The Holganix Blog

4 Problems Facing Trees & Shrubs In Summer

4 Tennessee Lawn Care Companies (3)

The heat and lack of water typical for summers in the U.S. places trees and shrubs under a lot of pressure. We interviewed horticulturist, Ed Kapryn and Director of Plant Soil Science, Robert Neidermyer Ph.D. (Dr. Bob) on the top 4 problems facing tree and shrubs in the summer and solutions to help overcome summer problems.

 

Problem #1 - Watch Out For Disease and Insect Problems!

“The combination of rising temperatures and water often means disease and/or insect activity is nearby,” explains Ed. “Check the branch, trunk and foliage of your trees and shrubs, especially under the leaf. If you see orange, yellow or brown spotting, you may have a fungal disease or insect activity.” Leaf spot diseases can interrupt photosynthesis and may lead to leaf loss, that is also where a lot of insects like to hide before they start doing major damage (i.e. lace bug, aphids, etc).

"Plus, there has been a lot of rain this past spring in the country that could lead to big disease problems," explains Ed.

According to Ed, “I’m hearing a lot about crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS) at the moment especially in the Southeast and Texas.” Check foliage and bark for tell-tale insect signs like bite marks, holes, white spots and sticky surfaces.

The below image is of CMBS from Clemson University Cooperative Extension.

crape myrtle bark scale

 

Solution # 1

Combining Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub with a systemic insecticide will help contractors fight insects. Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub will improve the plants ability to deal with stress and build a healthy soil ecosystem to combat pathogens.

For insects like CMBS that have a tendency to “lump up on each other”, a systemic insecticide is important to reach insects that are not affected by a topical spray.

When choosing insecticides, Ed recommends contractors be choosey with their options. “Pollinator friendly insecticides like those with a cedar oil or neem oil derivative are the way to go.”


Problem #2 - Overcoming Drought

As summer matures, heat and lack of water will become more of an issue. Check for signs of wilted or curled leaves, yellow leaves and early leaf drop for signs that your trees and shrubs are under-watered.

The below image shows leaves wilting due to summer heat.

 

Solution #2

“If your landscapes have non-drought tolerant plants, be sure you are watering your trees and shrubs 2-to-3 times per week,” explains Dr. Bob. A deeper watering is always going to be more beneficial than more frequent, shallow watering. Whenever possible, try to steer towards drought-friendly plants and native plants in your landscapes.

plant wilts

Problem #3 - Pruners Take Care!

When spring flowering subsides, it’s often time to prune. In much of the country, pruning time is just starting but be careful with how you prune your trees and shrubs.

 

Solution #3

“Don’t hack and wack,” cautions Ed. He recommends hand pruning whenever possible. It's also important that you don't prune away the growing points of next year's flowering stems or wood. While it would be unusual for trees and shrubs to die from over pruning, it does weaken the plant making it more susceptible to insect and disease problems. Also, Ed notes “No flush cuts! And remember to sanitize any pruning equipment to cut down on disease transfer like Dogwood Anthracnose. To sanitize your pruning equipment, spray a 409 or other household disinfectant.” 

“Applying an application of Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub after a good prune will help the plant heal properly,” explains Dr. Bob. For more information on pruning and How Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub can help, visit this blog article.


Problem #4 - Installing Landscapes

During installation, trees and shrubs are often stressed as it gets used to its new environment. At times, stress can be so great that the plant will go into shock or potentially die after installation.

plant start

Solution #4

Applying Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub as a Plant Start Application will ensure the perfect installation. In specific, Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub will improve the healing process, plant survival, and increase the root architecture. For directions on how to conduct a Holganix Plant Start Application, watch this video.


Plant Health Care Problems Comes Down to Soil

“Most problems facing your plants begin with poor soil, void of the life found in a natural forest environment,” states Dr. Bob. “Healthy soils are teeming with beneficial soil microbes that naturally fortify plant strength from stress caused by disease, insect and drought. Healthy soils also hold water and nutrients longer than poor soils and are porous, allowing plant roots to develop.”

Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub is focused on building soil health by harnessing the power of over 800 species of soil microbes. Ultimately, using Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub will build stronger plants, develop root architecture, maximize plant color and offset the need for large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides.

