1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Bacteria/ Fungi Balance

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by heritage, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    DC Hall
    I have recently read about bac/fungi balance and a 1:1 ratio is supposed to be ideal in the soil. Could you explain why this is and how it can be maintained on turf, trees and shrubs and by adding what organic amendments?

    Also, How do chemical fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides upset this balance? What are the negative effects by using chemical products?

    I thank you in advance for your reply,

    Pete D.
  2. looks like dchall needs to help us
  3. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Sorry folks. I've been neglecting my duties. :dizzy: We've got this holiday season going on and my daughter picked this time to open a 2.5 inch gash in her knee requiring 20 inside and 20 outside stitches. I've also been doing a LOT of reading. I ordered a bunch of books from interlibrary loan and three of them came in on the same day. Interlibrary loan is like taking a risk with your library card. If you don't get those books back on time, you lose more than a dollar a day - they revoke your card! So I had to drop a lot of things. Should have seen me reading in the emergency room. So that's how my Fall is going!!

    What was the question? Oh, yeah. I don't know what you're reading but the ideal balance depends on what you're trying to grow. I don't think 1:1 is anywhere in the range, but I'll check. Usually the bacteria species count is like 25,000 and the fungi species count would be on the order of 5,000. That's not to say that you don't want more fungi, you probably do.

    The best way to get more fungi in your soil is to prepare a fungally dominated compost and make a compost tea which favors fungus reproduction. The first part is simple but the second one is not a trivial task. Lots of smart people are still working on getting consistent results. We know what fungi like to eat in a tea but getting them washed around in the tea without killing them is the hard part. You need stirring but not too much.

    You make fungally dominated compost by using more tree parts. Sawdust, leaves, and chipped tree parts mixed with a minimum of animal manure will give you a fungally dominated compost. Fungi are required to decompose the lignins and cellulose in tree parts. So when that compost pile eventually (ever so slowly) decomposes, it will be full of great fungi. If you continually make fungally dominated compost, in a few years the fungi that decompose it will become very adept and the pile will decompose much faster.

    You make fungally dominated compost tea starting with the fungally dominated compost. Fungus food needed in the tea includes humus, fish oil, kelp, and Yucca Shidigera (since you asked). The hardest part is getting the stirring just right so you stimulate without killing. The folks at


    make a good aerating/mixing nozzle, which they sell separately.
  4. Catmann

    Catmann LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    Certain "foods" will promote the fungal aspect of tea more than bacteria, and vice-verse.

    Humic acid has been shown to dramatically increase the fungal counts in teas. This was done by KIS and tested by SFI Inc.

Share This Page