What is the Soil Food Web?

Within the soil exists a complex balance between the soil microorganisms and larger organisms such as earthworms, insects, small vertebrates and plants. All of these organisms live all or part of their lives in the soil.


Soil Food Web Diagram from the USDA 

To steal a line from Walt Disney’s The Lion King, it’s the circle of life! The larger organisms consume smaller organisms; those smaller organisms consume even smaller organisms and so on. When complete, the soil food web nurtures healthy plants, healthy habitats for those plants and an overall healthier environment with less pollutants. When the soil food web is out of balance, plant health is compromised.




What are soil microorganisms and why are they important to plant health?

Soil is abundant with living microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, protozoa, algae, and nematodes. Of the microorganisms present in most soils, roughly 95% of the total population is bacteria.

These microorganisms carry out important functions in the soil to nurture plant health including but not limited to: converting and releasing nutrients (plant food) to the plant; promoting plant tolerance from stress including weather, disease, and traffic; fighting pathogens in the soil; and stimulating plant growth.


Reducing inputs when using microbial products

New products that contain microorganisms have been gathering market support. Turf professionals, horticulturists, and farmers report needing less fertilizers and pesticides when using microbial products in combination with their traditional fertility program.

One example is Broken Sound Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. Shannon Easter, Director of Golf Maintenance, has reduced fungicide use by 30% and fertilizer by 20% when using Holganix Bio 800+ in combination with his fertility program.

Holganix Bio 800+ is a microbial or plant probiotic containing more than 800 species of active microorganisms to nourish plant health.

Jimmy Cox of Picture Perfect Lawn Maintenance has reduced fertilizer use by nearly 50% with Bio 800+. Jimmy is using 2.2 pounds of nitrogen, down from his usual 4 pounds annually.


Posted by Kaitlyn Ersek on Mar 23, 2017 6:04:00 AM

Kaitlyn Ersek

Topics: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, agriculture

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