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Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by upidstay, Apr 21, 2006.
I would think that only the fungicides would have an effect on it. no?
No. Actually lots of things cause damage. Any disturbing the soil either by digging or tilling, compaction, construction practices, removal of top soil, site preparation, and leaving soil bear can cause damage, in addition to high nitrogen synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides can reduce or eliminate these soil organisms.
Yes, this is your best option if in already established turf. Even better is to apply when seeding or laying sod.
Did you check out that website? Most commercial mycorrhizae products originate from this company and are just re-branded. They don't deal in small quantities, so you may need to find a distributor if you're looking for a small amount. They come recommended by Dr. Elaine Ingham, who is one of the top soil microbiologists in the field when it comes to studying the soil food web.
I agree with Gerry that most pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc... have a non-target effect, meaning they will kill other organisms besides the intended ones.
So mycorrhizae applied at the end of a year won't replenish what I've killed off during the spring and summer with pesticides, and add more than what there was to begin with?
These questions are best directed to a mycorrhiza expert, but I can explain the basics.
Benefits of mycorrhizal fungi:
-Eliminate the need for high levels of P fertilization.
-Increase crop nutrient uptake.
-Increase water uptake.
-Decrease watering needs.
-Disease and pathogen suppression.
Mycorrhizal fungi have many other benefits, this is just off the top of my head. I know many people who have seen amazing results from adding mycorrhizal fungi to their plants. You know it works when growers like Monrovia are using it on all their container plants.
The way it works is the fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of your plant. It then extends the root system and also provides the benefits I listed above. When you use ~cides (pesticides, herbicides, etc..) you are potentially damaging the mycorrhizal fungi, in which case adding more to your plant's roots could provide a substantial benefit. There are 2 types of mycorrhizal fungi, endo and ecto. You need to talk to an expert to find out:
1. If your plant has a mycorrhizal relationship (most do, but there are a few exceptions).
2. What type of mycorrhizal fungi would work best for the plant in question (there are differences).
Mycorrhizae are one of the most researched aspects of soil biology today. You should be able to find good information and data relating to whatever you're trying to accomplish.
How can we 'know' how well established our soil is with beneficial organisms?
Is there a test that shows that?
Right now I am just assuming which lawns may or may not have adequate populations.
You don't know what the biology is in ANY soil without a lab test. You can't assume anything. SoilFoodWeb.com performs all the lab test you need.
Lawns that have not been exposed to synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides or other exotic material (like 'Muck') for over 5 years would be one indicator of potential good soil biology. But even this can be tainted if your neighbor uses these chemicals, some of this crap is going to land on your soil as well. Not to mention the farmer 5 miles away spraying his fields and you are down wind. These things will all have an impact on soil biology.
Looks are deceiving. For example, the use of high nitrogen fertilizer artificially feeds the grass directly through it's roots. But it's like lawn crack. Take the lawn off the chemicals, and the lawn will deteriorate quickly and you will see withdrawal effects. The soil is not healthy and is subject to various fungal diseases and insect infestation and then weeds.
So, without having a soil biology test performed, if you use organic practices and by applying properly made Actively Aerated Compost Tea (AACT) in conjunction with protein meals, you will get your soil in balance in short order. The AACT supercharges your soil with biology it needs and the protein meals feeds all those critters. Of course, adding the biology can be accomplished with good topdressing of good aerobic compost (No Muck), but it's more costly, labor intensive and much, much more expensive. By using AACT, you have 1000's times more biology than what you would find in compost, if it's made properly with the correct aeration, you be adding only aerobic biology to your soil, and that's what you want. A good diet of various protein meals like alfalfa, corn meal, soybean meal, corn gluten meal and feather meal will not only provide the food for the soil biology, but you are also adding organic matter to your soil.
But again, you neighbor or your local farmer are using chemicals, you'll need to reapply the AACT periodically during the year. More application in soils that are in need in the beginning of an organic practice.
Here are couple of web sites for more info:
These two sites should be manditory for anyone in the lawn care business.
Great post Gerry, and good resources. I think that Soil Food Web link is the BEST starting point for anyone learning about the organics.
You can spray/add as much "biology" as you want to a soil, but without a food source it will not do a lick of good. To build a healthy sustainable soil you need a continuous OM (eg. carbon) input.
Strive to create a balanced sustainable system, and the rest will take care of itself.
Here's a good place to start.