Want to dig in deeper? Check out this video on results seen with Holganix Bio 800+ Tree & Shrub in the field, then click the button below to set up an appointment with a Holganix specialist.

Speak With A Holganix Representative

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, horticulture, science behind holganix

Installing Landscapes? Holganix Plant Start Reduces Transplant Shock, Grows Strong Roots

4 Tennessee Lawn Care Companies (1)-3

Contractors that install plants - whether flowers, trees, shrub, sod or seed - have a challenge on their hands. In essence, they take perfectly healthy plant material from a greenhouse or nursery and install it in dead soil that is common in new subdivisions. The plant suffers from transplant shock and will either struggle to take root and adapt to its new home, or eventually it may die.

Don’t risk new plants! Use Holganix Plant Start applications to ensure your plants thrive. By using the Holganix Plant Start Applications, contractors can expect:

  • Reduce transplant shock
  • Grow strong roots
  • Boost color

 

What is the Holganix Plant Start Application?

Contractors simply water their freshly installed plant in with any Holganix Bio 800+ product and the plant will grow strong roots, that allow the plant to not only survive, but thrive in its new home.

Plant Start

 

Watch Our Video Demonstration

Watch the below below for a demonstration on how to use Holganix Bio 800+ products during plant start applications. If you are reading this blog via email, click here to watch the video. 

 

Download A Copy Of The Plant Start Directions

Click the button below to download your copy of the Plant Start Application directions. Spanish versions of these directions are pending.

Download:  Plant Start Application Directions

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, science behind holganix

Top 5 Benefits Of Regenerative Agriculture [INFOGRAPHIC]

Regenerative_Agriculture_benefits

In 1938, Dr. Charles Kellogg, soil scientist and then Chief of the USDA’s Bureau for Chemistry and Soils stated that “Essentially, all life depends upon the soil… There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.”

100 years later and that quote still remains prevalent to the way we think of agriculture. As new scientific studies are published supporting the benefits of soil health, topics like regenerative agriculture have gained popularity. Once thought of a system for niché farmers, regenerative agriculture is gaining major headway within the agriculture community as a way to improve soil health, while being good stewards to the earth.


What Is Regenerative Agriculture?

So, what is regenerative agriculture? Regenerative agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that focus on regenerating topsoil, allowing farmers to maintain crop yields, improve water retention and plant uptake, increase farm profitability, and support biosequestration, among other benefits.

The backbone of regenerative agriculture is a focus on strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil. The key is that regenerative agriculture “does no harm” to the land, and in fact improves it, using technologies to build soil health like compost, recycling waste, limited-to-no-tillage, among other practices.

According to a paper by the Washington State University, “there are multiple versions of [regenerative agriculture], each with a different flavor.” For example, The Rodale Institute promotes a strictly organic version and even has certifying programs to guide farmers and buyers. While, farmer and TEDx speaker, Gabe Brown champions a form of regenerative agriculture that doesn’t restrict the need to go fully organic.


Top 5 Benefits Of Regenerative Agriculture

Check out our infographic below for the top 5 benefits of regenerative agriculture, or skip the infographic and keep on scrolling to read it in article form - the old fashioned way.

Regenerative_Agriculture_Infographic


#1 Regenerative Agriculture Is Focused On Increasing Soil Health

No matter the variation in regenerative agricultural practices, all focus on increasing soil health. According to the Regeneration International, a non-profit organization with the goal for a global transition to regenerate agriculture and land management, “Regenerative agriculture describes farming and organic practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity…”  By focusing on building soil health, you can optimize their yield results and crop health naturally.


#2 Maintaining Crop Yields Is A No Brainer?

No conversation around switching regenerative agricultural practices would be complete without addressing yield. According to the Nature Conservancy Organization, regenerative agricultural practices “reduce the risk of yield loss due to stressors, and can bring about a material increase in crop yields and quality.” Other reports from the Rodale Institute shows that yields can be maintained and at times increased (See benefit #3).

We should be open to exploring whether or not we can maintain crop yields with regenerative agricultural practices and there is no better way to get proof than by trying it on a portion of your own farm.  

