Roots are the Key to a Lush and Healthy Lawn and Garden

Roots are the Key to a Lush and Healthy Lawn and Garden

Over the years we as a society have turned to technology and chemistry more and more to solve our agricultural problems.  In our endeavor to conquer our planet we have lost sight of some very important factors about the health of our selves and how we fit into the ecosystem that sustains all life on Earth.  It is the primary goal of Healthy Soil Organics to provide knowledge about this key factor affecting all of us every day.  We are here to help you achieve your dream lawn and landscape while keeping these fundamental concepts in mind.  So if you are in for some learning I've got some good stuff for you today.


Roots are the Key to Living Soils

Plant roots are the key to living soils. Roots feed the microbiome comprised of trillions of beneficial bacteria and fungi. These are fundamental members of healthy immune systems for all living things. Trees, shrubs, wild grasses, dandelions and other native lawn plants have roots that penetrate deep into the soil. These deep roots feed your lawn with nutrients it cannot reach. When mycorrhizal fungi are present they connect the roots together so they may all share in the bounty of the living soil. A synergy exists in healthy soil that benefit all plants. We just need to be good stewards of the soil and we can turn our planet around. Leave the weed killer, pesticides and fungicides at the big box stores and away from you and your pets. We love the soil and the soil loves us back.  Here's how to get good root health in your lawn or garden.


Three Keys to Healthy Roots and Healthy Soils:

1. Air and Water

2. Life

3. Nutrients 


1.  Air and Water

Air and water are the two most important factors in a living system on our planet.  Land based aerobic organisms have existed on our planet for billions of years and a balanced system has evolved to provide the world we all live in.  The heart of that system is living, healthy soil.  This system that gives us all life is known as the soil food web

Air enables plants to photosynthesize and to breathe oxygen.  Plants need oxygen to convert food into energy.  The food generated by the photosynthesis process of plants feeds not only the plant but also the many organisms that live in the soil.  The colony of organisms in the soil that feed the plant is known as the microbiome.  One issue we often find in our landscape is a lack of oxygen due to an unhealthy microbiome network in our soil.  In the Gulf Coast we have a lot of compacted clay soils which are difficult for shallow roots to penetrate.  The first goal of our program is to open up the soil so the roots can breathe.

Water comprises 95% of plant tissue!  So obviously it's fundamental to the existence of plants.  Without water you have no plants.  Water also acts as a carrier of nutrition from the soil to the plant and from the plant back into the soil.  It's sort of the subway car that moves things around between the plant and the soil.  Too much water can be a problem because it fills in the air spaces of the soil and as we know now, plants need air and so do roots.  So the balance of moisture in the soil is a critical part of the soil food web.  Water is evaporated on the leaves as well.  This process is called "transpiration." This evaporation of water cools the plant when it's hot and keeps them from overheating.  As water evaporates from the plant, more water is pulled in from the roots in the soil.  This is the pathway by which all plants receive their nutrition.  When we apply water we want it to penetrate deep into our soil.  A key factor in this is also done through improving the porosity (or opening up air spaces) in the soil.  Watering more less often is better than watering just a little very frequently.  Our lawns and gardens need a water reservoir to draw from so they can always handle the fluctuation in temperatures throughout the day.  Our goal is to top up that reservoir not just wet the top 4" of roots on the surface.   

The best way to improve your soil's water retention as well as improve the porosity of the soil is by using MicroLife Humates Plus which is included in both our Spring Grass Combo as well as our Summer Lawn Bundle


2.  Life

Healthy soils are alive!  They are teeming with microbes of more varieties than we can count.  There are trillions of organisms that have been evolving and adapting to the changes in the environment for billions of years.  Nature seeks to nurture us all.  To achieve success in our lawn and garden we need a diverse thriving microbiome to support life.  They support the life of plants and humans alike.  The very same organisms that keep your plants alive also live in our own digestive systems and provide us the same benefits by breaking down the nutrition in the food and feeding our cells the nutrients we need to sustain life and health. All of the food we eat has somehow come from this system and we really don't think about this much when we make our weekly grocery list. 

Mycorrhiza are some of the most important fungi in the soil.  They form a web that connects all the living plants together in a network of shared resources.  They retain water and work to open the soil so that the roots have access to air.  Lawn grasses have very shallow roots compared to many other plants.  The top 4" of soil does not contain enough air and water to give you the lawn and garden results you want so we need the help of trees, shrubs, ornamentals, native grasses and a diverse selection of plant roots that work deep into the soils.  Together with the mycorrhiza connecting them the system works better for all of the plants.  All of these roots and fungi work in tandem via a process known as the food soil web.   The best way to get mycorrhiza into your soil is using MicroLife Humates Plus!  It's inoculated with 72 strains of beneficial organisms including both Endo and Ecto Mycorrhiza.  

Mycorrhizal Fungi - Our Tiny Underground Allies |


An important note about fungicides:

Fungicides kill indiscriminately.  They kill trillions of bacteria and fungi that live in your soil.  They set off an imbalance in your soil that leaves your plants vulnerable to pests and trigger a response to the organisms the clean up sick and dead plants to come feast.  That's right, the soil food web includes a clean up crew and it seeks out sick plants.  If you have a fungus in your lawn or landscape, the last thing you need to do is kill all the life in the soil.  You have to fix the imbalance causing the unwanted fungus to exist in the first place.  This should be done by bringing more beneficial organisms into your soil and to improve the way your soil retains moisture.  We have both liquid and granular soil inoculants that do just this!  Most patch fungus exist when the temperatures are below 60F and the humidity level at the soil's surface is very high.  Correct the humidity and deploy beneficial organisms to help fight the unwanted fungus and not only will you correct the issue, you will improve the health of everything in the area.  We apply MicroLife MicroGro Bio to the lawn every fall as part of our Fall Lawn Bundle!


