Do you have fungal problems - same place every year?
Over the past 50 years the medical industry has gone through a huge transformation. The old way was to basically ignore diet and exercise and focus on pharmaceutical treatments. If you went to a doctor today and he or she said not to worry about your diet or exercise and just take vitamins and eat what you want because when you get cancer they have surgery and chemo. What would you do?
However, that’s how we do it with plants, and especially lawns. Proper plant nutrition is provided from the micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi that break down dead leaves, create fertilizer out of thin air, and convert soil minerals to plant usable forms.
The simple explanation is to make an analogy about the guard dogs for the sheep to protect them from the wolves. Balanced soils are ones that have been undisturbed lands usually a forest or grassland. They posses an overwhelming amount of natural soil microorganisms like mycorhizae, trichoderma, archea, rhizobacteria, saprophytic fungi, nematodes, up to insects and worms. This balance is what keeps the pathogens (disease causing organisms) in check.
When the soil becomes imbalanced, the pathogens have less and less competition and predation from the organisms that are in symbiosis with and thus protecting their host plants.
Fungicides – They kill fungi. There are many more type of beneficial fungi that help your plant by breaking down organic matter, feed the plant and prey on pathogens to protect their host.
Herbicides – Beneficial soil bacteria can be harmed by herbicides. Article here
Soluble Salt Fertilizers – Besides pushing too much growth resulting in dense, thick turfs that stay wet and breeding grounds for many lawn diseases, they can change the physical structure of the soil, decreasing irrigation efficiency. Article here
As your soil gets more diverse and populated with beneficial microorganisms/microbes, they bond with the plant roots to provide both fertilization from the air like Nitrogen, root growth hormones, and antagonistic bio-chemicals against pathogens. They do this because the plant is shedding root cells as it moves through the soil. These root cells are food for soil microbes. They are living off the root cells. The plant is receiving more and more nutrition from the organisms for boosted leaf growth which creates more root growth. More root growth creates more microbes. More microbes create more root growth. The cycle continues.
Plants haven’t evolved to need massive doses of soluble fertilizers. (excess ends up in ground water or the air as methane) When the soil is balanced, natural fertilizers can be substituted to further introduce more organic matter as the lawn grows slower and more steady due lower levels of nitrogen. The density lessens and the lawn can dry our faster after rain or irrigation.
When a pathogen does get started the response from the ‘protector’ organisms quickly suppresses the outbreak to levels that are sometimes not even noticed. And when lawns can dry out quickly, fungal pathogens are at a disadvantage to the beneficial microbes and they get out competed for resources.
Mycorrhizae fungi are a very efficient moisture delivery system through their hyphae that bond with plant roots and then extend out into the soil to bring nutrients and water back to the root. In fact, Mycorrhizae enable roots to pull nutrition and water from much more of the soil profile than roots alone.
Start thinking about plants , trees and lawns, like you would your pets. Good health starts with good nutrition. Ask your self these question:
If you answer is no to any of these questions, you might want to pass.
Raise a child on IV drips of vitamins and carbohydrates and see how the child develops. That's what your doing to your plants.