>>Check out the Nature Conservancy's report on Regenerative Agriculture


#3 Growing More Resilient Crops

According to the Rodale Institute, yields “under organic systems are likely to be more resilient to extreme weather… in the long-running Farming System Trial, in drought years, yields were consistently higher in the organic system. For instance, organic corn yields were 28-to-34% higher than conventional.” In general, having resilient crops comes back to the soil and increasing soil biodiversity. By ensuring your soils are healthy and teeming with beneficial soil microbes, you can naturally displace and suppress disease.


#4 Improved Farm Profitability

According to several reports, switching to regenerative agriculture can actually increase your farm’s profitability. For example, according to Farmland LP, a fund that invests in converting conventional farmland to regenerative, organic farming, they have seen gross margins around 40-to-50% on wine grapes and single-digit improvements on commodity crops. In another example, researchers Claire LaCanne and Dr. Jonathan Lundgren note that regenerative agriculture grown corn reaped 78% higher profits than conventional corn production systems. And, according to General Mills, it builds farmer economic resilience. They state that “regenerative agricultural practices can reduce the need for expensive chemical inputs.”

There’s a lot of discussion on the importance of focusing on improved farm profitability when converting a farm to regenerative agriculture, and the research on it is variable, yet promising.  


#5 Regenerative Agriculture As A Solution To Climate Change.

In a white paper titled “Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change”, the Rodale Institute states that “we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term 'regenerative organic agriculture.'”  That’s a tall order! But, it is one the Rodale Institute has been working with researchers to prove for the past three decades.

>>Check out the Rodale Institute’s white paper for information on their climate change data


How Do Regenerative Agriculture and Holganix Bio 800+ Agriculture Fit Together?

Regenerative agricultural practices like composting, cover crops and no-to-low-till, leave food sources for soil microbes in the soil. By providing food sources for microbes, regenerative agriculture strengthens the soil microbes.

Holganix Bio 800+ Agriculture harnesses the power of over 800 species of soil microbes to recharge soils, that ultimately leads to improved yield, root growth, and crop resilience against stress.

When you combine regenerative agriculture practices that provide microbe food sources, and the diverse consortium of microbes in Holganix Bio 800+, results from both can increase.

Learn more about Holganix Bio 800+ Agriculture by watching our short 8.5-minute video on our university and commercial grower trials.

 

 

 

Dig Deeper Into Soil; Download Our Soil Science eBook

Digging Soil Science 101: Beginners Guide to Understanding the Soil Food Web

We know regenerative agriculture and long-term sustainability of farmland hinges on the health of soils. But, how do soils work? And, what does healthy soil look like? Dig deeper into soil science with by downloading our FREE eBook by Holganix Director of Soil and Plant Science, Dr. Robert Neidermyer.

Download our eBook to explore:

1. How the soil food web supports healthy crops

2. The power behind soil microbes and what they do to build resilient crops

3. Soil types and how to improve the health of your soil

soil food web

Tags: agriculture, science behind holganix, farmer

5 Tips For Planning Your 2019 Fertilizer Program

Fertilizer Program

With only two months to go until the new year, now is the perfect time to strategize what 2019 will look like for your lawn and landscape company. In specific, what will your agronomic program look like, and are you adding any new services this year like tree and shrub applications or aeration services? These are the two big questions we’ll explore in today’s blog.


Planning Your Agronomic Program

Most of the time, agronomic programs fluctuate throughout the year based on weather. For example, too much rain causes problems with disease, and two little could spell for a nasty summer. Regardless of Mother Nature’s whims, it’s important to strategize what your ideal agronomic program looks like to ensure a successful year. Here are three tips from Dr. Bob, our Director of Soil and Plant Science.

 

1. Nutrients Matter

We all know those three numbers on the bag stand for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, and while getting the appropriate quantity of each nutrient is important, quality may matter even more so. Not all forms of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are created equally. Here are two items to consider when looking at your nutrients.

Looking at Timing: Slow vs Quick-Release

Is your nutrient source a quick- or slow-release? For example, when it comes to the source of nitrogen are you using a quick-release urea or a slow-release methylated or triazone urea? Or some other source entirely? There are instances when you are looking for a quick green up, but often a program containing slow-release urea will provide a better, long-term green up.

>>Learn more about the difference between slow and quick-release nitrogen sources on this blog.