3.  Nutrients

 Healthy roots are built from nutrients delivered to a plant by the microbiome that lives in healthy soil.  Soil tests are good for telling you what nutrients are readily available to the soil but that's not the whole story.  The fact is that the microbiome will gather the nutrients for your plants from far deeper in the soil than your soil test will detect.  Ph can also be regulated by the microbiome.  As such there is a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding proper nutrition for plant health.  Most inorganic chemical fertilizers provide only three or four primary nutrients to your plants.  Those are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium and Iron.  But how many nutrients do plants need to be at their best?  The best answer is probably unknown to us as we are just beginning to understand this but right now there are at least 16 essential nutrients needed by plants. 

Here are the three categories of nutrients needed by plants: 

1.  Primary or Macro Nutrients

The primary or macro nutrients that plants need are Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium.  We have already discussed Oxygen from air and Hydrogen from water. 

Carbon on the other hand makes up almost 45 percent of the plant.  It's the building block of all living things.  And the strange thing is that most fertilizers you find on the market do not contain this vital live building primary nutrient.  Sure there is plenty of it in Carbon Dioxide found in the air and plants use that sure!  But what about the soil?  Does the microbiome need it too?  Why yes it certainly does. 

Why don't more fertilizers contain carbon?  Inorganic chemical fertilizers bypass the microbiome to provide nutrition directly to the plant.  This in turn gets the plants hooked on the chemical like a drug.  Once a plant has stopped feeding from the microbiome it stops feeding the soil because it no longer has to.  Every bag of inorganic chemical fertilizer is labeled with three numbers.  The three numbers represent the percentage of Nitrogen - Phosphorous - Potassium contained in the bag.  What about the other 11 essential nutrients?  Most inorganic chemical fertilizers simply don't have them so you aren't getting what your soil needs when you spend you hard earned money on these products.  

Nitrogen is in the air and the microbiome is quite capable of pulling that nitrogen out of the air and feeding it to your plants.  High nitrogen inorganic fertilizers are water soluble and as a result when the rain or water comes it dissolves and as the water runs away from your lawn and landscape, so does this fertilizer.  Some companies put that nitrogen into a plastic capsule and call it "slow release" but this leads to microplastics in our oceans rivers and local ecosystems.  Nature has already devised a better way and we just need to be good stewards of it.  By providing an organic and fully nutritious organic fertilizer to your soil you will build a healthy soil profile by adding all of the materials found in nature that have fed plants for billions of years. 

We add carbon in the form of humates, a naturally occurring material found in and around coal mines.  We look to add nitrogen in the form of decomposing plant or animal matter from things like fish, alfalfa meal, cotton-seed meal, corn gluten and soybean meal, and kelp. 

We provide phosphorous using rock phosphate (a naturally occurring mineral) and potassium from Potassium Sulfate and bone meal.  By building an organic food web of nutrition for the microbiome to feed to our plants we can re-create all the conditions found in nature that have fed plants for billions of years through soil food web. 

The best part of this system is that these materials do not simply wash away in the rain.  They become part of your soil and are consumed by the many beneficial organisms that nourish our plants root systems.  

2.  Secondary Nutrients

The secondary nutrients are needed in less quantities than primary nutrients but they are equally important to plant and soil health.  These include Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur. 

Calcium is crucial to roots as it is fundamental in their ability to absorb nutrients from the soil.  It makes the permeable. 

Magnesium is vital to the formation of chlorophyll which is the primary component of photosynthesis. 

Sulfur helps plants absorb protein, vitamins, and helps them produce oils to protect their skins.   

Most inorganic fertilizers do not contain these nutrients and will not help you build the fundamental blocks of healthy soil and plant roots.

3.  Micro Nutrients

 Micronutrients also play a vital role in the health of our plants and the microbiome.  Although these are required in sometimes very small amounts, they are nevertheless a vital component of healthy soils.  These include Chlorine, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Boron, Copper and Molybdenum.  Some of the best sources of these elements are found in fish and kelp meals.  Iron in the form of iron sulfate with water to bring nutrition into the plant and helps them achieve a vibrant green color.


The Best Way to Add Nutrients to your Soil to Grow Healthy Roots:

What if I told you there was one bag of fertilizer that had all of these materials blended together in one organic awesome super blend of soil improving nutrition?  What if I told you it's been around for over 30 years and that some of the most iconic gardens in the state of Texas have been using them for the same time frame?  Well I'm so glad you read this far because now I can tell you the MicroLife Multi-Purpose 6-2-4 Organic Biological Fertilizer has all of this in one bag.  If you were to choose one fertilizer to grow any plant, shrub, tree, vegetable or fruit we recommend this one.  It's fantastic for all plants all the time.  We love to put this down in our lawn in June via the Summer Lawn Bundle.  This amazing combination of MicroLife Humates Plus and MicroLife 6-2-4 Multi-Purpose will truly restore the Air, Water, Life and Nutrients your soils need to achieve the best results in your lawn and landscape.  What's more important is that it will restore the environment you live in and with it will come a myriad of health benefits for you and your family.

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