading comprehension? And correct understanding of brew times?

    If THAT is the case...

    Then they might have void their study when it comes to bacterial and fungal biomass in the soil. If you look at the graph, when (i think) they were applying the bacterial dominated tea, the bacterial biomass was increasing and the fungal was decreasing, then when (if) they switched dominated teas, the bacterial biomass began to decrease and the fungal biomass began to increase. You can even look at the graph and see the date that they switched (on both graphs).

    I believed that it didn't matter what dominated tea you apply as I figured nature would quickly reach an equilibrium.. if I am reading the study right, I was wrong and it would suggest that you CAN control bacterial or fungal dominated soil by applying the respective CT... Interesting.

    What do you think they meant by "Brewing occurred for eighteen to twenty-four hours, respectively"... Maybe I should call them...
     
  5. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    I think they meant that they brewed for 18 hrs with the 50 gal, and 24 hrs with the 100 gal brewer.
     
  6. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    From what I have heard/learned, the teas won't work to well by themselves. You have to have something for them to feed the plant. That is the whole point of a tea, microbiology, not as a fert. Tea is just the microbes in a carrier to get into the soil, which is why they say to water deeply after app to help get it further into the soil.

    Your fert is the compost/OM that holds all the nutrients, or in your case maybe even your synthetic ferts? not sure what your final conclusion was on all of that. But that is the way I understand it. Their teas didn't have the results because they were missing the nutrients wrapped up in the OM. These nutrients are released by the microbes that are introduced by the teas.

    Am I making since? Am I right or am I so wrong I just need to stop typing?
     
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    OK, that's what i read.. which means the first 6 months was 18 hour tea and the last was 24 hour tea.. now I have no experience with brewing my own tea yet, but my understanding is that those times are significant to change a brew from bacterial dominated to fungal dominated... which would represent the shift on 5-1-2000 in their biomass graphs. I tried to call to no avail, but sent an e-mail to confirm their brewing procedure(time).

    If it is the case, it might be interesting to note also that the teas ability to control microdochium patch occurred during bacterial tea applications but its inability to control anthracnose occurred during the fungal tea time. Might be significant, might not.

    Ok tea brewers, pipe in.. am I way off in my understanding of brew times? (I need to move this to the new thread.)

    Whew, take a breath and continue :)...
     
  8. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    You said you saw the purpose in those situations, those situations being disturbing the soil in some way. Nature does this all the time, when this happens, IE flooding rains, uprooted trees, etc. the teas help to reestablish the numbers more quickly. Also, they will help keep and replenish the numbers of beneficials that might not have made it or are not exactly adapted to the certain soil conditions they were put in, they might last a little while but eventually die out.

    How does that sound?
     
  9. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Deep,

    Thanks! Thinking of organics, and mircobes, I did conclude compost and organic fertilizers ARE the way to go. Synthetic fertilizer practices might feed some of the microbes (humus forming, etc), but starve the decompsosing ones, so organics are best for diversity of microbes.

    Never shut up, I love your input... I wonder if should sometimes. But oh well lol, if they don't like what I say, they don't read it. Simple enough. :)
     
  10. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    thanks for the cliff notes on all that, all the reading and trying to keep up was starting to get to me where I could barely keep it all straight.
     

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