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bacterial vs fungal teas?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by cspaugh, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. cspaugh

    cspaugh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Hello everyone

    Been doing some research and ran across two types of tea, just wondering if anyone could tell me, is one more benificial than the other. From what I have gathered, brewed tea contains both bacteria and fungi, but it takes longer to culture fungi. I guess that would be the case with teas we make, heavy on the bacteria and light on the fungi. How would you go about making a brew with a high fungi count and woult ther be any benifits? Or am I way off here and sound like im just spewing, how bout a little input or clarafication. Thanks for any input, I am trying to learn:weightlifter:
  2. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    Since it does take longer for the fungi to grow, you need to activate your compost about a week before you make your tea. Using baby oatmeal works well with just enough moisture for the fungi to develop.

    Or you can purchase compost already activated from KIS, Inc.:

    Different plants have different needs. It depends on the plant you are going to apply the tea to, but in most part, balance is more desirable.
  3. cspaugh

    cspaugh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    thanks Gerry

    So would every other month, with fungi rich tea, be good to get the biology in my soil up to par, in addition to monthly tea treatments. Also, am I correct that once you have good population of benificials, you feed the benificials with protiens and complex sugar, therefore less often with the teas? Thank you for your help and knowledge.
  4. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the turf would prefer more of a bacterial tea, while plants prefer a more fungal tea. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I'll try and dig up some info on it.
  5. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    Hi Matt,

    I believe you are correct. A higher fungal volume may be necessary if your microbial soil test indicates a shortage. Generally my inclination would be that grass would do well with a CT complete with bacteria/archaea, fungal hyphae and protozoa. This generally requires brewing longer than 24 hours and for me (50 gal.) 42 hours seems to be the average magic number but it will vary. Larger brewers seem to take a bit longer for some mysterious reason. I believe you can get a 2 to 5 head count on flagellates per 200X field of view with a KIS 5 gallon brewer in about 24 hours and a 50 to 100 head count in 36 to 44 hours.

  6. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    It all depends on the condition of your soil. Have you been using synthetic chemicals in the past? Does you grass suffer from any diseases?

    If yes to either of those questions, I would apply weekly tea applications during the spring growing period. I would apply a protein meal to my lawn before I applied my first application of tea. Soil organisms need protein to thrive.

    If you soil was already in balance, a slightly bacterial dominance of your tea is suggested. However, since bacteria grow so well by themselves, most soils have a need for fungi more so than bacteria. So in the beginning of getting your soil into balance, I would use a slightly fungal dominant tea.
  7. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    With a KIS brewer, a decent fungal count can be obtained in a 12 hours cycle using their 5 gallon brewer. However, the magic number seems to be at the 18th hour for fungi in their system, providing you have activated you compost.
  8. cspaugh

    cspaugh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Thanks everyone for the help.
  9. Elden

    Elden LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

  10. Organic a go go

    Organic a go go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    What about fungal tea as a foliar treatment? I viewed a web-inar earlier this month from the people at SPCP in IL and the compost tea lecture included quite a bit about fungal teas being helpful for disease control when applied a foliar treatment rather than a drench.

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