Compare Use Rate to Understand Cost

When comparing two fertilizer costs don’t just compare the cost of one bag to another, factor in the use rate of each fertilizer to get to cost per round. Cost per round will be your “True Cost” for that fertilizer.

 

2. Going Organic? Going Hybrid-Organic?

Are you looking to create a hybrid-organic program or a fully organic program? Many Holganix customers prefer to utilize a hybrid-organic program that provides the quick results associated with a traditional, synthetic program and the long-term benefits of an organic one. Often, a hybrid-organic program provides benefits like a green, weed-free lawn, increased soil health, less surge growth and the ability to market your earth-friendly message to homeowners.

If you’re interested in going with a hybrid-organic program, be sure to download your Holganix Soil Smart Program!

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 9.10.11 AM-1

Holganix Soil Smart Programs are turn-key and consist of all the products needed for a fertilization program including fertilizer, herbicides and of course, your Holganix plant probiotics. However, unlike a traditional fertilizer program, the Holganix Soil Smart Program requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides to create a green, weed-free lawn.

>>Download Your Holganix Soil Smart Program

 

3. Speak With a Local Expert!

If you have any questions about designing your 2019 fertilizer program, feel free to speak with one of our local experts at Holganix. You can schedule a meeting with a Holganix expert by clicking the button below.

Speak With A Holganix Representative


Adding Additional Services in 2019

Are you currently offering lawn fertilizer applications and looking to branch out into additional services to increase your revenue and gross margin. Adding additional services is a great way to increase your revenue per customer which in turn should increase your margins. These are services your customers are often either receiving from a competitor or are DIYing. Here are two services to consider adding in 2019.


1. Tree and Shrub Programs

On average you can expect 10-to-30% of your current customers to sign up for a tree and shrub program. That’s like new found money. If you’re anxious to get started because (1) you don’t know how to sell it, (2) you don’t know how to price it, or (3) you don’t know how to build a tree and shrub program, don’t fret - we’ve got your back!

Download the Holganix Tree and Shrub Box for tools on how to price out a tree and shrub program and free marketing pieces to help push the program to customers. You are also welcome to leverage one of our horticulturists or local lawn care experts for help designing a program.

>>Download Your Tree & Shrub Box


2. Aeration Services

Why should you market aeration services to current customers? Not only is it additional revenue with high margins, but by aerating the turf, you’re providing a better soil ecosystem for the lawn. For help getting started, download our Holganix Aeration Box containing several tools to help you market and sell aeration services to customers.

>>Download Your Aeration Box


The Big Take-Aways

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Make sure you take advantage of the next two months to plan out your 2019 agronomic program and any additional services you may offer in the coming season. Also, to help you get started, leverage the free resources we listed above or any others provided by distributors. And lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Holganix if you have any questions, we are here to help!

Speak With A Holganix Representative

Tags: lawn care, science behind holganix

[PODCAST] Farm Tank Interviews Barrett Ersek on Gratitude and Business Innovation

PODCAST
 
"A wise person learns from his experience, but an extremely wise person learns from the experience of others" — Barrett Ersek

Today's blog article comes from FarmTank Podcasts by Jordan Van Trump! Click the button below to access the podcast, or read Jordan's summarized highlights below. Be sure to sign up for Farm Tank Podcasts and share the podcast with friends!
 
A big thank you to Farm Tank and Jordan Van Trump for interview Barrett and sharing our Holganix story. 
 
Barrett's Podcast
 
A Note from Jordan Van Trump, Farm Tank Podcasts
 
Barrett Ersek, Founder and CEO of the Holganix, is a true American entrepreneur. Listen to this podcast to learn a collection of insight about building your own business even when you think all the cards are stacked against you. Barrett sold his first company for $3.5 million, his second for over $10 million, and is currently in the process of building another multimillion dollar venture. This man has a lot to share when it comes to overcoming adversity and the significance of gratitude in business as well as life. He has personally had to overcome many challenges and obstacles, many that would have stopped most people, but not Barrett Ersek. Not only did he overcome adversity, but he has excelled every step of the way.Barrett has been invited to lecture at places like MIT, The London School of Business, and the India School of Business.
 
