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Turf Grass Selection Pt. 8

By George Altgelt

In our last column there was a mistake in the last paragraph. The comparison I was making was between someone who was hypoglycemic (abnormally low blood sugar) and a plant with low sugar content in its plant sap. A person in this condition can hardly move, a plant in this condition can barely grow, becomes sickly and weak and will succumb to insect and fungal attacks.

Last column’s text read “If your plant sap sugar content is not where it should be” should have read “is where it should be,” meaning it will be growing vigorously and handling everything the environment can throw at it. Too much phosphorous prevents trace minerals from getting into the plant, that in turn causes the sugar content in the plant sap to drop and with it the vigor and vitality of whatever plants are living in that soil. In every sense of the word plants are a reflection of the soil they are in. Additionally animals are a reflection of the plants they are eating and we, at the cellular level, are a reflection of the plant and animal products we are eating.a-soil-microbes

This is why, at Geo Growers, we strive to make every soil blend the most balanced package of nutrients it can be. Once the fertility issues are addressed and balanced the stage is set for a most remarkable piece of magic. That is when the plants and their roots interact with the structure and fertility of the soil through the microbial life of the soil. Everything from the bacteria and fungi that colonize the roots to the microbes that digest and render available the organic matter, to the exotic microbes that fix nitrogen without the presence of legumes, work together as a cohesive whole. At a specific point where they are all in cahoots with one another a functioning soil ecology is born! I know I should have said “where they are all in partnership with one another,” but the word cahoots is so much more fun. Cahoots means “shady dealings” and as we all know living soil does best with some shade. But also there is the hysterically funny notion that soil microbes would be down in the dirt plotting and scheming to pull off something utterly ludicrous, like overthrowing a tree or a shrub. Actually they are doing their very best to accomplish just the opposite. We humans can help them, if we know what we’re doing, and speed the process up immensely. Then a thriving soil ecology can do what it has always done, like make more plants, make more soil which holds more water allowing it to soak into the ground and fill the aquifers rather than running off and flooding creeks and rivers and making muddy large bodies of water. The point of all this is to create a balance. We can know what we are doing. There are lab tests for soil and tissue analysis for plants. There is also experienced professional advice and common sense.

If you’ve got a question or need help call us at Geo Growers. Meanwhile we hope to see you here. Happy Hort’n.

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