Seaweed Science

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Gerry Miller, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    Experiments using liquefied seaweed showed a reduction in harmful
    nematode populations and fusarium and other wilts, as well as a
    healthier, lusher appearance. The trace minerals, gibberellins and
    auxins in seaweed make grass green up faster in spring and better
    survive heat, cold and drought stress. Seaweed also appears to make
    other fertilizers more effective by acting as a chelating agent.

    Liquid seaweed applications are certainly not essential, but they can help your lawn when use in conjunction with protein meals to achieve that quintessential green look that chemical lawn care companies claim
    they alone can provide. To prove it to yourself, dilute about seven
    ounces of liquid seaweed with two gallons of water, and apply it
    once in the early spring (for a faster green up), Once in midsummer
    (to improve drought tolerance and disease resistance as well as
    color) and once in late summer (to increase cold tolerance and
    stimulate root growth).

    However seaweed in itself is not a plant food, rather it is classified as a "bio-stimulant."

    Stress tolerance is perhaps the most important benefit of biostimulants. Biostimulants impart stress tolerance partly by stimulating root growth and partly by promoting antioxidant activity.

    More info can be found at:
  2. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    When to apply humic acids, seaweed or other products that are basically food to feed different groups of microorganisms.

    Standard ecological answer: It depends.

    The first thing you have to do is assess the situation you are working in. Look at your..... lawn, for example.

    What are the plants telling you? What kinds of weeds do you have? What diseases? How thick is the turf, color, insects? Get a good idea of whether the soil is severely bacterial, just sort of, or pretty well balanced. If you have the money, get a soil sample analyzed with a soil biology test. Soil chemistry test are very limited and should only be used in very defined situations.

    Result of step one should be: You have an idea of what needs fixing.

    Step two:
    Plan the course of remediation.

    If the weeds are winning, you need to maximize addition of the right sets of organisms, AND the foods to feed them. If you can, put down a light layer of compost. The compost needs to be tested to make sure you have a compost that has the right organisms. If compost is too costly or not available, Actively Aerated Compost Tea will work. You'll need a small amount of compost to make AACT. Put eggshells (for calcium) into the compost as soon as you get the compost. Add some humics, chitin and kelp to the compost to activate it about a week before you put it down, and a week before you use it to make the compost tea.

    Add humic, chitin and seaweed to the first application of tea, using that compost that you know has the biology you want. Add fish hydrolysate and seaweed to your second tea about a week later. Put down corn meal, possibly humics, or fish hydrolysate directly as food sources to help the good guys survive and grow in between tea applications. Repeat the first tea, and the second tea.

    At the end of this month, assess the plant response. How successful have you been in removing the excess nitrate, in opening up compaction and getting the right balance of biology going.

    Remember, we've had years to destroy the soil organisms by using toxic chemicals, so the return to health may not be instant. These toxic chemicals put your soil into intensive care. Just like humans in intensive care, it takes a while for things to get healthy again. The reward, ultimately, is a system where very little intervention will be needed to maintain healthy plants.

    If the intensive use of teas, doesn't fix things, then you have to realize that the tea being made, or used, doesn't have the organisms you need. You NEED to get a soil sample to tell you what is wrong. Once again, a soil biology test.

    If you have just a few weeds, but you have bare patches and thin areas, think about what has been done to the lawn. What is the likelihood that you have good biology already there?

    Bare areas: Apply the intensive treatment (see a above). Seeding in some new grass might be a good idea, but make sure to add mycorrhizal spores to the tea you soak the seed in.

    A few weeds, but mostly good areas: Monthly tea applications using humics and kelp, alternating with fish and kelp would be a good plan. Add humics, or kelp, or fish to the brew just as you put it out if the biology seems to need a bit more help.
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    A simple application of the endo micorrhiza, needed for turf grasses, to a brewing compost tea most likely will ensure the rapid death of the very spores you are trying to innoculate into your landscape. "IF" the mico do survive the brewing proces, the simple act of spraying them to the surface area of the soils surface will probably kill off any remaining Micor that werent killed during the brewing process.

    Endo micor spores are very sensitive to sunlite, while a surface application of endo micor spores might result in a partial innoculation in your turf area, the spores should be incorporated into the soil at the root zone of the intended host plant for maximum benefit. If you had read a few more of Dr. Marx's published papers, you would already know this.
  4. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    I don't need to read any more of Dr. Marx's comments. I do know this. Like I have said, I have a much better source of information, Dr. Elaine Ingham. Of course, that is MY opinion.

    Again, you need to reread what I said about mycorrhizal spores. Some people can add them to their AACT AFTER the brewing cycle, before you apply the AACT to the soil. This will work on bare soil, as I stated, but also after core aeration or before sod is being laid. You keep taking what I said out of context. I also stated, if you read the whole post, that to treat grass seed with mycorrhizal spores before you sow the seed. Or did you miss that part of my post as well.

    It seems like all your post are 'drive by posts' and are just trying to be troublesome rather than informative. Why is that?

    Also, you might want to take advantage of the spell check before you submit your posts.
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Soil physics may have to be improved as well, and it is the organisms that build soil structure. Physics (soil aggregate structure), chemistry, and biology work together. It is silly to talk about any one of them being "most important": soil biology, soil chemistry and soil physics all have to be optimal for the chosen plants in order for the plants to grow well.
  6. Daner

    Daner LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,307

  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Credit goes to Dr. Ingham, or whoever wrote that passage on the SFI site.

    Tunnel vision is not a good thing when talking about ecosystems, too bad some people have a hard time understanding that.
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    Well said. It takes chemistry to have the correct physical structure in the soil. Without the correct chemistry and physics, the biology cant survive. Simply applying microbes to a poor, compacted soil will only result in the short life of the biology applied. That short life span might increase crop gains of the first season or two, but will result in a mining of the soil for necessary nutrients and a steady decline in the bio-diversity of that soil and a futher reduction of thats soils ability to support plant life.
  10. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    That's from Dr. Elaine Ingham.

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