Barrett now has his sights set on finding new and innovative ways to improve soil health and to leave a lasting footprint on earth. In this podcast episode, Barrett and I have great discussions about business and life. He shares some extremely valuable lessons he has learned along his amazing journey.
 
We also talk about a wide variety of topics such as: deep sea fishing in the Caribbean, meeting Brother David Steindl-Rast, and some of the best Philly cheese-steaks in Philadelphia. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about this earth changing agronomist and influential American Entrepreneur.
 
 
Want To Hear More?

If you are interested in receiving our exclusive podcasts, content, and Q&A's on a regular basis, visit Farm Tank's site, and simply enter your e-mail address. It's that simple! No spam, ever. Just great stuff.
 
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Tags: lawn care, agriculture, science behind holganix, marketing tips and hints

[VIDEO] Why Do Hydroseeders Use Holganix Products?

Hydroseeder

In this blog post, Holganix National Sales Manager, Rob McCoy interviews Brian Marr on results he is seeing in Texas with hydroseeders and Holganix products. Brian Marr is the Territory Manager for Texas, Colorado and the West Coast. Watch their 2-Minute video interview below or skip the video and read the highlights. If you are reading this blog via email, click here to access the video.

 

Rob McCoy, Holganix National Sales Manager - Brian, we have been hearing about the hydroseeders in Texas that have been picking up the Holganix product line, can you tell me what they are seeing?


Brian Marr, Holganix Territory Representative - We have seen hydroseeders really drawn to the product line because of the quick seed germination results and because, often times hydroseeders are dealing with poor soil conditions, and Holganix products can help remedy that. Hydroseeders are also seeing reduced call backs because of the better results.


Rob McCoy, Holganix National Sales Manager - How are the hydroseeders using the Holganix products?


Brian Marr, Holganix Territory Representative - Typically, hydroseeders are using a really simple recipe. Depending on their tank size, they are combining 4.5 gallons of Holganix Bio 800 Lawn with 5 bags of Healthy Grow Infused with Holganix 7-9-5, and 2.5 gallons of Holganix Blue Sky 21-0-0 per acre. Recipes similar to this one can also be useful for landscapers doing aeration and overseeding.

Soil Smart Fertilizer Program

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, holganix reviews, golf course, science behind holganix

3 Results To Expect From Your Fall Lawn Care Program [INFOGRAPHIC]

1-9

It may be the middle of the summer, but it is the perfect opportunity to begin planning out your fall lawn fertilizer applications. Fall is a crucial time of the year for your lawns because the turf needs to recover from the summer stress, many regions look to do fall overseeding and many regions need the lawn to “bulk up” to prepare for winter.

Give your lawns the support they need in the fall by using the The Holganix Soil Smart Program.

The Holganix Soil Smart Program is a turn-key fertilizer program that is specifically designed for your region. Its goal is to provide predictable, green, thick lawns while minimizing the need for chemical inputs like fertilizers and pesticides - all while providing the same great results expected from using a traditional fertilizer program.

>>Skip the rest of the article and download your program here.

Depending on your region, the Soil Smart Program is built to provide specific results important for the fall season. Check out the infographic below for the three most important results a Soil Smart Program is tailored to deliver, then keep reading for a more in depth explanation on each.

Fall Program Infographic

Improved Summer Stress Recovery

Your lawn needs to catch its breath after undergoing the stress of hot summer conditions. The Holganix Soil Smart Program is designed to help your lawn bounce back faster! Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria found in Holganix Bio 800+ Lawn (a product within your Soil Smart Program) surround the crown of the turf plant and promote growth when temperatures begin to fall and moisture is made available to the plant. Ultimately this means the Holganix Soil Smart Program provides a strong start to the fall season.


Faster Seed Germination

In many regions, the fall is dedicated to aeration and overseeding. The Holganix Soil Smart Program speeds up seed germination with thanks to Holganix Bio 800+ Lawn and Holganix PreBiotic 2-10-20 (both products are included in your fall fertilizer rounds).

Holganix Bio 800+ Lawn contains soil microbes that stimulate foliage and root growth, allowing seeds to germinate and become established faster. Holganix PreBiotic 2-10-20 contains high quality sources of phosphorus and potassium; both nutrients are vital to getting new seedlings “rooted in” (no pun intended!) to new environments.

seed_Germination_whitehouse

The above image was sent to us by one of our customers that decided to put Holganix Bio 800+ Lawn to the test and compare its results against traditional starter fertilizers. Can you guess which pot contained Holganix Bio 800+ Lawn? As a note, the first pot contains green seed accelerator, which may alter the appearance of its results. To learn more about the study, click here to read the article.

