are some people in the arid Albuquerque
market and other cities of the Southwest that still prefer to have green lawns
that you can walk barefoot on. Historically the standard
practice for keeping grass green was to use high analysis fertilizers.
Products with names like Miracle Grow, SoilTex, urea, etc.,
which were dumped on landscapes like crazy and have been the tradition
all across the country when it came to growing turf and trees. This
article will describe the problem with using high analysis fertilizers, how
they damage the soil ecology and I'll describe how Soil Secrets has a better
idea that results in the gradual improvement in the soil health while also
reducing the amount of water needed to keep our urban landscapes green.
While fertilizers do what they claim, which is provide Nitrogen,
Phosphorous Potassium and maybe a half a dozen other elements, and will
make your lawn green as promised, they do so at a cost to the health of the
soil. This results in a multitude of other problems which I'll
address here. First is the issue of water. The poorer
condition your soils bio-geo-chemical process (Soil Ecology) are
in, the poorer the soil structure and the poorer the root system of the
plant. Thus, resulting in the plant, the crop, the turf, the
trees and shrubs needing extra water. This is true for agriculture and
it’s true for urban horticulture. The first two pictures I've attached show a
typical situation in Albuquerque
where the home owner is trying to compensate for soil that is not healthy by
providing the landscape with extra water, yet still we can see a dead/dying
spot in the top photo.
Notice the dead spot in the background. This is caused
by disease pressure and the roots rotting caused by poor drainage, anaerobic
conditions (no air) and poor soil structure.
What's happening is that the turf is declining
regardless of fertilizer and water being applied? While Soil Ecology is
complex, we can accurately determine that the grass roots on this site are
shallow and vulnerable to moisture availability. Why? Because the
site has poor soil structure resulting in anaerobic soils (no oxygen),
resulting in poor drainage and poor root depth since roots can only live where
there's plentiful oxygen. The issue is poor soil structure caused by a
system of management that does not encourage, prime, or support the process of
soil ecology. In other words, no high analysis fertilizer product has
every built a healthier soil and since plants must have a healthy soil in order
to grow a healthy immune system and a strong structure, we can
accurately say that fertilizers can't grow a healthy
plant. So back to the attached pictures, where the homeowner is
watering like crazy, trying to save the turf, we also begin to see
turf disease issues. Like humans, a healthy plant has a capable immune
system while an unhealthy plant is vulnerable to disease! The image below, taken just a few weeks after the photo above, shows the turf recovering and
the brown spot disappearing.
This site had been treated with TerraPro,
which fortified the soil with Humic Molecules (erroneously called Humic Acids)
that are powerful "bio-organic matrixes"
essential for a healthy and productive soil. TerraPro is a novel material
of the industry that cannot be duplicated with other products on the market and
was developed from information obtained from molecular research performed
at both Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory, which
provided molecular information as deliverables to Soil Secrets under a Commercial
Proprietary Information Contract! On a molecular atomic
scale they are bio-identical to what is found in Nature's best soil environment
and they contain the proper supramolecular (quantum physics)
characteristics. In the Journal of Chemical Education, research
published by two Bio Chemical Engineers from the University of Arizona
have stated that these carbon rich bio-organic matrixes that we generically
call Humic Acids, are essential for a healthy and productive soil. So in
the case of the images provided in this paper we simply fortified the soil with
that chemistry of Nature, plus we switch the source of nitrogen from
using a high analysis type fertilizer to using a protein based product
called Protein Crumblies, also a novel product of Soil Secrets.
Why protein? Because Soil Ecology depends on the life and death
cycling of animals in the soil, including the smallest creature the bacteria up
to larger animals such as earthworms, all of which bodies contain
protein. As that protein decays, the nitrogen that's part of the
molecular structure of the protein slowly becomes available for other soil
microbes to graze on, with some of the nitrogen becoming available for the
vegetation. This process is called "the soil food web",
also essential for a healthy and sustainable soil ecology.
I've been writing and talking about the soil food web since 1974,
when I first wrote a paper on that topic for a college class.
Essentially what Soil Secrets is accomplishing on this site is a process of
"bio mimicry" where we are adding to this soil what is needed to
prime it back into a functional productive soil. It
demonstrates that we can grow an attractive turf, use less water, have less
disease pressure and be more responsible with our environment when we use Soil
Secrets Bio-Mimicry processes versus using fertilizer and watering like
crazy. Need more convincing? Here's a unsolicited email from Craig
Thames, MidlandTexasIndependentSchools, Grounds Forman.
of TerraPro and Protein Crumblies dates back
to the late 80's at my Trees That Please Nursery in Los
Lunas, New Mexico.
The names have changed and the products were crude in comparison to what we
have today, but I developed them for the production of our trees, shrubs and
other plants, where I was attempting to mimic Nature for the objective of being
on the journey to better soil health. Today Trees That Please
production still uses TerraPro and Protein Crumblies, in production of our
plant materials and we retail them to our clients. They
are also available to other nurseries/garden centers and they are
used Nation wide in agriculture, mine reclamation, State Highway re-vegetation, city parks
and sports fields. Some of the largest farms in the United States
are now using TerraPro and other products of Soil Secrets, which
has evolved into a national company. It Works!
Here's another site in Albuquerque, where the soil health was
compromised by the use of high analysis fertilizers.
The image below was taken a few weeks after the above, with the bottom image benefiting from
TerraPro and Protein Crumblies treatment.
forget that on May 31st, we shall be opening our arboretum collection to the
public for our annual Spring Fling in the Trees. It's free and its open
to the public. Mark your calendar and if you wish to attend, contact us
for directions and more details.