 

Preparing For Winter

Are your turf and plants REALLY ready for winter? Depending on your region, your Soil Smart Program’s fall applications are designed to help your lawns better prepare for winter. Once winter hits, your turf will be under a lot of stress to survive the season.

Your Soil Smart Program combines Holganix Bio 800+ Lawn with Holganix PreBiotic 2-10-20 during the fall to enhance plant hardiness, providing your lawns with a fighting chance they need to survive winter stress. To learn more about how the Holganix Soil Smart Program prepares turf for winter, read this blog

 

Download Your Soil Smart Program to Prepare for Fall

The Soil Smart Programs are:

  • Turn-key and include any input needed to create a green, weed free lawn – this means herbicides, fertilizers and your Holganix plant probiotics are all included.
  • Designed regionally to fit your soil and turf types.
  • Reviewed by Holganix PhD agronomists.
  • Provides both a quick plant response and long-term plant resilience.
  • Reduces the need for chemicals so contractors are using a sustainable program.

What does your region’s Soil Smart Program look like? Click the button below to access your Soil Smart Program and start planning out your summer applications.

Soil Smart Fertilizer Program

Tags: lawn care, science behind holganix

3.5 Signs Your Turf Suffers From Heat Stress

summer heat

Summer is a tough season for all plants and turf is no exception. During the summer months, the turf is often stressed from heat, insects and diseases. Brown patches appear that look unsightly or if conditions are too hot and dry, the turf may go into dormancy as a protective measure. If one of your lawns is suffering use the below 3.5 signs below to determine if the stress is caused from too much heat or drought.

 

1. The “Tug” Test 

Even during a drought, established turf will still have extensive root systems. Conduct a “Tug” Test by locating a brown patch and pulling on the turf. If the turf doesn’t pull easily from the soil, chances are good that your turf is browning due to drought. If it does pull easily, insects or disease could be an issue. 

 

2. The Screwdriver Test

Push a screwdriver into the soil in both a brown and green turf area. If the screwdriver pushes easily in the green lawn but won’t penetrate the brown patch, the soil is dry and heat is the problem. Credit for this test goes to Bayer’s blog! 

 

3. Random or Uniform

When drought is a culprit, the brown patches appear randomly. If the pattern is more uniform, it could be a different underlying issue.

 

3.5 Early Signs

Prepare for summer stress by keeping an eye out for wilted grass blades and by checking to see if footprints remain on the grass after it is walked on. 

 

Heat and drought stress can be a headache for lawn and landscape contractors but once the moisture returns, established turf will recover. Depending on your region, it may take three-to-four weeks for the turf to come out of dormancy and begin to green up again; providing extra water won’t speed up the process. If you are dealing with a new, young lawn, don’t let it go into dormancy. Without the extensive root growth, the lawn may not survive dormancy without injury.

To learn more about dealing with drought and summer related stress on turf, watch our 5.5 minute video below featuring Holganix CEO, Barrett Ersek.

 

Soil Smart Fertilizer Program

Tags: lawn care, sports turf, golf course, science behind holganix

5 Types of Soil Microbes And What They Do For Plants

 

5_types_0f_microbe

We are all feeling the pressure to do more with less. Each state is talking about restricting fertilizer and phosphorus, and although these things are great for the environment it can also make it difficult to reach our needs when it comes to plant growth. What can we do to help both our plants and ourselves?

Read our blog article below for information about (1) how much fertilizer actually goes to the plant and (2) the role microbes play in fertilizer. If you’d rather dig deeper into this topic, skip the text and watch our webinar featuring Holganix President of Agriculture, David Stark Ph.D. If you're reading this blog via email, click here to watch the video.

 

How much fertilizer actually goes to the plant?

Did you know that only 40 to 60% of the fertilizer we apply actually goes to the plant, the remaining is lost to run off into our waterways, volatilization to the air or is tied up in the soil. This is why soil health is such an imperative piece of plant health. Functional soil is a soil embedded with organic matter and soil microbes that work together to hold onto nutrients in the soil and convert nutrients locked in the soil.

Beneficial soil microbes form symbiotic relationships with the plant. In fact, the plant will exert as much as 30% of its energy to the root zone to make food for microbes. In return those microbes not only protect the plant from stress, but also feed the plant by converting and holding nutrients in the soil.


What are the different types of soil microbes?

There are five different types of soil microbes: bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. Each of these microbe types has a different job to boost soil and plant health.


Bacteria

Bacteria is the crucial workforce of soils. They are the final stage of breaking down nutrients and releasing them to the root zone for the plant. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization once said “Bacteria may well be the most valuable of life forms in the soil.”


Actinomycetes

Actinomycetes were once classified as fungi, and act similarly in the soil. However, some actinomycetes are predators and will harm the plant while others living in the soil can act as antibiotics for the plant.


Fungi

Like bacteria, fungi also lives in the rootzone and helps make nutrients available to plants. For example, Mycorrhizae is a fungi that facilitate water and nutrient uptake by the roots and plants to provide sugars, amino acids and other nutrients.


Protozoa

Protozoa are larger microbes that love to consume and be surrounded by bacteria. In fact, nutrients that are eaten by bacteria are released when protozoa in turn eat the bacteria.


Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that live around or inside the plant. Some nematodes are predators while others are beneficial, eating pathogenic nematodes and secreting nutrients to the plant.


Want to keep digging into soil science?

Within the natural world there exists a complex balance among soil microbes known as the soil food web. Plants, animals and microbes are all instruments in an orchestra; each plays a crucial part in the natural symphony of life. If even one of the players is out of tune, the whole soil food web suffers. However, when everything is in order, the results are beautiful.

Download our Digging into Soil Science ebook to explore:

1. How the soil food web supports healthy plants
2. The power behind soil microbes
3. Soil types and how to improve the health of your soil

soil food web 

Tags: lawn care, golf course, agriculture, science behind holganix, farmer, sports field

3 Crazy TED Talks for Plant Geeks

4 Tennessee Lawn Care Companies (3)-2

The truth is, those of us at Holganix are complete geeks when it comes to soil and plants. It’s one of the reason why we love to share new TED Talks with our blog readers that demonstrate a new technology or perspective on soil and plants.

Below are three selected plant-related TED Talks that contain crazy, unique ideas that will make Holganix products almost seem ordinary.  

 

Two notes for the reader:

1. If you are reading this blog via email, the videos will not operate. Click the link to each video to watch the TED Talk.

2. If you liked these TED Talks, consider checking out: Top 5 Soil Science TED Talks and Top 5 TED Talks for LAWNtrepreneurs.

 

How to grow a forest in your backyard

Eco-Entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma demonstrates how his company grows dense, bio diverse, 100-year-old forest in just 10 years. According to Sharma, it starts with the soil. His team mixes the perfect amount of soil with local biomass, then he harnesses the power of soil microbes to produce nutrients for plants.

For a direct link to Sharma’s TED Talk, click here.


Electrical experiments with plants that count and communicate

Neuroscientist Greg Gage takes equipment used to study the brain and attaches is to the Mimosa Publica (a plant whose leaves close when touched) and the Venus Flytrap. His goal? To demonstrate how plants use electrical signals to convert information, move and even count.

Watch Gage’s TED Talk for his demonstration and explanation on how plants count and communicate, click here.


One seed at a time, protecting the future of food

Diversity within crops is a genetic resource that is crucial to the future of agriculture, and that diversity is crumbling. For example, in the 1800’s U.S. farmers and gardeners were growing 7,100 varieties of apples and today just 300 exist.

Biologist Cary Fowler banned together with the world’s scientists, organizations and governments to preserve samples of seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Bank located in Norway. At the time of the TED Talk, their seed bank held 425,000 unique crop varieties.

Watch Fowler’s video to learn more about why diversity is crucial to agriculture and how they are protecting the world’s crop varieties, click here

 

Want to keep digging into plant science? 

Download our Digging into Soil Science ebook to explore:

1. How the soil food web supports healthy plants

2. The power behind soil microbes

3. Soil types and how to improve the health of your soil

soil food web

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